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Julkaisuvuosi: 2024

Haaga-Helia Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan 2024–2026

1 Introduction

Equality and non-discrimination are being realised slowly, even though efforts to promote them are made on many fronts. According to the European Union’s equality barometer, we will reach gender equality in about 60 years. Even though Finland is considered a model country in terms of equality, especially in regard to legislation, many surveys show that we still have much work to do.

Our work and study environments are becoming increasingly diverse, culturally richer and international. This means adopting new approaches and practices, but it can also evoke fear and resistance. Everyone in the work community is responsible for promoting equality and non-discrimination.

Therefore, we should all think about how we can contribute to achieving our goals for equality and non-discrimination. We invite every member of our community to take part in this work.

According to research, many students and personnel members do not know that educational institutions must have equality and non-discrimination plans. Making this plan known to every student and employee is an important step towards a more equal and non-discriminatory Haaga-Helia. As our university community comprises 11,000 students and 700 employees, the plan emphasises the student perspective.

1.1 Parties responsible for the plan

The first Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan in its current form was drawn up in 2021 by a working group that included student, employer and employee representation. Through broad representation, we ensure that diverse perspectives are taken into account.

Haaga-Helia monitors the implementation of the plan in cooperation forums:

The Personnel and Culture responsibility area / HR Director is responsible for the personnel-related aspects of the plan. The objectives and measures of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan are a recurring theme in the Occupational Safety and Health Committee meetings four times a year.

The Student Well-Being Working Group / Head of Guidance, Career and Well-being Services is responsible for the student-related aspects of the plan. The Student Well-Being Working Group meets at least four times a year and monitors progress in achieving objectives and implementing measures.

For issues relating to the entire university community, the Administrative Director periodically convenes a meeting, including Vice Presidents responsible for teaching and research, a representative of the Student Union Helga, a health and safety representative, a representative from the Student Well-Being Working Group and an HR expert. If necessary, other experts can also be invited to the working group. The working group reviews the implementation of the goals and measures annually and determines the measures to be taken in the next period.

Updating the plan regularly ensures the continuity of our work in promoting equality and non-discrimination. Updating refers to assessing the successfulness of the previous period’s measures, comprehensively investigating the equality and non-discrimination situation and setting new targets and measures. For the 2021–2023 period, the Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan was renewed by involving various parties in the process, and significant changes were made to the content and structure of the plan. For this reason, the 2024–2026 plan has been drawn up by updating the previous version, considering both external and internal factors of change.

From the personnel’s perspective, the plan has been updated with a focus on three themes:

  • We have considered the relevant recommendations of the KOTAMO project. The Ministry of Education and Culture’s KOTAMO project (2021–2022) examined the state of equality, non-discrimination and diversity among staff in Finnish higher education institutions.
  • The content has also been reviewed, particularly from the perspectives of diversity, inclusion, community and well-being.
  • We have also taken into account the results of the 2023 Personnel Survey, comparing them to the goals and measures set for the period beginning in 2024. The content has been reviewed for potential update needs, focusing on the perspectives of participation and internal collaboration.

To enable a broader perspective covering the whole university community, the following were also taken into account:

  • The reorganisation of guidance, career and well-being services and focusing the Student Well-Being Working Group’s work on coordinating and developing equality and non-discrimination efforts.
  • The launch of Haaga-Helia’s safer space approach (Turvaamo) in the autumn of 2023.
  • The European Commission’s cross-cutting priority of improving the European research and innovation system, creating equal working environments and integrating the diversity dimension in RDI activities. The goal is to improve research quality and ensure that the knowledge, technologies and innovations produced are relevant to society.

This plan remains valid until the end of 2026. The drafting of a new plan will be started well in advance before the previous period ends.

This plan has been drawn up to address equality and non-discrimination from both operational and personnel policy perspectives. Haaga-Helia’s equality and non-discrimination plan is based on a jointly drafted strategy and values, which form the foundation for promoting equality and non-discrimination within our organisation. Chapter two contains the summarised framework of equality and non-discrimination work: legislative basis, strategy, and values. Chapter three is divided into subchapters that discuss studying, guidance and student well-being, diversity as a resource, and the promotion of accessibility. It also contains a section focusing on the personnel policy-related issues of equality and non-discrimination. The equality and non-discrimination objectives for the 2024–2026 period are introduced at the end of chapter three.

Chapter four summarises how the continuity of our work in promoting equality and non-discrimination is realised at Haaga-Helia. Chapter five contains instructions related to the promotion of equality and non-discrimination as lists of links. The goals, measures and monitoring of the previous term (2021–2023) are described separately.

Haaga-Helia’s Management Group approved Haaga-Helia’s Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan 2024–2026 at its meeting on 12 January 2024.

Teemu Kokko
President, CEO

2 Promoting equality and non-discrimination at Haaga-Helia

Haaga-Helia trains experts whose actions enable fulfilling international obligations related to equality and non-discrimination. Promoting equality and non-discrimination and developing this work are essential aspects of our daily operations. The equality and non-discrimination plan and related actions aim to secure our educational institution’s diversity, non-discriminatory nature and equality and introduce processes and bodies to address possible shortcomings.

Haaga-Helia’s Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan also confirms the development targets and identified measures for the 2024–2026 period, which will enable our progress towards the desired direction and ensure the effectiveness of our actions in promoting equality and non-discrimination. The plan concerns us all, both students and personnel.

The plan has been drafted in cooperation with students and personnel to support and promote our objective of an equal and non-discriminatory study and work community. Our shared goal is to create a good environment for studying and working for everyone.

2.1 Strategy and values

2.1.1 Strategy progress – Mutual reformation

Haaga-Helia’s strategy for 2021–2025 has been drafted in cooperation with students, personnel, graduates and partners in various events and on different forums. The strategy’s key objectives include ensuring a future-proof organisation that supports the goals of Haaga-Helia’s education reform, enabling an excellent student experience, making Haaga-Helia a great place to work for everyone, and strengthening the organisation’s performance as well as its communal and result-oriented culture. The well-being of students and employees facilitates the achievement of our objectives. Working together was the backbone of our strategy work.

As part of the strategy work, we updated our values, building upon our previous value system and ethical principles. These values are our joint commitment to the way we act in relation to our stakeholders and within our work community. Our values include courage, responsibility, collaboration, transparency and respect.

Courage: We experiment courageously as we actively search for new opportunities and ways to develop our activities. This requires curiosity, continuous learning and regeneration. We are ready to experiment even with crazy ideas. Mistakes are a part of learning. We dare to give up on things that no longer work.

Responsibility: We look after our students, ourselves, each other and the entire university community. We carry our responsibility for the economy, environment and society. We are committed to our goals and joint decisions. We treat everyone fairly and equally.

Working together: In our university community, we collaborate to reach our goals. We help one another to succeed. We participate and involve others. We share our skills and achieve more together.

Openness: We work openly and transparently. We listen to differing opinions and learn from others. We approach even difficult issues transparently and constructively. We are committed to promoting the principles and practices of open science.

Respect: Our activities are based on respecting one another and our jointly agreed procedures. It is evident in the way we talk and how we act. We act professionally in all situations.

We act in a manner that makes everyone feel like an equal part of our community.

There are laws and decrees aimed to promote equality and non-discrimination. The most central ones are presented below. According to Section 6 of the Constitution (731/1999), ‘no one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.’ Gender equality is promoted in societal activities and working life, especially in the determination of pay and other terms of employment. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002) obligates every employer to take measures if there is harassment or other inappropriate behaviour targeted at an employee within the work community.

Amendments were introduced to the Occupational Safety and Health Act on 1 June 2023. The amendments clarified employers’ obligations in terms of occupational safety and health. The goal of the amendments is to promote the ability to cope at work of people over 55 and extend careers. Employers shall, in particular, take into consideration that the employees’ personal abilities may require individual occupational safety and health measures to ensure the employees’ safety and health. The measures can include arrangements and adjustments related to working spaces, working hours or workload. These changes may be individual or apply to the entire workplace. Accessible working spaces are suitable for everyone. The main amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (23.8.2002/738) concern the following sections: Employer’s general duty to exercise care (Section 8), Analysis and assessment of hazards at work (Section 10), and Instruction and guidance to be provided for employees (Section 14).  Haaga-Helia’s approaches and established practices as a responsible employer meet the obligations laid down in the latest amendments, so no changes were required to our practices.

The Criminal Code of Finland (39/1889) contains provisions concerning discrimination and work discrimination. Sections 26 and 31 of the Universities of Applied Sciences Act (932/2014) and the Act on the Provision of Digital Services (306/2019) issue provisions on the accessibility and safety of studies.

The Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986) imposes an obligation to monitor and promote the equality of personnel and education in educational institutions. The Non-Discrimination Act (1325/2004) aims to prevent discrimination and provide clear instructions for ensuring the legal protection of the target of discrimination.

Educational and higher education institutions must draft an equality and non-discrimination plan with the personnel, students and occupational health and safety representatives.

The obligations of the Non-Discrimination Act can be divided into a fourfold table, as presented below.

Image. Legal requirements for equality and non-discrimination planning in educational institutions. (Tanhua, 2020).

2.3 General objectives for promoting equality and non-discrimination

The purpose of the Act on Equality Between Men and Women, also known as the Equality Act, is to prevent gender-based discrimination, promote equality between genders and improve women’s position, especially in the world of work. The Equality Act prohibits gender-based discrimination, such as discrimination related to pregnancy, giving birth, parenthood, obligation to care for one’s family, gender identity or gender expression. Gender identity refers to a person’s own experience of their gender; gender expression refers to expressing one’s gender through clothing, behaviour or other similar means.

The Equality Act obligates the employer to promote gender equality in a result-oriented and planned manner. Taking into account the resources available and other contributing factors, the employer must

  • operate so that they attract applications from both men and women for job vacancies
  • promote gender balance in different positions and career progress
  • promote gender equality in employment conditions, especially in regard to salaries
  • develop working conditions so that they are suitable for everyone
  • enable combining working and family life by paying particular attention to work arrangements
  • operate so that gender-based discrimination is prevented.

A higher education institute must ensure that all genders have the same opportunities in education and career advancement and that teaching, research and learning materials support the realisation of gender equality. This means, among other things, that student selection must be based on individual, not gender-related factors. Education and training must also aim to dismantle ways of thinking, practices and norms that lead to stereotypical choices. Learning materials must also be developed so that they do not reinforce formulaic prejudices and gender ideas.

The Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on age, origin, nationality, language, religion, conviction, opinion, political activity, trade union activity, family relationships, health, disability, sexual orientation or other reasons related to the person, and it lays down provisions on the promotion of non-discrimination. Discrimination is prohibited, regardless of whether it is based on facts or assumptions about the individual or another person. In addition to direct and indirect discrimination, the discrimination referred to in the Non-Discrimination Act also means harassment, denying reasonable adjustments, and instructions or orders to discriminate.

According to the Non-Discrimination Act, the employer must assess the success of non-discrimination in the workplace and develop work conditions and measures to be followed when recruiting personnel and making decisions concerning the personnel.

When evaluating the realisation of non-discrimination, a higher education institution must pay attention to student feedback, learning materials, measures preventing harassment and bullying, equality of teaching situations, study performance evaluations and teaching personnel’s competence in non-discrimination issues.

When several factors are deemed to simultaneously affect a person’s identity and position in social structures, the term ‘intersectionality’, i.e. intersecting inequalities, is used. According to the intersectional approach, one factor, such as gender, age or ethnic background, cannot be examined separately from others. Therefore, promoting equality and non-discrimination also requires examining different factors and their significance in relation to each other. (Institute for Health and Welfare, equality glossary)

3 Equal and non-discriminatory Haaga-Helia

In this chapter, we will discuss equality and non-discrimination at Haaga-Helia from various perspectives. The objectives and key measures for promoting equality and non-discrimination in the 2024–2026 period are introduced at the end of the chapter. The objectives and measures have been determined in collaboration with representatives of both students and personnel.

The following statistics, reports and surveys have been used in analysing the current situation: Information regarding student well-being, accessibility and studying was collected, among other things, through the Equality and Non-Discrimination Survey, workshops organised as part of the SOLE project, and the International Student Barometer survey. Haaga-Helia’s well-being services, special needs teachers, guidance counsellors, career team and the Student Union Helga are represented in the Student Well-Being Working Group.

As for the personnel, the situational analysis is based on the autumn 2023 Personnel Survey, equality indicators, the Work Ability Survey and personnel’s key indicators. In addition, the 2024–2026 plan has been supplemented with relevant recommendations from the Ministry of Education and Culture’s KOTAMO project (2021–2022). The project examined the state of equality, non-discrimination and diversity in Finnish higher education institutions and how they can be promoted.

The objectives and measures for the 2024–2026 period have been discussed in various forums, particularly between representatives of the student well-being working group and Helga, as well as between HR and health and safety representatives. 

3.1 Studying, guidance and student well-being

Based on Section 6 of the Non-Discrimination Act, education providers are obligated to promote non-discrimination. In this chapter, we will discuss the development of equality and non-discrimination at Haaga-Helia and the accessibility of entrance exams.

During the 2021–2023 period, significant structural reforms were made in student guidance and support services. A new unit for Guidance, Career, and Well-Being Services was established within the Teaching and Learning responsibility area, with the Head of Guidance, Career, and Well-Being Services serving as the unit’s supervisor. The unit aims to gather and develop institution-wide processes for guidance, career and well-being services. The goal of these changes is to gather and develop institution-wide processes from the perspective of guidance, career guidance and well-being services. This structural change has brought student support services closer to pedagogy and integrated them into guidance activities.

Image: Guidance, Career and Well-Being Services. (San Miguel, 2023)

The resources of well-being services have been reinforced through funding from the Helia foundation for 2022–2026. For example, two study coaches to support students have been added to the team. Currently, the well-being services include two study psychologists, two study coaches and close collaboration with the university chaplain appointed by the Lutheran Church in Helsinki.

Flexible learning paths and teaching methods offer students equal opportunities to advance their studies, regardless of the student’s life situation. Haaga-Helia aims to ensure an accessible and safe learning environment for each student. A comprehensive education reform is under way in Haaga-Helia, aiming to provide students with study paths that are as flexible as possible and offer them freedom of choice. Flexible study opportunities were a key objective in the previous operational period.

At Haaga-Helia, the purpose of promoting student well-being is to support students’ ability to study and active participation and create a safe learning environment for everyone.

Well-being is promoted through individual and communal support.

Image. The student well-being services aim to address all factors affecting the ability to study, including study skills, personal resources, teaching and the learning community (Kunttu 2009).

3.1.1 Findings

The SOLE project implemented the ‘What makes you feel safer?’ campaign (Mikä lisää sun turvallisuutta?) targeted at students. Workshops were organised as part of the campaign, reaching a total of 250 students. Workshops on safe spaces were also organised for the personnel. Building upon the findings, Haaga-Helia developed principles for safer spaces and introduced the safer space approach called Turvaamo, which will be discussed in more detail in connection with the following theme of diversity as a resource.

3.2 Diversity as a resource

Diversity means that we have different cultural backgrounds and identities. Diversity is an advantage and resource, and nurturing it is an ethical imperative. Diversity relates to respecting human dignity, mutual respect, tolerance, fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Haaga-Helia is committed to promoting a communal culture in its strategy and the values of responsibility, openness and mutual respect. However, there can be unofficial or contradictory norms and practices in the organisational culture that are difficult to recognise.

Unacknowledged prejudices may lead to discrimination unless special attention is paid to recognising them. If an individual has to hide their identity, they can feel like an outsider, and their potential will remain unrealised. At Haaga-Helia, we want to operate with a norm-critical approach, ensuring that we recognise the diversity of all community members and see diversity as a strength. We want to promote freedom of thinking, information and expression while also respecting the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

Through our actions, we promote interaction and mutual respect between people from different cultures. The objective of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) is to maintain diversity as a regenerating and changing resource for humankind and to prevent segregation and extremist movements. At Haaga-Helia, we commit to promoting cultural awareness and combating racism.

Haaga-Helia strives to promote and ensure equal rights for everyone in their studies and work. We provide an international and multicultural studying environment for citizens of about a hundred countries. In the well-being team and the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, we monitor that no sexual or other harassment takes place and that there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation, for instance.

Haaga-Helia communicates actively about the principles of inclusion and provides employees with training on promoting an inclusive working culture. Inclusion means adopting an equal and non-discriminatory approach that welcomes everyone and encourages participation. We follow the principles and practical measures developed in collaboration with our employees and students, aimed at promoting an inclusive working culture within our educational institution. We provide instructions to make everyone aware of their rights and responsibilities as members of an inclusive workplace. 

Turvaamo is the name of Haaga-Helia’s approach to creating safer spaces. The principles for safer spaces at Haaga-Helia have been developed in collaboration with students, student organisations and employees (the SOLE project). These principles for safer spaces are discussed in Haaga-Helia’s courses and events. A more detailed description of Turvaamo is available on Haaga-Helia’s website.

Haaga-Helia’s approach to creating safer spaces is evaluated and developed regularly in the Occupational Health and Safety Committee meetings and, if necessary, in the Cooperation Committee meetings.

Haaga-Helia and Student Union Helga work together to prevent discrimination. Haaga-Helia’s harassment contact person can be contacted without hesitation:

Haaga-Helia employees should report harassment to the harassment contact person as well as their supervisor. If the incident concerns the employee’s supervisor, employees should report it to the supervisor’s supervisor. If the incident concerns the employee’s terms of employment, the incident can also be reported to the health and safety representative or employee representative. In the event of social media harassment, the incident should also be reported to Haaga-Helia’s communications department.

The integration of the diversity dimension and increasing gender balance in the structures and content of research, development and innovation activities is a cross-cutting priority of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme for the 2021–2027 period. Haaga-Helia develops its RDI activities according to the priorities and goals set by the EU. The aspects of equality, non-discrimination and diversity are taken into account in project planning and implementation.

3.3 Promotion of accessibility

Accessibility is a multidimensional concept. Accessibility in higher education institutions refers to how well the institution’s facilities, electronic systems, learning environments, teaching methods and attitudes enable participation and equality among students with diverse circumstances and characteristics. Therefore, accessibility is more than just physical accessibility. In an accessible higher education institution, every student and employee can feel like they belong. This way, accessibility promotes the well-being of every member of the community (Accessibility criteria, 1).

Accessibility can refer to accessible buildings and passageways, the usability of services or how non-discrimination is realised in learning situations. Accessibility also means digital services that allow as many people as possible to use them without needing adjustments or special arrangements.

Haaga-Helia’s Accessibility Plan is currently a separate document, but Haaga-Helia intends to incorporate it into the Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan in the future.

The Ministry of Education and Culture’s OHO project (2017–2019), which focused on students’ ability to study, well-being and participation, developed criteria for accessibility. Higher education institutions can use these criteria in their efforts to promote equality and non-discrimination and to assess their state of accessibility.

The criteria are divided into following categories: 1) Values, attitudes and organisational culture, 2) Teaching and learning, 3) Digital accessibility, 4) Communication and 5) Student admissions.

The criteria created by the project help higher education institutions critically assess the fairness, quality and accessibility of student selection, learning, studying and support and counselling services and take the necessary measures to promote accessibility.

The integration of the diversity dimension and increasing gender balance in the structures and content of research, development and innovation activities is a cross-cutting priority of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme for the 2021–2027 period. Haaga-Helia develops its RDI activities according to the priorities and goals set by the EU. The aspects of equality, non-discrimination and diversity are taken into account in project planning and implementation.

3.4 Equality, non-discrimination and well-being at work

Promoting equality in educational institutions also includes the equal treatment of employees. The equality plan may be related to personnel policy or operations. The previous chapters of this plan mainly discussed the operational equality plan that has been supplemented with the viewpoints from the non-discrimination plan. The plan for equal treatment of personnel covers matters related to application procedures, gender division of labour, career advancement, working conditions, personnel training, participation in committee work, opportunities to combine work and family (e.g. the use of family leave and work arrangements supporting it), workplace atmosphere, prevalence of sexual or gender-based harassment, attitudes related to equality, and issues related to management and occupational health and safety.

According to the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, well-being at work means safe, healthy and productive work in well-managed organisations by competent employees and work communities. Members of a healthy work community feel that their work is meaningful and rewarding and supports their life management.

Every other year, we implement a Personnel Survey investigating the prerequisites for successful strategy implementation. Similarly to the previous years, the results of the 2023 survey show that our strengths include high employee motivation and satisfaction with immediate leadership, which received an even higher score than before.  Respondents expresses most expectations regarding employer branding, leadership, and organisational culture. Most significant improvement was seen in team spirit, which many groups had previously mentioned as an area for development. Compared to previous surveys, issues that drew more critical attitudes included the future prospects of Haaga-Helia and its recent developments.

Using four statements and open-ended questions, the survey also investigated how individuals experience equality and non-discrimination.

The overall score for equality and non-discrimination was 3.40 on a scale from 1 to 4 (3.35 in 2021). The respondents felt that non-discrimination and appropriate treatment had improved. The score for equal treatment regardless of gender was 3.50, nearly the same as in the previous survey (3.53 in 2021). Employees perceived a slight improvement in equal treatment at work, scoring it 3.16 (3.08 in 2021). The experience of not being treated inappropriately also received a higher score of 3.57 (3.48 in 2021). Responses to the statement ‘I have not observed inappropriate treatment of others during the past year’ improved slightly, receiving a score of 3.36 (3.32 in 2021). 

These numbers confirm that equality and non-discrimination are realised well in Haaga-Helia. Critical feedback in response to the open-ended questions about equality and non-discrimination focused on differences in the employment terms between teaching staff and administrative or support staff. Differences experienced in terms of respect were also expressed in the feedback. Responses to open-ended questions also emphasised the need for consistent interpretation of rules and practices within the organisation, better consideration of non-Finnish speaking employees (e.g. in communications), and intervention in cases of inappropriate language use. The responses also conveyed positive experiences, stating that non-discrimination had been realised and no inappropriate behaviour had been encountered.

These expectations have been considered in the objectives and measures of this plan. We will support supervisors to ensure consistent interpretation of HR processes and operating models. We will also strengthen the parallel use of languages (FIN-ENG) in communications, instructions and daily work. We also aim to actively communicate and remind our community about our values, focusing on participation and respectful communication. 

Based on the survey results, Haaga-Helia chose motivating work and good immediate leadership as existing strengths to be upheld, while participation and enhanced collaboration were identified as areas for development. The organisation-wide development goals are reviewed in relation to the measures outlined in the action plan, focusing on participation and collaboration in all our operations. In addition, the personnel survey results are reviewed in groups, with each group discussing and identifying their strengths and development goals while reflecting on the goals and measures for the coming year. The Personnel Survey results have been considered in the objectives for the 2024–2026 period outlined in this plan.

3.4.1 Gender equality in personnel planning and recruitment

Personnel planning and competence development are included in the annual operational and financial planning process. Acceptance authorisations for HR-related matters complement the rules of procedure and bring transparency to HR processes. The goals of our organisational model include our three main processes: learning and guidance, research and development, and societal and international impact. Competence is at the core of these intersecting processes. As a process-oriented organisation, we aim to increase autonomous teams and bring decision-making closer to those concerned.

When employment begins and as it continues, the person’s salary and salary growth are determined based on Haaga-Helia’s shared guidelines and overall salary structure. The HR Director is responsible for the consistency, balance and fairness of the salary structure.

The balance of the salary groups and achieving equal pay are regularly assessed internally and, at times, using external comparison. The equal pay report is reviewed annually by the Cooperation Committee.

We also follow and compare developments in the gender distribution among our personnel. The gender distribution among our personnel aligns with the overall gender distribution in universities of applied sciences. The majority of employees in all Haaga-Helia’s personnel groups, including supervisors and management, are women. The evaluation of personnel distribution by groups is conducted annually as part of broader reporting and is presented in the Cooperation Committee. The material, including a broader overview of gender distribution and HR metrics, is available on the intranet. The material also includes the number of our international employees as an indicator of our diversity: On 31 December 2022, 5.0% of our employees were individuals whose nationality was other than Finnish. We aim to strengthen our international expertise and the share of international experts within our university community.

Table. Haaga-Helia’s full-time personnel by groups, September 2023. In the table, in addition to the ‘female’ and ‘male’ groups, there were not enough entries for the ‘other gender’ group verified by the persons themselves. Therefore, reporting this group separately was not statistically possible.

The Personnel and Competence Development Plan, prepared for the strategic period, is used to review the long-term strategic development needs for personnel and competence. A Personnel Plan is drawn up annually as part of the Operational and Financial Plan, covering, among other things, the structure and number of personnel and an estimate of changes in the different responsibility areas.

We lead, direct and measure personnel planning and competence development in a strategy-based manner according to the following guidelines:

  • Responsible personnel planning and recruitment
  • Goal-oriented competence management and development
  • Result-oriented management of performance and success
  • Proactive management of work ability and support for well-being at work

3.4.2 Result-oriented management of performance and success

Haaga-Helia has annual performance and development discussions. The HR system Sympa is utilised in the discussions. These discussions are the right and obligation of every member of the Haaga-Helia community. HR monitors, reports and compiles statistics on Sympa entries. Monitoring the development of employees’ competence is part of the discussion.

Employee competence development is based on the objectives outlined in the strategy and action plan, and the offered trainings are planned based on these objectives. The internal training selection is regularly updated on the intranet’s training calendar throughout the year.

All members of the Haaga-Helia community have equal opportunities and a responsibility to develop their competence. This is necessary for successful performance in work tasks and objectives, now and in the future. The employer decides on participation in training on a case-by-case basis.

Haaga-Helia utilises diverse competence development methods: we follow the 70–20–10 model, which means that professional development mostly takes place through on-the-job learning, supplemented by learning through feedback, relationships and networks, and only a portion of competence development involves training.

3.4.3 Organisational culture that supports work-life balance and well-being at work

At Haaga-Helia, the proactive maintenance of work ability and promotion of a safe and healthy workplace are linked to all our operations, and the well-being of our university community is the foundation of our strategy.

Table. Employee age distribution and age groups, 31 December 2022.

The majority of our employees belong to the age group of 50–59 (35%), and individuals over 60 form the second-largest group (18%). The average age of employees is 49 years. In 2022, the number of people who retired was 24. As a responsible employer, we pay attention to the individual needs of our ageing employees in a flexible and proactive manner, also taking into account professional development and coping at work as the foundation of employee well-being.

We also consider equality and non-discrimination in flexible working hour arrangements by supporting combining work and private/family life. The employer and employees can mutually agree on various working hour arrangements based on the employee’s needs and options available within the job position. The goal is to promote combining work and private life in different life situations and career stages.

The employer and employees can mutually agree on different kinds of part-time work arrangements based on the employee’s needs and options available within the job position. Job alternation leave is governed by the law, and when an employee meets the statutory criteria for such leave (e.g. work history, full-time work, age and retirement), they can apply for it. The suitable time for the leave can be negotiated with the supervisor.

Haaga-Helia offers the following support for balancing work and private life and flexible work time arrangements:

  • Flexible multi-location model for working: the model was renewed in 2022 and covers the entire work community.
  • The flexitime and remote work models for administrative and support service personnel: the model and remote work opportunities were made even more flexible in 2022.
  • Flexible family leave arrangements
  • Work arrangements that enable job alternation and study leaves
  • Flexible teaching planning, e.g. summer teaching

3.4.4 Promoting well-being at work

We engage in active and open dialogue about employee well-being and work ability in our work community. We conduct regular work ability surveys to monitor risks related to work ability and collect important information about how our employees experience their workload, work ability and resources. Ilmarinen is our implementing partner for the surveys.

Haaga-Helia was the first higher education institution in Finland to be awarded the Hyvän mielen työpaikka® (mental health friendly workplace) label. MIELI Mental Health Finland awarded the label in recognition of Haaga-Helia meeting the criteria for promoting mental health and being dedicated to the systematic, long-term support and development of mental health within our university community. The label is valid for one year, i.e. until 16 June 2024. Our goal is to apply for the label and receive it also in the future.

The development plan for our work community incorporates perspectives on personnel and competence development, along with annual goals and actions addressing employee well-being and occupational health and safety. These goals and measures are based on feedback, the current situation, and the actions taken in the previous year, ensuring continuity. The promotion of well-being at work and actions related to occupational health and safety are based on the two-year program for occupational health and safety, covering the term of the elected Occupational Health and Safety Committee, which means the 2023–2024 period.

3.5 Objectives for promoting equality and non-discrimination for 2024–2026

OBJECTIVE 1: Promoting student equality and non-discrimination and strengthening effective, multidisciplinary and knowledge-based development, planning, implementation and monitoring of activities.

MEASURE: We will develop the baseline survey and student surveys.

MEASURE: We will develop our support services for learning and the accessibility of the services by enhancing multidisciplinary collaboration.

MEASURE: We will develop orientation and the work and study skills courses (‘Avaimet opintoihin ja työelämään’) based on feedback and changes in the operating environment.

MEASURE: We will investigate the need for organisation-wide templates for personal study plan discussions and develop these templates in collaboration with our guidance counsellors.

OBJECTIVE 2: Enhancing equality and non-discrimination at Haaga-Helia by supporting the community spirit and students’ commitment to studies by offering properly resourced and oriented high-quality learning support services to all students.

MEASURE: We will strengthen the communal aspect of well-being services by organising events, visits and peer activities.

MEASURE: We will investigate the support needs of international students, for instance, by improving our existing surveys. We will also make our services more accessible through communication and design services that are accessible to the target group.

OBJECTIVE 3: Building a culture that values diversity and taking gender diversity into account.

MEASURE: We will increase diversity awareness among employees and students through training, campaigns and other measures.

MEASURE: We will avoid gender-based grouping and gender-specific terms in our organisation’s daily operations and communication. We will also develop surveys and forms that align with this goal.

OBJECTIVE 4: Zero tolerance for harassment

MEASURE: We will disseminate the safer space approach to all Haaga-Helia campuses and develop student mediation.

OBJECTIVE 5: Reinforcing collaboration within the 3AMK network to support our joint efforts in promoting equality and non-discrimination and to support future project collaborations. Within the 3AMK network, students from Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia can enrol in study paths that integrate courses from all three institutions. This allows them to develop broad competences that meet the needs of the future.

MEASURE: We ensure regular meetings with representatives of the 3AMK network.

OBJECTIVE 6: Continuing responsible personnel planning and HR management in the 2024–2026 period, thus promoting equality and non-discrimination (cf. KOTAMO project, recommendation no 6, and Personnel Survey 2023).

MEASURE: Our recruitment activities are guided by our strategic competence needs; we will focus on increasing the proportion of international experts and RDI specialists while also developing the competence of our university community.

MEASURE: The themes of equality and non-discrimination are a permanent part of supervisor induction as well as personnel and management training.

MEASURE: We will support supervisors in interpreting HR processes and operating models consistently and fairly (individual support, supervisor forums, online forum/platform for supervisors).

OBJECTIVE 7: Communicating transparently about job and selection criteria in our recruitment processes (cf. KOTAMO project, recommendation no 10).

MEASURE: As a general rule, we publicly advertise all job vacancies or at least publish them internally. This provides an opportunity for a diverse group of applicants to apply.

MEASURE: In our job advertisements, we communicate clearly how and based on which criteria we evaluate applicants.

MEASURE: We ask for feedback from the selected applicant to develop the recruitment process.

OBJECTIVE 8: Complying with Haaga-Helia’s operating models that promote an inclusive working culture (cf. KOTAMO project, recommendation no 8, and Personnel survey 2023).
Inclusion means adopting an equal and non-discriminatory approach that welcomes everyone and encourages participation.

MEASURE: We will regularly communicate and remind our community about our values, focusing on participation and respectful communication.

MEASURE: We will strengthen the parallel use of languages (FIN-ENG) in communication, instructions and daily work.

MEASURE: We will follow the Turvaamo approach, which involves creating safer spaces and intervening in incidents of harassment. We have zero tolerance for harassment.

MEASURE: We implement the Early support model fairly when needed, following a request from a colleague, supervisor or the individual in question.

MEASURE: We bring attention to and address shortcomings in a responsible manner according to Haaga-Helia’s active intervention model, taking disciplinary action if necessary.

OBJECTIVE 9: Engaging in continuous dialogue about well-being at work and work ability.

MEASURE: We regularly conduct the Work Ability survey targeted at our personnel.

MEASURE: As an expert organisation, our occupational health activities emphasise mental health, and we will continue our long-term work in providing and developing diverse support for mental health.

MEASURE: We will conduct regular workplace surveys on all our campuses, and the necessary actions will be determined based on the results.

OBJECTIVE 10: Due to the age structure of our organisation, we must pay particular attention to the work arrangements of our ageing employees and to knowledge sharing as part of work ability management. This approach promotes work-life balance and well-being within our organisation. (This was also an objective in the 2021–2023 period).

MEASURE: To extend careers and facilitate knowledge transfer, we make flexible work arrangements, allowing individuals to utilise retirement arrangements simultaneously.

MEASURE: We will support our ageing employees’ ability to work with measures such as comprehensive occupational health services and ergonomics visits and by supporting physical and social well-being with exercise and culture benefits.

MEASURE: Age group examinations are implemented using an electronic occupational health survey, supporting the preventative and needs-based approach within occupational health services and directing employees to the appropriate treatment paths.

MEASURE: Occupational health services are also available remotely as video and chat services. This enables contacting occupational health services quickly and easily.

OBJECTIVE 11: Increasing awareness of equality, non-discrimination and diversity issues among those involved in research, development and innovation (RDI) activities.

MEASURE: We will create a tool for those preparing RDI projects to ensure that employees involved in RDI activities consider how to incorporate the themes of diversity, equality and non-discrimination into RDI projects.

OBJECTIVE 12: Communicating actively about the equality and non-discrimination plan and its objectives and measures (cf. KOTAMO project, recommendation no 7, and Personnel Survey 2023).

MEASURE: The occupational safety and health committee and the working group for student well-being will monitor the implementation of the equality and non-discrimination plan on a regular basis. The committee’s memorandum is available on the intranet.

MEASURE: Our models for preventing inappropriate treatment and creating safer spaces complement this plan. We will communicate about these models regularly, for example, through our well-being newsletter.

MEASURE: We actively communicate about the measures and metrics related to equality and non-discrimination within our work community.

4 Continuity of activities promoting equality and non-discrimination

The Administrative Director and HR Director are responsible for updating the Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan. At regular intervals, they call together a group that reviews the implementation of the ongoing year’s measures and sets objectives and measures for the next period. The group includes the Vice Presidents responsible for teaching and research operations, a representative of the Student Union Helga, a health and safety representative, a representative from the student well-being working group and an HR expert.  If necessary, other experts can also be invited to the working group. We will also monitor the legislation, regulations and instructions on promoting equality and non-discrimination issued by the European Union and the Finnish government.

The plan’s implementation is monitored using various methods, such as surveys conducted by Haaga-Helia and the Student Union Helga, statistics and interviews with students and personnel.

Available on Haaga-Helia’s intranet


Occupational health and safety

Available on Haaga-Helia’s website

Haaga-Helia’s special needs teachers

Haaga-Helia’s well-being services for students

Haaga-Helia’s guidance counsellors

Haaga-Helia’s student survey results

Haaga-Helia’s Accessibility Plan

Public sources

Erilaisten oppijoiden liitto

European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, gender equality – A strengthened commitment in Horizon Europe, Publications Office, 2021

The European Union’s Horizon project

Library, LibGuides: Erilaisen oppijan opas

KOTAMO Project

Rehabilitation Foundation: Opas sujuvaan opiskeluun

Finnish National Agency for Education: Tasa-arvo- ja yhdenvertaisuussuunnittelu oppilaitoksissa.

Tasa-arvolaki, oppilaitokset sukupuolen moninaisuus

Website of the Ombudsman for Equality

Amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1 June 2023.