AIDA’s Sitra Lab experiment and the demo workshop described in more detail
About the experiment
In our Sitra Lab experiment, we were mentoring one of AIDA’s team members and hunted for an impact internship placement for her. We also ran a demo workshop for the representatives of employers. The workshop included a demo training on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, and a small reflection task on diverse talent in their organization. The rest of the workshop dealt with impact employment – something that we at AIDA viewed as the most central term and practice for our Sitra lab experiment
The purpose of the demo workshop and our still ongoing research was to map whether the impact internship model is something that employers might be interested in trying out in their organizations; something that could truly be explored as a new way to increase employment of women with immigrant backgrounds.
Although the impact employment idea was received well, we have not begun wide-scale impact employment experiments with organizations yet (at the time of writing, January 2022). We learned that hearing AIDA’s story of impact employment can be motivating, uplifting, and even eye-opening, but not in itself enough. We hypothesise that more training on the benefits of diversity and more practical tools are required for organizations to embark on impact employment. The positive finding of the experiment was that after a few months of scouting and mentoring, we managed to find an impact internship for one of AIDA’s team members. The internship was relevant in terms of the applicant’s education, talent, and work experience.
However, we are certain that the experiment we have conducted as a part of Sitra lab has significant potential if systematically developed further in close cooperation with organisations, people with immigrant backgrounds, and other relevant stakeholders. This is something that some members of our team will continue to do in the future. We propose that our work can be beneficial not just for the employers and the individual people looking to advance their careers in Finland, but for the Finnish society as a whole.
The topics and the structure of the demo workshop
The demo workshop was structured as follows
Intro – Ice-breaker exercise and introducing the topic, us, and AIDA briefly
Immigrant talent and employment in Finland – facts and a personal story
Why DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) and why DEI now? – competitive advantage of diverse teams, other reasons behind the need for DEI, identifying general problems and exchanging ideas on organization-specific problems
DEI terminology briefly explained
Zooming in: unconscious bias – Acknowledging unconscious bias, spotting discriminatory practices, and moving towards DEI practices. Exchanging thoughts with pairs on attracting, hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent.
Towards impact employment – Sharing AIDA’s journey and the lessons learned. Opening up the concept of impact employment. Introducing impact internship and collecting feedback on it.
Demo workshop background material:
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Melaku, T. M. (2019) Why Women and People of Color in Law Still Hear “You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer”. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/08/why-women-and-people-of-color-in-law-still-hear-you-dont-look-like-a-lawyer
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Sensoy, Ö. & DiAngelo, R. (2012). Is everyone really equal?: An introduction to key concepts in critical social justice education. Teachers College Press.
Williams, J. C. (2021) Bias Interrupted: Creating Inclusion for Real and for Good. Harvard Business Review Press.
Williams, J.C. & Mihaylo, S. (2019) How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/11/how-the-best-bosses-interrupt-bias-on-their-teams