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Leading with people at heart

Zenseact is on a mission to develop world-leading safety software for autonomous driving, and we take pride in offering an open-minded and socially conscious workplace. But why is diversity, inclusion, and belonging so important for us?

Building self-driving car technology is complicated, mainly because the real world is full of surprises. To develop software for autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance – automation that can help drivers in any situation – we need sophisticated AI systems that can identify, understand, and react appropriately to different road conditions, weather, poor visibility, weird-looking objects, jaywalkers, etc.

A high degree of safety is crucial, so our technology must be almost perfect. To make automation safe, effective, and as good as possible for the planet (machine learning is a highly data-intensive activity), we must be creative about designing, developing, deploying, and updating our software. In addition, there are laws, rules, and regulations to comply with, as well as ethical and social concerns, especially as we’re using more and more AI.

So, yes, it’s complicated.

To succeed in this high-stakes realm of applied automotive AI, we must recruit and retain the most talented individuals in the field. And we’re doing everything we can to make them feel welcome. But for our company to be creative and innovative, we also need them to feel they belong. In today’s landscape, tech-savvy individuals – particularly younger talent – seek workplaces prioritizing meaningful impact over mere profit. Therefore, we work hard to align our company’s values with the most essential causes for our employees, such as social and environmental responsibility.

Now, our solution to navigating the AD rabbit hole is not just to exhaust the world’s supply of exceptional engineers. Instead, we’re looking for the right mix of people to create a culture where we can draw on various perspectives and experiences broad enough to tackle the complex problem of autonomous driving.

Distinctive elements like ethnicity, gender, culture, background, and life experience can be powerful catalysts for innovation. And in the creative context at Zenseact, diversity introduces a range of perspectives, ideas, and approaches to problem-solving. Consequently, a diverse team is likelier to develop unique, creative solutions – simply because they can draw from more different experiences and viewpoints.

“We’re trying to create a productive cycle here: diversity brings many ideas and perspectives. Inclusion makes sure these ideas are heard and valued. Finally, a strong sense of belonging encourages participation. When these elements align, we can get the most out of our teams, encouraging creative problem-solving and driving innovation,” says Cristofer Eckermalm, Head of Talent Acquisition at Zenseact

However, a rich array of viewpoints means nothing if the people working here don’t feel valued, heard, and empowered to contribute.

This is important for innovation because our colleagues are much more likely to share their thoughts, ideas, and insights when they feel included. An inclusive environment stimulates open communication, collaboration, and risk-taking – all critical elements of innovation.

When our team members feel like they belong – when they feel accepted and comfortable in our community – they are more likely to invest in their work, collaborate with others, and put forward their best ideas,” Cristofer adds. “A sense of safety and trust creates a positive and supportive environment.” In other words, it’s fertile soil for innovation.

Zenseact offers several initiatives to proactively create this culture of creativity. In addition to offering extra parental-pay during the first six months of your parental leave, paid holidays and sick time, and wellness reimbursement, we offer flexible working hours, remote work, and work-from-home options. We also organize company wellness days and regular “cultural fikas,” where we celebrate and learn about different cultural phenomena (from Eid Mubarak to ultra-running) worldwide. We arrange language cafés, where our international roster of employees can meet, discuss, and pick up new language skills from each other. Additionally, we offer professional Swedish training.

Regarding our commitment to equality and diversity, we host the Gothenburg chapter of Girls in Tech Nordics and sponsor the Gothenburg Pride Festival, West Pride. Our onboarding process focuses on imbuing recruits with our cultural values. Moreover, in-house mentorship programs, knowledge boosts, job rotation, study circles, agile foundation training, and other relevant internal courses are offered continuously. Even our leadership programs center around our key values trust, collaboration, and innovation.

Put differently, Zenseact is the place for continuous learning and growth.

Furthermore, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint with 100% green energy data centers. We use seawater to cool our office data center, and we recently installed solar panels. Our bike-friendly environment and focus on hybrid / EV company cars make us CO2 emission leaders at Lindholmen – and we’re named as best-in-class employee commuting support.

Zenseact is an excellent place to be. We have ample reason to brag about our People-at-heart culture. (And the numbers don’t lie: Employee turnover is at an all-time low.) Our genuine efforts to work with diversity, inclusion, and belonging seem to be paying off; to succeed in any complex endeavor, we must grasp as many perspectives and angles as possible and harness as much versatile thinking as possible. Working hard to foster a culture of awareness, empathy, tolerance, and respect is our best chance of achieving that.

Even though we’ve seen a lot of progress in LGBTQ+ rights worldwide – like legalizing same-sex marriage, creating laws against discrimination, and seeing more LGBTQ+ people in the media – there’s still a long way to go. People in the LGBTQ+ community still face unfair treatment, danger, and lack of legal support in many places. But there’s hope. More and more politicians and companies are getting involved in LGBTQ+ issues. Businesses are speaking up for LGBTQ+ rights starting programs to make everyone feel included.

At Zenseact, we’re trying to lead the way.

22 September 2023
Credits: Christian Sjögreen (Not a robot)


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