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What’s the State of Diversity in the Global Business Services (GBS) and Technology Sector in Kraków?

As a contributor and a witness to the recent ASPIRE Kraków Calling event, which took place live from the Unity Centre at the heart of the city, I realized how much the sector has matured and how far it could go as the foremost Central and Eastern European hub for Global Business Services and technology operations for multinational firms seeking to derive value for their entities.

The eminent panel was spearheaded by Jola Gantkowska, Director of Global Client Service Centres and People Operations – AMS, and consisted of Gabriela Stanakova, Sr Director, GBS Global Source-To-Pay (STP) Global Operations – Kimberly-Clark, Joanna Hrycaniuk, Head of PMBS Strategy & Program Delivery – Philip Morris International, Agnieszka Żur, PhD, Director of Executive MBA Program – Cracow School of Business, Nina Gabryś, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Kraków for Equality Policy – City of Kraków and Jacek Drabik, President of the board – Motorola Solutions engaged in a meaningful discussion on the strategic value from GBS and the key enablers that make Kraków and Poland an inclusive ecosystem.

John Collington, a strategic Board advisor joined via video conference to share his insights on trends shaping the world of Global Business Services.

As companies strive to create value and optimize their value chain, diversity and inclusion are increasingly becoming a critical part of the equation. For GBS organizations and technology companies in Kraków, Poland, it is no different. The importance of embracing diversity has never been more apparent, and companies that embrace the capabilities of a diverse workforce can achieve wonders.

Kraków, a leading center of offshoring, has been instrumental in fuelling the growth of GBS and technology companies. However, a key issue that companies operating in Krakow need to address is gender diversity. Many leaders in the offshoring centers are male, and there is a pressing need to create a seat at the table for women, particularly in the area where the company adds value.

Most organizations evolved from a cost-driven perspective to embrace value and capabilities,  highlighting the importance of people excellence and talent. They had a bold vision that aligned with their strategy, recognizing the importance of talent in value generation. To be successful, organizations need to ensure that they have functional and strategic capabilities as part of their operating model.

As the industry continues to grow, the focus needs to shift to what’s next and how to best leverage the industry’s potential. For many companies, this started with shared services, followed by research and development. Each company’s journey is different, and as a result, it is critical to have a strategic environment that works closely with the government, increases the number of professionals, and leverages automation and digital tools.

The panelists advocated openness for different tools and systems, combining what we see to drive business sponsorship. While the ecosystem of the city can contribute to awareness, it’s the people that create the city. An inclusive environment, where best practices and exchange are commonplace, leads to urban intimacy, a key characteristic of the city of Kraków.

The conversation on diversity and inclusion has changed over the years, from just focusing on gender to take a more nuanced approach. There were calls to segment audiences to understand what people need and how best to create an environment that appeals to them. Despite the progress made, there are still gaps in pay, senior leadership, and gender retention that need to be addressed.

In conclusion, diversity and inclusion are critical components of the GBS and technology sector in Krakow. As organizations look to drive value, they need to embrace diversity to create a culture that fosters innovation and excellence. By creating an inclusive environment, organizations can attract and retain top talent, drive collaboration and creativity, and ultimately succeed in an ever-changing business landscape.

Well done to the panelists, the ASPIRE team, and the sponsors for the platform, and a great conversation!

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