HAVI’s Estonia business was recently awarded the “We respect differences” quality label by Estonia’s Center for Human Rights and Ministry of Social Affairs for promoting diversity and inclusion in our organization.
We Respect Differences
The recognition follows years of effort on the part of the local HR team to embed diversity in daily life at HAVI and attract a broader pool of applicants. At the heart of these efforts is Aire Eensalu, HR Manager HAVI Estonia.
Aire knows a thing or two about being an atypical candidate, since her own career has followed an unusual path. After high school she spent some time bartending and dreaming of finding her calling, before deciding to study HR at the urging of a friend who planned to study it as well. Two months in, she realized she’d found the perfect subject for her. She went on to graduate, work in various HR roles, and take time off to raise her children before joining HAVI in a temporary role in 2014.
Tenacity And Drive
That temporary role turned out to be a trial by fire of sorts, because Aire was the sole HR team member, with a lot of responsibility and not much experience to guide her. The HR specialist she was filling in for told her, “Sorry, but you need to learn how to swim or you will drown.” It wasn’t easy, but thanks to the combination of supportive colleagues and Aire’s own tenacity and desire to learn, she managed to do the job swimmingly and grow into her current manager role.
In fact, overcoming challenges has become one of Aire’s favorite things about her job. “HAVI is constantly evolving, which can be challenging but also very interesting,” she says. “I’m especially fascinated by the differences between people. I love to try to understand their behavior, find ways to resolve conflicts, and help people be happier at work.”
Aire’s appreciation of differences also informs her outlook on diversity at HAVI. “We are not focused on the gender, age, orientation, religion, or ethnicity of our employees,” she says. “What does matter to us is that you do your job well and that you are happy at work, because happy people are more effective at what they do. We can play a big role in employees’ happiness by making sure that they feel accepted and enabled to do their jobs.”
This focus on valuing differences and promoting acceptance has been paying off. Aire says, “Ever since we started paying more attention to diversity, we’ve attracted a more diverse group of new hires and have seen positive changes in the attitudes of our employees. Currently over 40% of our employees are non-native Estonian and over 40% are women – especially great since supply chain is traditionally viewed as a ‘male’ field. We've come a long way to get here, but there’s still plenty of work to do!