ForTheDoers Blog

Diverse leadership sets the course for the future

Arun Aggarwal  ·  08 October 2019

Non-discrimination and gender equality are today central topics in many sectors, including the energy industry. When Fortum formed the new digitalisation unit, Business Technology, the strong focus on diversity led to great results.

Diversity is the key to success 

As studies have shown for decades, diversity is essential to form high performing teams. But what is diversity, exactly? For us at Fortum it means that we promote equal treatment and opportunities regardless of the employee’s ethnicity, gender, age or any other cultural or societal factors.  

In industries that have been traditionally seen as male-dominated, diversity plays an important role in engaging especially women and bringing forth a great variety of talents. Diversity enables new and different ideas and thinking to come through and reshaping patterns that may be limiting the growth of the company and its people.

For this change to take place, it should happen in people’s minds first, arising through a more diverse and universally appealing workplace. And we’re not speaking of only actions here, this requires cultural change as well – and that is the most complex change to make.

40% female leaders in Fortum’s digitalisation team 

When forming Fortum’s new digitalisation unit, Business Technology, we wanted to ensure our leadership team would be as diverse as possible. Digitalisation is one of the fastest growing sectors and we need a diverse workforce in order to succeed and attract the first-class talent in this fast-growing and fast-developing field.

I’m proud to say that our fresh leadership team now consists of 40% women, which is a fairly high number compared to many IT organisations. We are also from different nationalities, with different backgrounds and with a good age mix.

Going forward, I continue to have an open dialogue with my team, where we together discuss how we can make sure that diversity stays in our core principles and ways of working.  

Creating a culture of acceptance through example 

I want to give credit to all my colleagues at Fortum, and especially those leading this company towards being a more diverse place to work. Since we build our company culture around values such as responsibility, reliability, and non-discrimination, people working here feel like they are also part of creating something bigger than themselves.  I am proud to be part of a company that genuinely stays true to its values.

Increasing the number of women working in the energy industry doesn’t need to be challenging: participating in campaigns like ‘Equal by 30’ and ‘Work does not discriminate’ is an easy, yet effective way to be part of the change. After all, the main goal is to create a balance, and that can be done by making conscious choices to change any preconceptions about our industry.

A very recent example of diversity is from the forest industry where Stora Enso appointed Annica Bresky as their new CEO. She will be the first woman ever to hold this position within the Finnish forestry sector – an exciting and very concrete example of how the world changes and new diverse talents can step forward.  

How are you promoting diversity in your companies? Please share and let’s continue the discussion!

Facts:

  • At Fortum, we promote equal treatment and opportunities regardless of the employee’s background, gender or age. Fortum has, for example, received recognition for its work to promote equality by ranking 50th in the Equileap Gender Equality TOP 100 in 2019.
     
  • Last year the average age of Fortum’s permanent employees was 42.9 years. Females accounted for 32% of our total personnel. Females accounted for 30% of the Group- and division-level management. At the end of 2018, the Board of Directors comprised eight members, three of them women.
     
  • Fortum has participated in the equality discussion by demonstrating our support for workplace equality both internationally and in Finland. In May 2018, Fortum joined the Equal by 30 campaign at the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting held in Copenhagen. Fortum also took part in the Work does not discriminate campaign launched by the Confederation of Finnish Industries.
Arun Aggarwal

Arun Aggarwal
Senior Vice President, Business Technology