Pavlo Voznenko is CTO of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital. In this interview, he shares his take on diversity in the workplace and gives exciting insights into how diversity is embraced and encouraged at P7S1.

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Katrin Dusel

The beauty of diversity

Pavlo Voznenko is CTO of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital. In this interview, he shares his take on diversity in the workplace and gives exciting insights into how diversity is embraced and encouraged at P7S1.

Pavlo, you are CTO of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital. What exactly is ProSiebenSat.1 Digital doing?

ProSiebenSat.1 Digital is responsible for consumer products and provides the digital footprint of ProSiebenSat.1 (e.g. TV channel websites, mobile apps, Smart TV, HbbTV, etc.) addressing a global consumer base. At the same time, ProSiebenSat.1 Digital is a reliable partner for content ingestion, transcoding and video assets enrichment for live streaming channels, supporting internal and external partners.

In your opinion, how do you define diversity and why is it important in the workplace and in tech especially?

Diversity is a very broad term, it encompasses different social and economic backgrounds, inclusion, sexual orientation and a multitude of different aspects and that's what makes it so important. It brings and encourages creativity. At ProSiebenSat.1 we work on products that evolve quickly, our consumer products never stagnate, and we need to improve them every day. We can't lock ourselves into a predictable box where we produce a predictable consumer product – we must be open to new ideas and always think outside the box. To do that, it's very important to have a diverse group of people with many different backgrounds coming together and working as one.

What problems does diversity pose in the workplace?

The challenge is to create an enabling environment in the workplace. The key is inclusion, which can be challenging because you have to constantly define new boundaries. For example, if you look at a German-speaking market, the majority of employees will likely speak German, and therefore you set certain boundaries for hiring.

How do you define diversity in a company?

We need to accept people from all kinds of different backgrounds and social groups in the world. An important question to ask is how you speak to your employees and colleagues; certain jokes should just be generally unacceptable. And it is also a question of culture, by tolerating certain things you are in a way of setting a certain culture – because the culture in a company happens to be what you tolerate. 

How about diversity in the tech industry?

When it comes to diversity in the tech industry, for some reason we usually think of gender diversity in the first place. Of course, this is an important aspect. However, it should be considered much more broadly, because diversity doesn't end at gender. Over the years, more and more diversified teams have emerged, and it's been proven that these types of groups are likely to be more successful and creative in their approaches to solve problems. And that's what we're moving towards, a more diverse group of people who are open-minded and see themselves more as a team rather than as individuals.

As CTO, how do you encourage and promote diversity within the teams?

Diversity comes with culture and what you tolerate. I create the right environment that is inclusive and where everyone feels comfortable working with us. I encourage my teams to accept other people’s differences. If you promote inclusion, diversity automatically grows. An inclusive environment attracts a diverse group of people.

How many nationalities work in Tech at ProSiebenSat.1?

We have colleagues from all over the world. In total and by considering all tech units of ProSiebenSat.1, we are over 30 different nationalities.

What is the most challenging part of diversifying your teams?

If you really want to diversify your team, you should consider adapting your hiring processes. Being open to feedback and constantly revisiting your practices – helps to attract broader talents.

Diversity brings so many advantages to a team, could you name some that you encounter every day?

Having cross-functional teams with diverse backgrounds can speed up an innovation cycle immensely. When people with different backgrounds and skillsets work alongside a project – so many new ideas and solutions arise automatically. That’s the beauty of diversity.