Increasing diversity is one of Outotec’s global sustainability targets and an essential principle in human resources management. To support gender diversity, Outotec launched its first female mentoring program on International Women’s Day 2018, and the second program in 2019. The program engaged women from around the world.
Outotec values diversity at the workplace and follows the principle of equal opportunities. In addition to being one of Outotec’s sustainability targets, supporting women on their career paths is one way to develop competence in Outotec and is prioritized by the management. As part of Outotec’s work towards gender diversity, the female mentoring program aims to coach women in areas they consider important in their careers.
16 women mentees were paired with mentors of both genders, including all the Executive Board members, to form a relationship and bring their thoughts and ideas to the table. After a joint kick-off, the pairs could communicate with each other freely about issues they considered important, especially according to the mentees’ wishes and expectations.
“The female mentoring program is one way to increase diversity along with our global job market and leadership programs. The large number of applications to the program from around the world signaled that we have a lot of female talent in the company interested in developing their skills and competencies further,” says Kaisa Aalto-Luoto, Head of Human Resources and Communications. “I am proud of our senior leaders and the executive board who committed to the program and considers the cause as important.”
Outotec’s goal is to increase the percentage of women working at the company from the current 20%. Mentoring is one way to empower and inspire women over their Outotec career paths.
“To truly improve diversity, we need to make sure that we have women working and getting ahead in their careers on all corporate levels. The best way to increase the percentage of women among the senior leaders is to make sure that we support women not only in recruiting but in every step of their careers”, says Katariina Kivelä-Hassi, Director, Corporate HR.
Mentoring has been a comprehensively positive experience for the participants. One of the mentor-mentee pairs is Nina Kiviranta, General Counsel and Executive Board member, Outotec Finland, and Merve Oguz, Commercial Manager, Outotec Turkey. They both feel that their mentoring journey has been enlightening and inspiring. “For a long time, I have wanted to meet Nina. I was super excited to have her as my mentor,” Oguz says.
In their view, the whole mining and metals processing industry suffers from the lack of women, and programs empowering women are highly valued among female experts. As another outcome of the program, women can form relationships with people they have always wanted to connect with – from around the world.
“The program made me feel that we can collaborate together, no matter the boundaries. I believe that empowering women of Outotec brings soul to our business, as well,” says Oguz. “It is important to talk about our experiences as women and share thoughts on the different challenges we encounter. Cultural differences exist for women in business, and that is an important issue to discuss,” Kiviranta adds.
As a company, Outotec values creating international connections, and in Nina and Merve’s case, the relationship is permanent. “Merve is now my friend, and our discussions truly energize me in my daily work,” says Kiviranta. The pair is going to stay connected after the official mentoring journey comes to an end.
Valuable and informative journey
One of the mentoring pairs is Gustav Kildén and Obakeng Mohane. Kildén is working in Finland as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Customers and Business Development, and Mohane is working as Manager of Service Proposals in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“It has been a valuable and informative journey. I have learned a great deal and enjoyed every session. The program made me think about my career development and which skills I need to hone for career progression,” Mohane describes.
“For me it's been very interesting and valuable to first of all get to know Obakeng as a person. She is a very ambitious and professional employee and one of those who with her attitude and know-how contributes to not only the success of market area Sub-Saharan Africa but also the success of Outotec,” Kildén says.
Positive aspects gained from the program
“We share our opinions and experiences openly in every topic that we discuss, which results in great dialogue. I am happy that I applied! It’s rare to find a company that supports women’s career development so much so that one can be mentored by a member of the Executive Board,” Mohane shares her thoughts.
Mohane joined Outotec as a graduate 9 years ago and for her, it is evident that Outotec values female employees and invests in their development.
“The development I have received from this program will remain valuable also after this mentoring journey. I will continue to contact Gustav to catch up and seek advice, it does not end when the program ends.”