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Halfway through the year – how are we doing on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals?

Last autumn we set ourselves ambitious goals for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to help to steer our actions towards achieving our vision. Now that we’ve had a good chance to work on them, let’s take a look at where we are and how far we’ve come in the first half of 2021.

Our long-term DEI goals are aligned with our strategy timeline – meaning that we want to achieve them by 2024 – and our short term goals are set for the end of this year. As the first half of the year comes to an end and we are about to start the summer holidays, it is a good time to take stock of where we are in terms of achieving those short term goals.

Our most pressing and important goals fall under creating an inclusive culture and diversifying our leadership, so let’s take a look at those.

Inclusive culture

Our short term goal: “By the end of 2021, we will halve our existing inclusion and fair treatment gap between genders”

This goal is tied to our people pulse tool, Peakon, which sends a small set of questions to every employee weekly. The tool measures a number of things related to employee engagement and gives an eNPS score based on answers for each segment. We chose to focus on the Inclusiveness and Non-discrimination segments, and our goal refers to different employee experiences between genders from this perspective. Our long term goal (by 2024) is to close the gap completely while the short term goal was to halve it.

We started at 28.5 points and by the end of this year, we aim to be at 14. Right now we are at 21.5 – which means we are on track.

So what did we do? Because this goal relies on perceptions and people’s experience, which you can’t change very fast, it has been a tough one to make progress on. Nonetheless, we’ve taken a number of concrete steps on this journey. We have improved our harassment process and made it more clear. We refreshed our Code of Conduct, reminded people about its existence and how we all expect to be treated by each other. At the same time, we want to remind people that we don’t expect them to be perfect. This is a learning journey for all of us, so we also offer tips on how to react if someone approaches you for breaching the Code of Conduct, and what you can learn from it.

We continued training our people on the importance of the topic. Each new Futuricean participates in a Inclusivity session on the third day of their onboarding. We ran an experiment for teams across all our sites to autonomously have discussions around embedding DEI thinking in their daily work. The DEI learning platform we used to support this pilot was considered useful and we continue using it. We also continued to organise our DEI Monthlies, which is an internal monthly virtual meetup for any Futuricean interested in the topic to either participate as a speaker or to come to listen and have a discussion.

Inclusion is not just an HR issue – it should be part of all activities and processes, just like culture is. To achieve this, we’re working to increase inclusivity in our core business – our work with clients. We updated our Futurice introduction deck, a short presentation used with new clients, and included a specific section on DE&I topics there so that our prospective clients know what they can expect from us in this area. We have also experimented with using the Code of Conduct as a commonly agreed way of working in client projects.

We launched a webinar series titled Inclusive Edge to increase understanding of the business value of inclusivity. Each webinar includes a panel discussion around a specific topic related to DEI and business, and we invite some of our progressive clients to participate in the panel. Our first webinar was about Stories of Diverse Tech Leaders. More episodes are coming in the autumn, with September focusing on the question of international talent and language.

In August, we will launch a collaborative service design tool that teams can use to build more inclusive products and services.

We continue to review our salaries, promotions and raises through a diversity lens, as we have for a few years already, to ensure there is no bias. The results are shared openly with employees, and our transparent salaries further help here.

We also created a framework for hybrid work to support the well-being of people in the post-Covid world. The goal is to be able to support the varying needs and preferred working styles of all our people in an inclusive way.

Diversifying leadership

Our leadership diversity goal: “By the end of 2021 we have no leadership teams without gender and nationality diversity”

We renewed our global leadership model early this year, and while designing the new model, we made sure to have our inclusivity glasses on. Each individual leader was appointed based on their skills, impact and experience, but we also kept in mind the value of diverse teams. We are already three-quarters of the way there. Our global leadership team, as well as two out of our three country leadership teams, already meet the target. The one team that doesn’t is committed to creating a plan on how they can achieve it within the set timeframe. We also recognise that if we want to ensure diverse leadership teams for the future, we need to make sure our leader pipeline is diverse.

First choice for women in tech

Our tech gender diversity goal: "By 2024 we have 33% women across all career levels in tech competence"

Our third goal that focuses on gender balance – being the first choice for women (and non-binary genders) in tech – only has a long-term measurement, but we take continuous steps in this direction. With this goal we aim to improve the gender balance specifically in the part of the organisation where we currently have an imbalance: at the time of setting the goals, we had 17% women and non-binary genders working in tech competence. To give a comparison, the figure for all Futurice was 32% - our two other main competences, design and strategy&culture, had balanced gender composition. Tech is our largest competence and people usually work there for example as software developers and architects. So we really wanted to focus on where it matters the most, and also take actions on improving this issue in tech sector more widely.

We support and work with several initiatives such as Mimmit Koodaa to run workshops for women who want to learn to program, or provide summer jobs for high school girls through the Super-Ada competition. In Germany, we participated in Girls Day, where we showed 12 girls between the ages of 11 and 14 what it’s like to work in tech. We also participated in Plan International’s #GirlsTakeOver last autumn by giving the role of our CEO to 18-year-old Jessica Komulainen for a day to raise awareness of gender imbalance in the tech sector and its implications, and followed up by working on some solutions to this issue.

All the three goals are aligned – when we work towards one goal, usually the result ends up helping the others, too. Many of the actions have indeed made a positive impact not only for the goal they are meant to work for but also for the other DEI goals. Leadership, inclusivity, representation – they all are interlinked in this world of DEI.

What we’ve learned so far

We share openly what we learn – both successes and failures. Our hope is that this will encourage other organisations to take steps towards being more inclusive and avoid some of the pitfalls we have faced. Here are a few tips on what to do and how to approach issues in this area – these are based on our experience:

  • Focus on building an inclusive culture.
  • Harness people's passion and activism on this issue whilst engaging leadership at the same time.
  • Dare to expose the vulnerabilities and pain points of your organisation in terms of inclusion so you’ll face the real issues and work towards improving them.
  • Use data as a basis for decision-making and track progress through data, too.
  • Set measurable goals as a driver for change linked to your strategy.
  • While it is important to track the progress towards those measurable goals, the actions and changes you implement while striving to meet them are more important than the actual number you hit. It is not about fulfilling quotas, it is about making a change.
  • Don’t treat DEI as an “HR issue” or a project that needs to be completed. Rather, work towards embedding it in all aspects of the organisation – from strategy and core business to culture and ways of working.
  • Ensure commitment and buy-in from the highest level (in our case, the board of directors) and incentivise the goals (ours are one of the components that define variable salary).

Making the change requires patience and perseverance. Culture change is never fast. It will take time and require hard work every day.

The journey continues for us with many actions planned for the rest of the year and beyond. Step by step, we are getting closer to our ambition: to celebrate diversity and commit to building an inclusive international culture with equitable opportunities and a sense of belonging for everyone.


  • Portrait of Heidi Pech
    Heidi Pech
    Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion