Embracing a diverse workforce: Tove Möller | Undutchables

Embracing a diverse workforce: Tove Möller

Categorie: Cultural

Diversity according to Tove Möller, Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and CSR at Swedavia AB

This is another interview on the subject of diversity by Undutchables. As a true believer in diversity, Undutchables would like to introduce you to personal points of view concerning this subject and the role it plays in doing international business now and in the future.

What does diversity mean to you? What is diversity in your opinion?

Diversity, for me, is the fact that we are all different from the next person. Even identical twins are different from each other! Many are too eager to try to place people around them into boxes, often without considering that persons obvious right to define themselves. I think of diversity more connected to humans rights, than to anything else. I also think we do need to stop using ourselves as the template on how others should be, think, act and live, as we often tend to do.

(Why) should Swedish companies embrace diversity and how can Swedish companies see the added value on this topic?

My experience is that more and more are working towards creating diversity now. That is really good of course, but we also do need to advance from the “slogans” and all the talking. I am hoping that we all by now are aware of the benefits, such as better innovation and more creativity, increased revenue due to more perspectives before decision making. And we also know that there is a fight for attracting the competence we need, and how well a diverse company is doing when it comes to finding the talents. So the next step would be to create more universally designed work environments. Where there would be no need to adjust surroundings “just because you were hired” – rather that the environment allows you to be yourself and not the odd one out, both when it comes to accessibility in the physical sense and also the social sense. The labor market is facing major challenges today. The welfare sector is in an acute state with rapidly growing need for competence, while in the coming years the sector is responsible for a major generation shift. This is also true for many companies in general. Questions about recruitment and skills supply will therefore be of great importance.

Tove

At the same time, we also see today that different groups find it difficult to enter the labor market - people with disabilities, people with foreign backgrounds, young people without completed schooling.

In order for us to have a long-term sustainable and inclusive working life, we need to be better at taking care of people's differences - and having jobs that reflect the whole of Sweden's population. Working life needs to be designed, planned and organized based on an inclusive basis; a physical and social work environment and a workplace that work and suit everyone - that is, universally designed workplaces.

A perspective shift in the view of our workplaces and a working life designed for everyone, a working life where differences are accommodated and taken into account

You work for a company owned by the Swedish state. It is obvious that Swedish is your company language. However, you do embrace diversity within your organization.

I have the great fortune to work within Swedavia where the management is truly committed to create a diverse company. We have come far but no one is ever going to be able to say that they are done. It is a continuous every day work, but our goals and targets are clear and we work towards them. We have quite a few different approaches to reach our goals, and are always positive to try new avenues for better results. We have worked though all our policies, and adjusted them, we are active in different networks to find the best cooperations. We also have interns, trainees and a diversity group consisting of approx. 40 colleagues that are active every day, in many ways they are the bearers of culture, in their every day work. Other specifics that I am extremely proud of are the facts like we have introduced a unisex choice for our uniformed staff. We have dialog with our customers using our assistance services for travelers with special needs, which means that competence within the field of different disabilities is key. And as another example we are now, since maybe November of last year, when publishing pictures on our social media text-describing the pictures to facilitate for the customers with vision loss. The written text is possible to read through voice synthesis, so we have added the pictures so to speak. There is so much to be proud of, every single day!

During our first meeting, you said you have come further than just talking about ‘diversity’ and you wish to formulate the content of the word differently. Why is this topic so important?

This is an important topic because, as I see it none of us choose the way we look, where we were born or what year, male or female, or how tall we are or whatever else and else on the surface. When it comes to opportunities such as getting a job, what matter is competence, and not in general, the right competence for the vacant job. No one has the right to out of their bias obstruct others.

A friend of mine once said 'Diversity is like receiving an invitation to the party (representation). Inclusion is the opportunity to dance at the party. If you don´t get to dance you will not come back to the party another time.' Possibly true, both when it comes to attract new members of staff, as well as customers?

In order for us to have a long-term sustainable and inclusive working life, we need to be better at taking care of people's differences - and having jobs that reflect the whole of Sweden's population

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