The good news is that diversity is a hot top on the workplace agenda. It’s out there and up for discussion whether it’s the gender identity, parental leave, race equality, the generation gap or disability rights. The Valo Team is up there when it comes to embracing diversity and we are proud to share this with you!
Although there’s still some way to go, many countries now have equality acts in place to ensure no-one is treated differently or discriminated against.
A diverse team creates a more effective, efficient and profitable workforce. It gives a company access to a greater pool of talent. Not only this, but a diverse team also offers a vital insight into the motivations of all your customers, not just a small fraction of them.
Here at Valo our focus is on inclusion which means our aim is to always find what unites people rather than what divides them. This focus creates a better workplace for everyone who is part of our team!
Here are 7 ways we embrace diversity at Valo
1. Teams with a gender balance
The first line of code ever written was by a woman – and that was back in the 19th century! Ada Lovelace was the very first computer programmer. So, you’d think that nearly two hundred years later, women would be right up there at the heart of the tech workplace. Not necessarily so. Across the major US tech companies women are still under-represented, according to a recent report by Statistica.
At Valo, we are proud that a third of our dev team are women and that women make up roughly 50 percent of our company. In fact, our CEO Pekka Walkama is an avid supporter of the Mimmit koodaa-program (women code-program) in Finland which aims to increase equality in the Finnish software industry by breaking the stereotype that coding is only for men.
2. Finding common ground
Valo embraces people from all cultures, religions and race. Our staff span the continents of the globe. So whether they come from Canada or Australia, Belgium or Germany, Turkey or Brazil, India or the USA, they are all welcomed into the Valo team. In fact, between us our team can speak 22 different languages with many able to speak four or even up to six languages fluently!
We encourage our team members to understand each other, to appreciate our differences and to understand that people have different ideas, morals and ways of seeing things. When we are working on a project, we don’t select teams from one country. Instead we look at people’s skills and interests. Our main focus is to find the common ground between people.
3. Valo Intranet solution WCAG 2.1 compliant
As many as 15 percent of the global population have some form of disability that affects their ability to use tech, according to the World Bank. With the number of people needing to access tech increasing, organizations need clear strategies, standards and resources so everyone can do so.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) aim to ensure no-one is disadvantaged when it comes to using tech. Not only is Valo Intranet WCAG 2.1 compliant, we’ve gone further. We commissioned digital inclusion company Axess Lab to undertake an accessibility review to ensure Valo Intranet meets the high criteria that WCAG 2.1 sets out.
4. Everyone’s voice is heard
A flat management structure is popular within lots of tech companies and Valo is no different. At Valo we believe this organizational style allows everyone’s voice to be heard. Our decision-making structure means we still have leaders but this is based on different people using their individual skills.
The many benefits of this style of management include better and more efficient communication, it reduces micromanagement which can hinder creativity and it improves staff motivation. At Valo, if staff have any work issues they need to discuss they can go straight to our CEO Pekka Walkama. His promise is that within five working days he will find a solution.
5. Family-friendly policies
Colleagues with families can have a good work/home life balance with our flexible working policies. We know it’s important that staff have a life outside of Valo so if they need to take time off to take care of their kids, they can without being made to feel bad.
In Finland, both parents, regardless of gender, will be able to have the same amount of parental leave as from next year (2021) – 164 days each – the equivalent of 6.6 months. Our policies around sick pay and holidays are also very generous.
Valo’s flexible working policies mean that some days staff can work longer and others shorter. It doesn’t always have to be an eight hour day. Healthcare is excellent and includes holistic treatments not normally part of public healthcare provision. This generosity extends beyond Valo into the wider community where we support a number of charities!
6. Warm welcomes
Everyone who joins the team at Valo is made welcome because everything we do is about people. This people-first approach means that all new recruits are introduced before they even step foot in the Valo offices. So they will get emails from managers, HR and colleagues as well as connection requests on social media platforms.
If someone makes a presentation, colleagues will always thank the presenter. This Valo warmth is there right from the start and this weaves its way into our meetings where a smile is never far away. Our APAC office in Melbourne just got two new #ValoLovers on board, hear what they had to say about joining the team!
7. Come as you are – we will #ValoLove you!
Our relaxed dress code is a daily reminder that at Valo we don’t have too many strict rules. People’s talents are valued regardless of how they look or what they wear to a meeting – t-shirts and hoodies are the typical work attire. Everyone who joins the Valo team has at least one Valo sweatshirt waiting for them!
We also love to dress up and have fun when it is time to party. With 60+ employees on board, we want to keep the friendly, accepting and goal-oriented mentality that makes us who we are. As happy colleagues are productive colleagues!
If you are interested to hear and see more behind-the-scenes material from the Valo Team, take a look at our blog post series “People Behind Valo” and then after watch the movie from our ValoTeamCamp last fall!