Let everyone matter at the workplace

Companies with diversity and inclusion in focus create innovative results 

Companies that embrace change to deliver business value are likely to be those that also support diversity and inclusion initiatives. Research shows that companies with more diverse teams surpass those with a more homogeneous workforce. A research report from McKinsey (Women in the Workplace 2020) shows that greater diversity in the workplace results in greater profitability and value creation.

The Swedish Workplace Programme (SWP) facilitates companies in creating dialogues at the workplace as a basis for enabling change. The team members in SWP have experience and ambition to support companies to become more diverse and promote gender equality as a driving force to increase inclusion at the workplace. Read the SWP team member’s views and ambitions:

“A diverse workplace gives access to a greater range of competence, not just the one that belongs to a particular gender, view or ethnicity. Inclusivity and diversity at a company help provide insight into the needs of the entire client and customer base, rather than just a small part of it.”

Kaveh Hagi, SWP Programme Director Latin America

“Working life is unfortunately still heavily segregated and unequal. Women still work more often than men in low value traditional female occupations. Women who work in traditional male-dominated occupations have, to a greater extent than men low-value tasks, they are to a greater extent affected by occupational diseases and they are given fewer opportunities for skills development.

Companies with values based on diversity and equal value of human beings, that offer opportunities for skills development, where different experiences, knowledge and skills are utilized, create good conditions for successful companies that can offer an attractive environment and good and developing jobs.”

Mats Svensson, International Secretary, IF Metall

“In an ideal world being a cisgender male wouldn’t hold inherent privilege. Yet practically every aspect of moving as a woman in the world holds additional complication and risk, whether it’s considerations of safety, accessible transport, ablution facilities, to perceptions and stereotypes that further limit opportunities. At SWP, gender mainstreaming is a priority we aim to instil in all our initiatives. I am proud to work for an organisation that embodies the values of feminism and gender parity, and actively seeks to advance it in the work we do.”

Sena Ramlochan, SWP Regional Programme Coordinator, South Africa

“I am a firm believer we are ambassadors for change. In Colombia we are seeing progress, but we still have a long way to go. We have the power to choose to challenge biases, behaviours’, preconceptions, paradigms, and structural challenges around how people are or should act, feel, speak, or decide based on gender or other identities. At SWP we are committed to promote this dialogue in our organisation and with our partners. Let us rise to the challenge and empower ourselves and others to construct an equal and inclusive society, where we can all thrive how we choose to.”

Maria Castilla, SWP Region Programme Coordinator, Colombia

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lack of enabling environment for social dialogue at the workplace level, despite the provision of legislative acts that protect and promote workplace cooperation is a reoccuring issue  in Kenya. To implement good policy there must be a fertil ground.

Therefore SWP developed the UP!  project. Together with Swedish companies as an entry point, and with unions i South africa and Kenya. 

In Kenya SWP created the SWP UP! Programme targeting skills development of the union Shop Stewards from 18 companies in the Automotive sector in Kenya during 2021. As a result, the Stewards were able to use their skills to build trust and cooperation with management in new ways to avoid conflicts. 

A second cohort of training, in close cooperation with union AUKMW, takes place in 2022.

The training allows shop stewards to step out of their daily routines and understand their role and the purpose of their union, understand the labour market context, the laws that regulate relationships and the business itself. But on a human level, many shop stewards also highlighted that they feel respected as human beings, and that they have developed the skills to engage with supervisors and management and experience respect in professional relations. The experiences had deeply impressed them and helped to project the vision of dialogue and mutual respect and their own potential as a means to change workplaces.

The intervention of the SWP programme had a direct effect at the workplaces, where shop stewards listed several cases where they had managed to intervene and secure results in dialogue with management, avert crises or find solutions based on opportunities and the communication skills obtained during the SWP training. For the Amalgamated Metal Workers Unions in Kenya, the shop stewards pointed to how the training had enabled them to design their own strategies at the workplace in relation to supervisors and staff, and to achieve many concrete results.

Based on this shop steward upskilling, I feel confident that as a union we now have change ambassadors that will grow the industry, protect, and promote decent work principles for both the employer and the employees represented. And that disputes will be dealt with at the workplace level by though consultative dialogue.

Rose Omamo

General Secretary
Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers