Having a diverse team encourages creativity and innovation and allows us to learn from each other every day, and there is a great opportunity in the fact that we in HT at the moment have i.e. colleagues from 12 countries which enables us to have the chance of exchanging views, experiences, learning from each other and essentially provides us as an organization, as professionals, as colleagues and as individuals to grow.
Could you share with us some key milestones in the D&I journey of your company?
Hrvatski Telekom is fully committed to promoting diversity and inclusion which make an integral part of our corporate culture and we are a better organization and a better team because of it.
We strongly believe that our strength comes from within and in particular from our diverse teams. Having a diverse team encourages creativity and innovation and allows us to learn from each other every day, and there is a great opportunity in the fact that we in HT at the moment have i.e. colleagues from 12 countries which enables us to have the chance of exchanging views, experiences, learning from each other and essentially provides us as an organization, as professionals, as colleagues and as individuals to grow.
We are also the initial signatory of the Diversity Charter and the Social Charter, as well as the Initiative 30% which promotes higher participation of women in executive positions, and we have incorporated these goals and values into our Collective Agreement and the Code of Conduct. I am especially proud of the fact that 40% of managing positions in Hrvatski Telekom are held by women and that 44% of our Supervisory Board members are women.
And this when according to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2021 Croatia ranks in 45th place in total, and only 87th in Women’s Economic Participation category which, with firms with female top managers accounting to 27%. At the same time we in Hrvatski Telekom have a female Management Board member in charge of the whole Residential segment, a Senior Vice President running the Corporate Customers and ICT, with other colleagues holding managerial positions across the organization in: IT, Finance, Strategy, Legal, Brand, Marketing, Regulatory, Residential Sales, HR, Security… As someone who has had the fortune of learning a lot from my female colleagues I’m glad that Hrvatski Telekom’s female leaders are true role-models for present and future generations of aspiring leaders.
At the same time, the ICT industry we are working in, has a wrong perception about it that it’s a male industry, and this is why we are deeply engaged in projects that encourage young women to decide on a career in the ICT field. For some 7 years, we have been participating in DT‘s "Women's STEM Award" program and have for the past six years also launched one of the first educational programs in the STEM area in Croatia - Generation NOW which encourages boys and girls from diverse backgrounds to take part in the STEM education which gives them equal opportunities for success. Over 300 institutions have participated so far as well as over 2200 students.
What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
All aspects, so it would be wrong to highlight just some. Our mission is to build a world of better opportunities, and in pour view it’s a world of equal opportunities for all, based in a great deal about making the most of the digital opportunities.
Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?
Hrvatski Telekom is the initial signatory of the Diversity Charter and the Social Charter and we have incorporated these values into our Collective Agreement and our Code of Conduct.
That being said, I strongly believe that Diversity and Inclusion are not a one-off “training” but an ongoing process that benefits the employees and the company. We as a big company have a responsibility to lead by example and we try to do so.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by the industry sector in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?
Diversity and inclusion should be seen as common-sense dimension. Times have changed, and 21st century brings us together by celebrating all of our diverse components.
We in HT believe in doing business and living by the principle of equal opportunities and opportunities for all, and speaking from the position of Chief Human Resources Officer, I can say that I am proud and additionally motivated when I witness the personal and professional development of our colleagues.
Personally and professionally, I am a supporter of the view that one's engagement, expertise, ability, knowledge and achievements are the only meritorious elements for career advancement. For us gender, race, nationality, cultural or social background, personal preferences, eventual disabilities… are beside the point – we look at the person’s potential, his or her ability, passion willingness to do more, to contribute to grow personally and professionally.
What business benefits do you see as a result of increasing D&I?
Innovation, different ways of thinking, more agility, more constructive discussions which directly and indirectly have a strong impact on all of the company’s results.
In the transformative times we live in, I believe that we can and must do better and that we must unlock the potential of young people in order to create more heterogeneous and diverse teams, thus contributing to development.
Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
For Croatia unfortunately we still have a lot of work in promoting gender equality, but apart from that, we also have to be careful when it comes to disability discrimination and national origin discrimination.
What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
Diversity management, but primary diversity mindset has to be a result of set of activities coming from the top of every company. Implementing diversity has to begin from the management and then come down to peers and all employees. And that’s also how we do it in Hrvatski Telekom.
Diversity & Inclusion is not just an initiative or a program; it is an orientation and investment from all – senior managers to peer on all level. It is a values and culture thing. It’s about how the entire organization operates, communicates, contributes as one.
Any plans for the upcoming #EUDiversityMonth this May?
We have a practice of celebrating things we are proud of and with our teams being as diverse as it is, we will also mark it in May, as we have some initiatives in the pipeline.
This interview was produced with the financial support of the European Union (project Workplace Inclusion Champion WIC). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.