How BoKlok is working to #BreakTheBias
This year’s International Women’s Day puts the spotlight on the need to #BreakTheBias to reach equality between the genders. Aija Harju, BoKlok Senior Vice President Human Resources, gives her view on how BoKlok is working to be a leading player in the field.
Our beliefs and attitudes towards different social groups are what are known as biases. The belief that women are more emotional than men is an example of such a bias. To that end, most biases are subconscious, and it is often those implicit biases, which influence our decisions - whether we want them to or not.
-Breaking biases is hugely important when it comes to understanding and achieving diversity in general, says Aija Harju. Only when we are aware of our biases, can we prevent them from influencing our decisions.
How does BoKlok work with breaking biases connected to gender and equality?
- Each of the business units within BoKlok has its own action plan, which mirrors the company’s overall strategy: to increase awareness about what inclusive behaviour really is, to create psychological safety in the workplace and to understand and work with our biases. A more practical example of the ways that we work with breaking bias, is through anonymous recruitment, which is conducted for some key roles.
In your view, how do organisations benefit from more gender equal teams?
- To me it’s obvious: the more diversity we see in our teams, the better results we will gain. That is my absolute belief. Also, it’s more fun to work in diverse teams! Let’s not forget that inclusion is key to gender equal teams, and diverse teams in general. If we don’t behave inclusively, diversity won’t feel welcome.
Looking at society at large, from a gender perspective it is almost completely equal, with 50% men and 50% women. And the same, of-course, goes for customers and other stakeholders. To understand the target groups better, organisations should aim to mirror them.
What achievements are you most proud of when it comes to the work with diversity and inclusion in BoKlok?
- The first thing that comes to mind is that two out of four BoKlok country managers are women, Kati Valtonen in BoKlok Finland and Tove Borchgrevink in BoKlok Norway. For me, this is proof that we mean business when we say that we want more women in senior roles within our business.
- I’m also proud to say that in Sweden, in our factory in Gullringen 24% of our skilled workers are female – to be compared to the 2% of women working in the Swedish construction industry overall as skilled operatives*. It means a lot to me personally to be able to say, that in this area we are one of the leaders in the industry!
Much is still to be done to reach equality between the genders and to be able to say that BoKlok has the perfect inclusive and diverse culture. For example, BoKlok is working against macho tendencies which is a well-known problem in the construction industry. BoKlok also wants to encourage more men to take the opportunity to use parental leave, as a means to close the gaps in society and in workplaces.
*Statistics from Swedish industry and employer organisation Byggföretagen.