An inclusive workplace

The work on diversity does not end just because one business has hired more people with different backgrounds. It is also required that all employees, regardless of background, be included in the business, feel involved and work on the same terms. Among other things, be sure to have a clear and transparent salary structure where no one is discriminated against, regardless of gender or ethnic background. All employees should also have equal opportunities for a development plan based on their role. This way you can increase the opportunities for sustainable and long-term employment.

Table of contents:

A) Terms of employment

B) Development plan

C) Mentoring

D) Learning and competence

E) Active measures for inclusion

I feel that as a foreign woman I have to perform so much better than Swedes. My parents told me this. And I’ve always thought that way.

/ Political scientist Africa

Although many workplaces have realized that they need a plan to combat discrimination and harassment within the organization, there are often no active measures to include everyone in the workplace, both in work and social activities, the focus group participants described.

The work on diversity does not end just because one business has hired more people with different backgrounds. Creating sustainable and long-term employment requires that all employees, regardless of background, be included in the business, feel involved and work on the same terms. It is important that employees feel that their competence comes to their own right and is utilized. That they then receive the same dividend for their work and are not discriminated by, for example, lower wages and other benefits.

It is also important that there are equal and transparent development opportunities, regardless of background. Development requires continuous learning and skills development, equally accessible to all employees. For further development, there is no need for glass ceiling for anyone within the organization. If the management team consists of people with different backgrounds and is not homogeneous, this indicates to other employees that there is opportunity for development.

Fundamental is that the business stands on a stable value base that is understood by all employees. That there is a good working environment with clear and transparent structures for dealing with differences and possible conflicts. That the business has a clear plan on how to counter all discrimination grounds.

An important part is to clearly define what is meant by inclusion and diversity so that all employees have the same starting point and that it is not arbitrary. An important part of inclusion work in the workplace may be to work for increased norm awareness, preferably through educational initiatives. The activities that have come the longest are working on different programs to raise awareness of prejudice and the privileges of different groups. This is to highlight how it affects both individuals and groups.

That being said, it is important not to create a us- and them-feeling among the employees who are segregating rather than integrating.

One day, my boss asked me if I wanted to go to a conference. I went there and she said; I will take a lot of pictures of you because you have a veil and they will use the pictures.

/ Economist Middle East

A) Do: Terms of employment

• Have clear and transparent terms of employment. Have a clear and transparent salary structure where no one is discriminated against regardless of gender or ethnic background. Clarify what is required in terms of performance to get a salary increase.

• Depending on the nature of the work and the duties of the role, different kinds of clarity and structure is required in the distribution of tasks. But it is important to clarify who does what, when and with whom.

• Invite employees to exchange red days for holidays other than those according to the Swedish calendar.

Why: Statistics show that certain groups in the labor market are clearly discriminated against in wage setting, for example people with a background in some African country. (21)

Both recruiters and foreign-born academics that Kantar Sifo have spoken to highlight the opportunity to choose red days to take time off as opportunities for increased inclusion.

Companies can also have a system to facilitate, for example, when you have a religion where you have to be free on a certain day of the year when no one else is there, to have a system for that which enables the […] flexibility around time gives diversity.

/ Recruiter in focus group

B) Do: Development plan

How: All employees should have equal access and opportunities to have a development plan based on their role. If there is a need for additional knowledge in Swedish, it can be added or if it is about other knowledge.

As with goals and expectations, it should be clear and transparent what it takes to come up with new positions and roles.

Why: As with wages and conditions, there is a risk of discrimination within the business where some people are rewarded for unclear reasons. If the processes are transparent, discrimination and the suspicions of discrimination can be reduced.

C) Do: Mentoring


• Create mentoring programs where all employees at different levels are given the opportunity to participate. It may be about the exchange of knowledge between departments or different parts of a business. It can also be about mentoring programs with managers or people with different responsibilities as part of the development plan.

• For inspiration, you can see examples of other workplaces that have established mentoring programs.

• Be careful not to create us- and them-groups, but make sure that mentoring works through mutual understanding.

See diversity as enriching for the company and as an opportunity. Mutuality! Integration is about learning from each other.

/ Foreign born academic in Workshop

Why: For increased knowledge exchange and to involve the employees in the organization for inclusion. Foreign-born academics in Kantar Sifo’s focus groups testify to exclusion in the workplaces where one does not feel included either at work, in the social around work or both.

An inclusive workplace. In the workplace everyone eats lunch with their friends and usually I eat myself… managers should plan group lunches.

/ Foreign born academic in Workshop

D) Do: Learning and competence


• Provide job seekers with opportunities for further education, continuous learning and skills development in connection with the work. Clearly link the learning to the development plan.

• Collaborate with those who offer courses in Swedish or other specific courses, such as IT courses.

• Make sure not to discriminate or give special treatment so that only some may attend education and not others, again, the decisions need to be transparent and motivated.

We have Swedish courses that we can provide when we have found a person so that they also become attractive in the labor market and get into the Swedish language.

/ Recruiter in focus group

Why: Give the job-seeker the opportunity to cover the gaps that may exist to reach their highest potential. Kantar Sifo’s focus group study with foreign-born academics shows that there is a desire to develop, in parallel with work, both language skills and professional skills.

We have enrolled in the collective agreement that we will prepare a place for Swedish education.

/ Recruiter in focus group

E) Do: Active measures for inclusion


• Ensure that the inclusion action plan permeates the day-to-day operations.

• Use the action plans that exist within the organization and implement them in daily operations.

Inclusion should advocate: -other languages, -different backgrounds, -cosmopolitan work place

/ Foreign born academic in Workshop

Why: For all employees to feel included and able to work and deliver to the best of their ability. Research shows that employers’ active and conscious work for diversity and inclusion plays a role. (4)

How do they define inclusion? How do they define diversity? … They don’t even know what ‘inclusion’ means and it’s arbitrary.

/ Foreign born academic in Workshop

Read more about the development of the method and the sources >

With support from

In collaboration with