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Story | 05/20/2020 09:42:17

High-performance results from a diversity of opinions

“Diversity to me means that we all see things from a different perspective; where I see a forest, my colleague sees a tree.”

“Diversity is much more than meets the eye,” says Marju Luoma, Vice President, HR Biorefining. Discussions on diversity and inclusion have taken place regularly since last year in management teams and team meetings. This time Marju Luoma discusses the topic in the UPM Pulp Sales team day. 

“Diversity is often simplified as a gender, nationality or age issue, but there are many invisible factors in each individual’s background, such as work history, personal experiences, language and so on. For example, you can have a team that consists of 100% young Spanish women and it can still be a diverse group of people,” Luoma points out.

How does diversity benefit business? People with different competences and backgrounds who are committed to UPM company values and culture contribute to higher team performance and help businesses succeed. They bring out new perspectives in decision-making and help to provide a wider understanding of various scenarios.

Stepping out of your routine

However, diversity without inclusion will not improve performance in the way that is expected of diverse teams. Also, we cannot bring the best out of people and their potential without inclusive culture.

If UPMers ensure that team members are encouraged to contribute to company development and ideas are listened to, diversity becomes a big asset. Asking a new colleague to lunch; involving and encouraging shy team members to share their opinions; or using a common language in social situations with foreign colleagues are all everyday examples of inclusion.

A term repeated often in the discussion was “unconscious bias”. There are stereotypes, prejudices and personal experiences that may be difficult to recognise, but which affect our decisions and behaviour. By experimenting and trying out new things, we will gain a wider perspective of the world around us. All participants of the UPM Pulp Sales team day made a commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion, and each chose a personal guideline from a checklist.