“Can diversity flourish in shared services environments in Poland?”


Elaine Barnes, Head of Krakow Commercial Centre, element14


Anne Marie Neatham, General Manager Ocado Technology Centre
Iwona Sarachman, Director of Corporate Affairs, Tesco Polska (tbc)
Olga Grygier-Siddons, Chairman of PwC in Poland
Mike Dietz, General Manager, Sabre Holdings Poland


As Poland continues to attract multi-national organisations we need to tackle the question of diversity as an important topic for long term sustainability of business goals and development. The panel and audience will explore whether the work force are labour or talent, whether Polish labour law promotes equal opportunities and how companies can work and compete with such labour laws against the rest of Europe and the globe. We will also explore whether we need to have quotas on women in senior positions and how this will work against the strict labour laws.

What are the opportunities of a true diversity goal in our organisations

Kraków has one of the most exciting target rich environments for skilled workers in Europe; it’s indigenous young population are well educated (13 universities), have great language skills and are eager to develop and learn. Kraków also attracts many Europeans to live and work here based on the culture and vibrancy of the city. For companies who wish to consolidate centres or indeed start new companies it is an attractive city and on the face of it would be an ideal location to practice diversity. We know that diverse teams make better teams at all levels of organisations but how do we develop and keep such teams in today’s environment.

What are the challenges of true diversity in our organisations?

The challenge lies with both the attitude of the same talent as well as the restrictive nature of labour laws in Poland:

  • The expectation of young people who see that there are so many opportunities is that they can quickly rise the career ladder, not taking the time to develop their skills, not necessarily seeing roles in shared services as permanent career opportunities.
  • Technology companies struggling to hit women targets.
  • Many large companies having high percentages of women in business but not in senior positions.
  • Laws on maternity, women and technology whilst pregnant.

In addition, the challenge of performance management of all people within the labour law make it a challenging environment.
We also know that trust of leaders in Polish culture is low and today 26% of the British Population don’t trust people but trust technology.
This workshop will explore how we can foster an open working collaborative culture that promotes diversity and what corrective actions we can take to accelerate this.