“We have also always tried to create an environment in which our employees would be happy to work in for number of years, so we are proud to have a substantial number of older employees in our company.”
Miha Kranjc completed the Masters in Management program at Cass Business School in London. Prior to that, he graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana with a specialization in banking and financial management.
Since May 2015 he has been employed in the field of long-term care at DEOS d.d. There he works as an expert associate. Among other things, he participated in the unification and coordination of the firm’s processes and renewing the firm’s vision, mission and values. He is also owner of a social company Zavod Aktivna starost which works on improving the quality of life for the elderly.
1. Why and since when does your company believe and invest in diversity management?
DEOS d.d. (a nonprofit company) has strived towards inclusive work environment, since its establishment in 1995. We believe that only an inclusive work environment can lead to a successful business. As a company we have always employed people from different backgrounds and built diverse teams, as we believe that differences are what make teams great.
2. What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
As DEOS is the largest private provider of institutional care for the elderly in Slovenia, we have always employed more women, as nursing is considered a female profession. Consequently, we strive to employ more men and try to break the notion that nursing is female profession.
As stated above, most of our employees are women, so we pay special attention that their needs are met. In accordance with the law we make it possible for young moms not to be working night shifts if they don’t want to, also we take special recognition in trying to secure free child care during school holidays.
We have also always tried to create an environment in which our employees would be happy to work in for number of years, so we are proud to have a substantial number of older employees in our company.
3. Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organisation so far?
As we employ diverse group of people from all kinds of faiths we make a special notion to celebrate religious holidays of all different faiths of our employees. We also offer different kind of food diets for our employees, that are in accordance with their beliefs. Furthermore, we organise work schedule around religious holidays off all faiths, as all are not bank holidays.
Since our establishment we have always tried to employ people with different disabilities, though due to the nature of our work this is sometimes difficult. As of this year we are proud to say that we employ 44 people with different disabilities.
Furthermore, we employ people from different countries, especially from countries from former Republic of Yugoslavia. We always try to help them with learning Slovenian language, let this be through informal learning with our elderly residents or by helping them to enrol in language courses.
4. Many companies aren’t prioritising inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?
In my opinion diversity creates an atmosphere in which everybody feels included and heard and that contributes to their work effort. The company’s that are not prioritising inclusion and diversity are losing in sense of not using the whole potential of their employees as they may not feel accepted and secure enough to share their ideas. One of the foundation for successful business is constant improvement of work processes, making them more time efficient, etc. This happens quicker and especially more efficiently in an environment that is accepting and willing to consider different points of view.
5. In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your company?
We believe that there is a certain strength that lies in diversity. People from different backgrounds can contribute with different ideas, knowledge and different views of the situation, which leads to innovative solutions and consequently to a more productive work environment. If the atmosphere in a company is inclusive and diverse, workers also tend to be more flexible and open minded.
6. Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
First of all, we think that it is important to incorporate D&I politics in the internal acts of the company, since this means that the company will truly strive to achieve even more inclusive environment for all its employees. This is something we are working on currently.
There is one challenge we should mention above all others, and that is the absence of information on the process of employing a person from a different country. Each time there are challenges that you meet in order to be able to employ a foreigner, especially those regarding the recognition of their education in our country. Hence, we would encourage any improvement in that area, especially on a government level. Until then, it is important that companies have clear guidelines on how to deal with employment of foreigners to simplify the process.
7. What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
Since we have started the company, we have employed people from different backgrounds and gave great emphasise on creating an environment where everybody feels excepted and heard. We try to create positive and excepting atmosphere so we pay special attention on organising team building events, and other events that focus on accepting diversity.