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How We Work to Foster Gender Equality At Accedo

Pernilla Wranéus

VP Global Head of People and Culture

January 20, 2024


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In early 2022, Accedo joined the UN Global Compact Accelerator Program, Target Gender Equality. At the time, we had already put a lot of effort into setting clear goals for improving gender diversity as part of our sustainability strategy and had just released our first sustainability report.

Target Gender Equality is a UN-founded accelerator program which supports companies to set and reach ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation. It also provides frameworks for ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, through facilitated performance analysis, capacity building workshops, peer-to-peer learning and multi-stakeholder dialogue - all at a country-level.

When we joined the program, it also became clear that it was time to update our  DEIB strategy; something that turned out to be a very complex and interesting project, with many aspects to cover. Our gut feeling was that we already had many things in place and that our group management team had a clear focus on improving diversity overall. However, we also acknowledged that we somewhat lacked the structure needed to have a clear direction with regards to the tasks at hand.

As part of establishing a new baseline, we used the extensive survey, WEP analysis, provided by the UN Global Compact Accelerator program. The survey has been used by over 3000 companies and consists of over 200 questions covering  leadership support, employee wellbeing, equality in benefits and much, much more. 

Since Accedo operates  in 15 locations across the globe, we face a lot of complexity with regards to different local laws and statutory benefits and limitations to what we can impact with our global policies and processes. We decided to run the WEP analysis in each geographic location to be able to capture local variations. At the same time, we also analyzed our global operations focusing on recruitment, talent development, pay, employee dialogue, psychological safety and leadership. The findings were then prioritized based on impact, feasibility, cost and timeline.

We could see from the result that we have three main areas where we already excel:

  • Leadership support for women. We have an organization-wide gender equality strategy in place which identifies specific priority areas where further improvement can be made. This strategy also articulates the link between gender equality and other areas of corporate sustainability and business performance.
  • Gender support for women in professional development and recruitment. We have an approach to mentorship globally for women, as well as pipelines for women to develop into senior leadership roles. Our commitment is embedded in a broader corporate policy on non-discrimination and equal opportunity, that specifically addresses gender diversity in recruitment.
  • Company support to close compensation gaps based on gender. We have a clearly communicated goal to close the gender pay gap by the end of FY 25/26. We are also actively reviewing benefits that impact employees as parents and caretakers,  including the possibility to have flexibility with regards to work life balance.

So what areas did the survey suggest we need to work on and improve?

  • Parental leave policies, incentives and career development. The survey indicates that we need to continue to review and update policies and incentives that ensure a company culture that encourages both men and women to take parental responsibility and leave, including flexibility for a good work life balance. It also identified a need to continue to develop possibilities for career development, including opportunities to work abroad for a longer or shorter period of time, and taking on new challenges in leadership roles.
  • Diversity awareness and unconscious bias. We need to keep working to improve our ability to remain unbiased, in our processes, when we are hiring, and in other aspects of our business practices. We also need to continue our work with creating awareness of cultural and other diversity differences to increase inclusion and belonging across the organization. 

The UN Global Compact Accelerator Program gave us very valuable information and training. Through their network, we were also able to share experiences with other similar companies. The WEP analysis provided us with the structure we lacked, and together with an internal  Diversity & Inclusion survey, we now feel that we have a very good baseline. We are now eagerly working on the next steps in this journey.

Do you want to learn more about the UN Global Compact Program and how Accedo leveraged the WEP analysis? Don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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