‘Tis the Season…to Create a More Diverse Workspace

Dear you – Kære dig! 

The winter season is upon us. A year has gone by, a year full of exciting projects and great challenges for FIRE&SHIELD. This newsletter will share a look back on some of the things we have been up to, as well as some insight into how to create more diversity at work. Why does this matter for you and your business and how can you implement more of it at your workplace? We know DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) will become an even bigger part of our everyday work-life in the years to come – so let’s talk about it now and unwrap it further!

Not there yet, but better than before
According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2023 Denmark has moved up 9 spots, from 32nd to 23rd place. A modest achievement, but nevertheless one that shows that leaders around the country are willing to incorporate DEI into their business strategies.

‘Tis the season … to create a more diverse workspace
While reporting on environmental impact is nothing new, many organisations now have to report on diversity gaps in leadership positions for the first time due to new EU regulations. All public organisations and larger private corporations are required to report on their number of the less-represented gender in management positions, as well as their plans for narrowing that gap, with the ultimate goal of reaching a 40-60 level.

To attract and retain skilful people, it’s crucial to establish an inviting space where everyone feels acknowledged, visible, and represented. The days of blind, lifelong loyalty and commitment to a single organization are behind us; today’s talent are much more fluid in their career paths. Building an inclusive and diverse workplace is a key strategy to keep them engaged.

Here’s the real gem: Research consistently shows that diverse companies and organizations tend to be more profitable in the long run. Why? Diversity increases the chances of a 360 degree perspective on decisions, and a diverse set of eyes and opinions reaches a more diverse range of customers, just to mention a few.

Be warned: The profit comes with inclusion and belonging. If you do it half-hartedly, you will never reap the benefits. 

How to do this? Inclusion is an important part of creating SHIELD and you can boost this by: 

  • Creating a culture of inclusion by constantly making sure that no one ever feels left out
  • Constantly ensuring all your communication has a lanuage and a spirit of inclusion
  • Diversifying your staff by hiring for cultural add
  • Building transparency by sharing more
  • and of course…constantly balancing FIRE&SHIELD

Rather than viewing this as more paperwork, see it as an opportunity to educate yourself, reassess your organizational values, and stay relevant.

Feeling unsure about where to begin? Let us guide you.

Leadership tip #1: Have the underrepresented gender write your job adds
Unconscious bias is exactly this…unconscious. We are often unaware that we are biased in our choice of language, wording, images and that reflects in the wording of a job description and in turn, who is going to apply for that job.  Unsure how to remove your own bias? Check out this study from Harvard University about gendred wording, or try running your job add through a gender decoder – or simply, reach out.   Quickguide to gendered wording:
We ran several, recently posted job adds for leadership positions in Copenhagen through a gender decoder and this is the list that showed up: Masculine: Leader, challenging, ambitious, leadership, driven, decisions   Feminine: Supporting, collaborating, responsible, understanding, feel, inclusive, together, interpersonal   That doesn’t mean that it is wrong to use gendered wording, the important thing is to be aware of it! Knowing that difference, is what puts you ahead of the curve.

Case: A wider assortment at Nestlé
10 years ago, a top candidate for a position in highest leadership group at Nestlé said no to the high-profile job, because the tone was too ‘macho’. She did not want to change in order to fit in to the existing leadership team. This caught everyone off guard. The result? A major re-evaluation process for the top leadership board. Because if someone that talented said no, whom else had also said no. What had they missed out on, while they were stuck in the same routine? A major learning for Nestle was the importance of investing the time in unwrapping the ‘Why’: Why are we doing this? Why does it matter? How can it benefit us? They succeeded in changing the culture at work, creating equal pay, and securing a higher rate of diversity, not only throughout the company, but also in the top tiers. While all this was going on they also managed to maintain a healthy bottom line and still grow their business.

What made the ‘Why’ and the following changes so powerful was the full transparency throughout the entire company. There are no hidden data, salary, or career plans. Everything is out in the open and accessible to everyone.   Want to know more? Deep dive into the details of this case in Andre Menneskers Penge og Andre Menneskers liv

Leadership tip #2: Collective self-reflection
Whether you are leading or part of your management team, you have an opportunity to put the ‘Why’ that we discuessed in the Nestlé case above on the agenda.Collective Selfreflection as a group can take you in the right direction. So, initiate a point labelled just that.

Ask these open questions (or some that are even better):

  • Clonefactor: How many colleagues do you have that resemble you?
  • Expansive hires: Do you hire for cultural add or cultural fit?
  • Mirror time: How diverse is your management team?
  • Bias talk: What are your own biases, and how can you keep them out of the hiring process?
  • Framing your spaces: Is your workplace diversity inviting? (Gendered bathrooms, gendered office space etc.)
  • Straight talk: How do you approach conversations about diversity and inclusion with your coworkers/employees?
  • Role modelling: Do you have any invisible privileges? Are you at the forefront of this change?

Find it challenging to navigate this space or just have too much on your plate? We would be happy to facilitate such a workshop for you.

2024 outlook
2023 has been a extremly busy year, here a few of the exciting procjets we have been fortunate enough to be involved in.

Johnny is continuing his interim position as CEO at Noa Noa, a Danish fashion brand, since May. He thinks it is a challenge, with a lot of amazing people. It’s also a great opportunity to recalibrate and get “back in the field”, hands-on experience. The challenge is to bring this once great brand back to it’s former glory, and hopefully beyond.

Simultaneously, we’re engaged in a meaningful project with Velliv Fonden on well-being and job satisfaction at a highly specialized industrial company with production in Denmark. This is a great opportunity to dive further into the SHIELD aspect of leadership and of being a great colleague. And a needed reminder that the right kind of FIRE is an important aspect of creating a balanced and positive work environment. The project involves a mix of workshops with management, company-wide sessions, and individual deep dives into specific areas of the organization.

On a different note, for the seventh consecutive year, Elize has given a successful 3 day course for the Gentofte Leader network called Leadership Boost. This network consists of ambitious leaders in our town, aiming to elevate their leadership skills to new heights. Lastly, we’re thrilled to welcome our new colleague, Kamma Krogh, who is contributing to our team with her expertise in content, editing, and everything in between. We’re grateful for the valuable contributions from everyone involved in these endeavours.

As we close the final newsletter of 2023, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude. Thank you sincerely for your ongoing trust in us and your willingness to partner with us on your leadership journey.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Warm regards, Johnny & Elize