Overall business strategy
Many workplaces have a plan to combat discrimination and harassment within the organization. But there are often no active measures to include everyone in the workplace, in work as well as social activities. Start by reviewing your overall strategy and how you can activate your values in daily work at all levels. Also make continuous follow-ups, to see how the values, policy and action plan are adhered to.
Table of contents:
A) Value-based work focusing on diversity and inclusion
B) Activation of the values in daily work at all levels
C) Measurable objectives and continuous follow-ups
D) Procedures for ensuring a good and open working environment
Companies with a strategic plan are good to work at, because it is clear what they want and what they want you to do. […] When I go to a website, I check the board and who is there. If there are men and women with non-Swedish backgrounds, if they have this then they are honest, otherwise if they only have pictures of Swedes they are not honest.
/ Political Scientist Middle East
How business management works on issues of ethnic and cultural diversity is described as fundamental to how well the business succeeds in creating diversity and inclusion in the organization. This has been an ever-recurring description in the conversations that Kantar Sifo has had with key persons who are currently working on recruitment and inclusion.
It is emphasized that there must be a basic value work first, if it does not already exist, where the basic values of the business are clarified. Policy documents and action plans are important and must be in place, clear and accessible to all employees. If they have been there before, they can be critically examined by any outsider. The values must be implemented and activated to permeate the entire business.
Activation work can be accomplished in many ways, but it also requires that there is expertise and awareness in the organization. One example of knowledge that one often lacks in order to work effectively with this is the awareness of one’s own prejudices and privileges. This is to see the depth of discrimination and to understand the meaning of diversity and inclusion.
Based on the values, it is also proposed to set measurable goals. These goals then need to be followed up regularly.
Here, measurable data from the business can be a valuable asset for monitoring work and evaluating goal fulfillment. Examples of organizations that have succeeded in its work of change have followed their strategy used in their gender equality work, between women and men. Measuring the number of women in the management team and salary surveying with a gender perspective has been rewarding.
The business needs to continuously work actively for a good working environment in order for employees to thrive and stay. As many people in the target group of foreign-born academics testify, they feel that they do not work under the same conditions but experience a stress, as they feel that they have to perform better due to stigmatization and stereotypical conceptions.
A) Do: Value-based work focusing on diversity and inclusion
• Start in the management team by determining what the business should stand for. Reflect on the values that should form the basis of the entire business. How should the values be perceived? What diversity is there today, who feels included and who does not?
• Have you already carried out a project focusing on gender equality? Is it possible to apply and work on this, in order for it to also focus on ethnic and cultural diversity and inclusion?
• As good examples, use other companies and organizations whose management has worked actively for increased diversity and inclusion. Take advantage of the expertise and knowledge available to set up a strategy and ensure that it is implemented in your organization.
Why: How the management acts permeate the entire business. The basic infrastructure must be in place for inclusion to increase. Studies show that the success of an organization in its change work depends on the management’s ability to lead. (6) Research shows that employers’ active and conscious work for diversity and inclusion is important. (4)
B) Do: Activation of the values in daily work at all levels
• Turn words into action and activate the core values. Create basic conditions for an inclusive workplace.
• Define policies and action plans, if they don’t already exist. Check that these are in accordance with the laws and regulations that apply to the business. If you already have existing policies and action plans, these can be reviewed by an external party to broaden the perspectives.
• Ensure that all employees at all levels of the business are informed of and know the values, policies and action plans.
• Review your communication and incentives, what behaviors are rewarded in the organization? Work on individual goals for individual employees. Review your communication channels, how are you presented in text and images? Who gets to stand in the front and who doesn’t?
Why: Surveys show that employees are often unaware if the business has a policy and action plan for diversity or not. (5) Key persons that Kantar Sifo talked to highlight the importance of implementing the value foundation in all parts of the business. The top management must believe in the work in order for it to permeate the entire business. It is also crucial that managers and employees understand and believe in the core values, policies and action plans to act inclusively in everyday life. Several key persons emphasize that it is often a work of behavioral change that is needed throughout the business. They believe that, in order for change to occur, employees must both understand and believe in the work.
C) Do: Measurable objectives and continuous follow-ups
- Begin by examining what the business looks like today, a zero measurement. Collect available data about the business and consider if you may need to collect more information. For example, diversity can be measured through employee surveys with a question of origin, which is voluntary for employees to answer. Is it possible to apply the same dimensions that were used for gender equality work, in the work for cultural inclusion in your organization?
- Set clear goals according to the values and the action plan for how the business should develop.
- Conduct continuous follow-up to see how the values, policy and action plan are complied with. Ensure that there are well-designed behavioral questions and capture the employees’ experiences of the business. Use measurement tools and connect relevant data from the business. When you have a lot of data about your employees, you can use it to see what skills are missing. This allows you to direct your search efforts more clearly when you are looking for new employees.
Why: To see how the values, policy and action plan are complied with, how the business is being developed and whether the goals are being achieved or what more is needed to achieve the goals. Key persons talk about how, through data and follow-up, they have a clearer picture of how the business and the employees are profiled, what skills and background there are, and what is lacking. Companies working with the entire population describe how they want the inside to mirror the outside. A benchmark to relate to may then be that 19 percent of the population are foreign-born. Research shows that if change is to take place properly, clear goals and follow-up (6) are required.
Organisations should be imposed a quota of non-native employees.
/ Foreign born academic in Workshop
D) Do: Procedures for ensuring a good and open working environment
• First and foremost, make sure that the business complies with laws and regulations regarding work environment.
• According to surveys, recruiters often call for more training in current legislation, and to ensure that all recruiting managers know about and understand the Discrimination Act. Checklists and internal documentation are necessary for routines and can make it easier for everyone to act within the same framework. These can preferably be supplemented by short webinars, instructional films and conversations with managers in groups, so that there are good opportunities for leaders to update themselves on what matters.
• Ensure that there are safe channels and routines for employees to report dissatisfaction.
• Conduct continuous and strategic employee surveys with clear follow-up and active measures.
Why: To create basic conditions for an inclusive workplace.
Employer branding – create a brand of a business where people want to work, apply for and want to stay. The Swedish Work Environment Authority writes that; “People should not have to get sick because of unhealthy workload or abusive discrimination at work.” (7)
The Swedish Discrimination Act: The work on active measures
2 § The
work on active measures involves conducting preventative and promotional work
1. examine whether there are risks of discrimination or reprisal or if there are other obstacles to the equal rights and opportunities of individuals in the business;
2. analyze the causes of detected risks and obstacles;
3. take the preventive and promotion measures that may reasonably be required; and
4. follow up and evaluate the work according to 1-3. (2016: 828).
3 § The work on active measures shall be carried out continuously.
Measures should be scheduled and implemented as soon as possible. (2016: 828).