How has the atmosphere changed in the R&D team at Novanta after they focused on diversity in the workplace in collaboration with Czechitas?
Together with Novanta's Brno office, we focused on diversity in the team. Afterward, the branch received an award for its contribution to diversity development in the organization. This internal award and the collaboration with Czechitas triggered a small avalanche of other initiatives in their offices worldwide.
It is a relatively widespread concept in foreign companies, but in the Czech Republic, distrust still prevails. The aim is to create conditions that allow employees to develop their full personal potential, regardless of age, gender, race, or where they come from. Diversity of life experience brings more dynamism, better teamwork, diversity of opinion, mutual motivation, career opportunities, or even a fresh perspective on problems.
Novanta is a regional partner of Czechitas and has joined the Digital Academy for the third year to find and employ new talent. Indeed, they are aware of the benefits of diverse teams in practice.
How did the cooperation with Czechitas start?
There were several reasons at once. More than just the leadership felt the need to focus more on this topic. The passionate people within the team were also aware of the tangible benefits of diversity and wanted to work in one. The collaboration was also facilitated by Novanta employee Honza Přibyslavský, who had previously taught courses at Czechitas and spoke positively about the enthusiastic participants who wanted to learn IT. He encouraged other people in the company that it was worth getting involved. The bonus was that several people then applied for the lecturer/mentor/coach role at Czechitas.
The Benefits of Cooperation
The Brno branch of Novanta has previously realized that diversified teams are more effective because each approaches problems differently, and there is a greater chance that the problem will be solved. For example, there was a great need for diversity (not just gender) in the R&D team to deliver quality results.
"Collaboration has brought more diverse teams (not only in gender but also in age, for example), changing the atmosphere in work teams. Diversity means, among other things, a new way of thinking. A team with similar workforce characteristics had quite a similar approach to the problem and proposed a solution that was to take several weeks. In a diversity team, the task was suddenly solved uniquely in half an hour." Patrik Bartko, Manager of Global Talent Acquisition Operations
Having more women on the team has helped change the culture of the R&D team, which has about 70 people and currently has 15 women. In addition, hiring juniors can also bring satisfaction in terms of employee job performance. Senior engineers can delegate tasks that, after a while, they began to see as mundane to talented female employees from Czechitas, who, in turn, are happy to learn from these tasks. They appreciate the opportunity to self-develop while doing work they enjoy. The collaboration has resulted in a much more diverse R&D team where the culture has changed on both a challenging and soft level.
"The cooperation went smoothly. After the first run of the Academy, we realized that we can capture the best talents during the course of our studies and not just at the end. In addition, thanks to our participation in Czechitas networking events, we have been able to build the company's brand. We ourselves have a social responsibility and can bring something to the world. We are also happy that Digital Academy: Testing graduates are also working in other companies." Patrik Bartko, Manager of Global Talent Acquisition Operations
Novanta has created an award for a significant contribution to diversity development. The Brno team was nominated and won! The award is great for the internal team but especially effective for high-level managers. Even the highest in the organization can see that they are doing very well in Brno. This was the first significant collaboration with an entity to diversify teams. This cooperation proved that it makes sense to do these things. The Brno office has inspired the whole company to start getting involved in other initiatives, thus reaching out to other talents. The award and collaboration with Czechitas began with a small avalanche of other initiatives in Novanta offices worldwide (mainly in the US and the UK, Spain, and Germany). They attended NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) in Pittsburgh, where they got an excellent talent for internships, and they are also planning to attend SWE (Society of Women Engineers) and SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) this year and next.
Czechitas graduates are great at solving obstacles.
And how did the Czechitas graduates fit into the Novanta team? Patrik Bartek said they often have other backgrounds than just computer science at Masaryk university and Brno University of Technology, like male employees. They have, for example, a degree in linguistics and other humanities, which is an interesting bonus at work. Czechitas graduates are great at communicating problems and solving obstacles, for example, and they excel at that. In addition, they often enjoy activities that senior staff enjoys less, explicitly documenting the whole testing process. And it's more than that. They are willing to do what others don't want. They enjoy the work and can play with the tasks given. They complement each other well in the team. One person's weaknesses balance the other's strengths. Czechitas graduates are also great communicators, fearless in going and asking questions. They want to push themselves and work on themselves.
"We then put the team together by complementing someone's weaknesses with another person's strengths." Patrik Bartko, Manager of Global Talent Acquisition Operations
How to work with juniors
Diversity is not just about gender. It's also about working with people with different levels of seniority. That's why Novanta knows how beneficial recruiting juniors can be for a company. "We know what we're getting into when looking for juniors, we know what to expect. We have to discount some of the requirements. It would be nice if the female candidates knew of this and didn't suffer from unnecessarily low self-esteem. We're counting on training them. After the first Academy, we already talked about recruiting more junior people, but unfortunately, we didn't have the capacity internally. We don't want it to happen that a new person comes in and is on their own. But that requires not only enough senior professionals but also professionals who can mentor. Internally, we had to ensure that every newcomer had a mentor. Generally speaking, Czechitas gives companies guidance and opportunities to discover talent, but it's up to the companies themselves how they use it," says Bartko.
Brno's R&D team is proof of success built on the principle of diversity. Team diversity is a challenge and an excellent strategy to successfully solve and develop company projects. If you are interested in diversity, attend the May events during European Diversity Month. For more information, visit https://diverzita.cz/en.
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Starting in 2021, Novanta is primarily involved in Digital Academy: Testing, with a long-term automated testing course piloted in the fall. The R&D team in Brno is engaged mainly in the end-to-end development of medical technologies for integrated operating rooms. Novanta has offices worldwide, particularly in NAMER, EMEA, and APAC locations. For more information, please visit www.novanta.com.