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The way inclusion is arranged in Ukrainian offices

Are there companies in Ukraine that are in the process of introducing inclusiveness or currently have it introduced in their organizational environment? What are the advantages for business where Diversity is one of the values? On April,11 Lviv Business School of UCU (LvBS) and Educational Center for Human Rights in Lviv held a discussion “Advantages of Diversity” where representatives from business brought up these important issues.

Solutions to many of the problems can indicate how successful reforms and changes that prioritize personality are.

 The participants of the meeting were:

-          The manager of the laboratory of financial services SoftServe Inc. Antonina Skrypnyk,

-          CEO of Art Arsenal Olesya Ostrovska-Liuta,

-          Chief manager of the store in retail chain “Auschan Lviv”  Tetyana Herasymova

-          Yaroslav Azhniuk from PetCube - joined via Skype from Boston.

The meeting was moderated by TV presenter and activist Dmytro Schebetiuk.

So, what benefits can companies and employees get from introducing diversity? In 2018 about 1700 companies around the world took part in a research made by Harvard Business Review on how inclusion influences and is related to profitability. It should be mentioned here that apart from actual profit growth, having diverse people involved in a company, results in a great impact on the culture within the company, which makes people develop flexibility,  be quick at making decisions, innovative and, therefore,  become leaders.

How good are Ukrainian companies at understanding the importance of including everybody? First examples and followers are already there and they tend to grow into a system and will hopefully develop this tendency in the market in some time.

One of the examples is the national institution Mystetskyi Arsenal (Art Arsenal), one of the top 50 most important state enterprises, where this kind of experience is spelled out, said the manager  Olesya Ostrovska-Liuta. There is a separate department in the structure of this cultural organization that takes care of users’ experience. The staff of Arsenal believes that every single customer should feel comfortable as this is the best way to show respect and make a person participate. Due to full inclusiveness and introducing facilities for people with special needs Arsenal involves people from different social groups and is becoming a noticeable social platform with high traffic and attention drawn.

“It is not effective to introduce inclusion for the sake of inclusion. Inclusion cannot be an objective in itself. The environment of respect and acceptance results from the corporate culture and values shared by people and this has become a norm for us, a part of everyday routine”, – comments on how inclusion is implemented in one of the biggest IT companies in Ukraine, Antonina Skrypnyk. The manager also pointed out that gender equality in SoftServe became a reality not in a revolutional way, but evolutional one. For now almost half of the employees are females. About one third among of the leaders are also women, which is an inspiring fact. “And this number is growing!” – ensures Antonina Skrypnyk.

Tetyana Herasymova from Auschan Ukraine company told that for the employees there is nothing strange that people with disabilities are working equally and fully, among them with hearing problems, VBCs, and with mental disabilities. Auschan in Lviv is not unique in this way, the principles of equality regarding this issue is implemented generally in the world chain of Auschan.

In the 21st century there is a need to reevaluate the concept of success and effectiveness of companies. Modern companies should be ranked not according to their money profits but according to the way they make impact on the society. This was mentioned by Yaroslav Azhniuk , co-founder of one more global business with Ukrainian roots – Petcube (US located startup producing gadgets for pets). The way equality and diversity is respected by him started in the childhood, and developed more thanks to the experience he got working in the USA, where the mentality is different. “Living in Kyiv I was feeling like a black sheep  speaking Ukrainian in a Russian-speaking environment (which is unfortunately usual for post soviet countries). I needed to withstand students and teachers who used to mock me. But I had this urge to be cool, so that people would follow me. And if you want others follow you, you need to show good and strong sides of your ideas instead of being involved into a confrontation.” – states Yaroslav.

Diversity is one values in LvBS as an institution, we develop this subject and understand that regular trainings of the internal empathy and looking at other people’s needs is one of the positive signs. And most important – is that these efforts can lead to more everyday decisions, that will make processes in companies more inclusive. It would be very helpful to find out about your experience in diversity and inclusion, dear members of BMDA. Please send us your stories on


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