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How to create a more inclusive workplace culture

In June, we put extra energy and focus on celebrating our differences and being proud of inclusion and diversity - and so do we in Mer. But how do we address this and make sure that we "walk the talk"?

Diversity and inclusion
Photo: Hannah Busing/Unsplash

Mer is committed to have a workplace culture that encourages equality, diversity, and inclusion and to eliminate unlawful discrimination.

“We all have a responsibility to promote an open culture in which everyone feels included, respected, and accepted. We aim to be truly representative of society and our customers, and for each employee to feel respected and able to give their best. Our success depends on bringing diverse perspectives and all the different voices to the table,”

says Kristoffer Thoner, CEO in Mer.

So far, these are some of the actions we have in place:

  • Committed to the Mer diversity and inclusion policy.
  • Made learning tools and resources available to foster an inclusive work culture.
  • Encourage to keep learning and recognizing biases, and to be aware of and avoid structural inequality.
  • Have created talking points to keep reflecting on our work culture and get ideas on how to increase a diversity in voices and perspectives.
  • Included diversity and inclusion in our managers employee follow-ups and internal surveys, such as Winningtemp, to keep track and evaluate how we are performing.
  • Ask that incidents or concerns regarding bullying, harassment, victimization and discrimination can and should be raised. Established several channels for reporting, including an external and anonymous whistle-blowing channel, to ensure everyone can feel safe about reporting such incidents or concerns.

However, there will always be work to be done to improve workplace culture.
We acknowledge that our work on diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process of exploring new perspectives and to keep evolving.

Team Mer
The Mer team. Photo: Glenn Pettersen/Mer


Five actions you can take to create a more inclusive workplace culture 

The HR team in Mer has put together some ideas and initiatives on how to drive inclusive behavior. Eli Tangen, Head of Group HR in Mer, shares advice on how everyone actively can participate in promoting diversity and inclusion:

1. Invite everyone to join in on the conversation

Research shows that 30 percent of people will dominate 80 percent of the conversation unless you facilitate that discussion. Make sure there is room for everybody to participate in the conversation. 

2. Ensure there is a mix

Look at your calendar and evaluate the attendee list for your meetings, townhalls, projects, etc. Is it just the usual suspects invited? Reflect on who is in the room, at the table or on the call and then ask yourself: who is not there? 

3. Use inclusive language 

Express yourself in a language that everyone understands. Speak English in meetings or at the lunch table. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes if it isn’t your native language, and don´t hesitate to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. 

4. Ask people what would make them feel included 

One way to do this is through an employee engagement survey, but you should also do this one-on-one. For example, if you notice someone is very quiet in a meeting, talk to them afterwards to get their input. Ask them if there’s anything you can do differently during the meetings, and make sure they know that you value their ideas and opinions. 

5. Recognise your biases

In the workplace, unregulated bias can lead to more homogeneous group compositions and favourable outcomes for the dominant social group. While the individual outcomes may be justified, the sum of these outcomes can lead to structural inequality. Our visible and invisible dimensions of identity can generate situations of privilege and disadvantage. Ask yourself:

  • How does your attitudes and life experiences affect how you meet and interact with colleagues, costumers, and others at work?
  • What assumptions may you have made about other people based on their identities?

“We want to challenge ourselves to incorporate these behaviors into our daily work life. These can also serve as good conversation starters, to discuss what you can do to contribute to greater inclusion,”
Tangen says.

Eli Tangen, Head of Group HR in Mer, Eli Tangen
Eli Tangen, Head of Group HR in Mer. Photo: Mer