Systembolaget wants to reflect society – but we have a way to go

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Systembolaget exists for the whole of Sweden – irrespective of where you come from or what your abilities are. It is vital that our workforce reflects society’s composition to ensure that we can interact correctly with all of our stakeholders. And we won’t quit until we’re there!

At Systembolaget, we want our employees to reflect society’s composition in such areas as age, ethnicity, gender and functional ability. This is one way in which we can make Systembolaget even better. When we reflect society, we can interact with our customers in a more professional way and develop our operations.

“Diversity is a powerful skills tool that makes Systembolaget more creative. In simple terms, it makes it easier to approach challenges from a variety of perspectives and to identify solutions to topical issues,” says Arnold Bergman, who works with HR issues at Systembolaget.

Diversity is an important issue, both in the stores and at the head office, and with regard to both major issues and minor ones.

”Our store personnel must be able to refer to different contexts in connection with food and drink, not least in conjunction with different cultural festivals. It’s about customer service, about everyone feeling welcome at Systembolaget,” continues Arnold Bergman.

But inclusiveness isn’t just about customer satisfaction. Research into workplace diversity shows that an inclusive approach offers a number of other benefits too. For employees, for example, it means a more exciting workplace, not least because there is a great deal to be learned by talking to colleagues from a different background or whose lifestyle differs from one’s own.

“If differences are handled well, work will feel more enjoyable, your job will be more exciting, and working as part of a diverse team will enhance your personal development.”

Inclusiveness is an absolutely core issue for us at Systembolaget, but we have not reached our goals as yet. 23 per cent of Sweden’s population has a foreign background, for example, while that is true for only just under 10 per cent of Systembolaget’s workforce.

“The challenges involve not only creating good preconditions for everyone who wants to work here, but also being an attractive alternative as an employer. And we have invested substantial resources in identifying different stakeholders and target groups, and in learning more about them in recent years. This ensures we can meet these challenges effectively.”

And it is knowledge that is at the heart of the ability to build an inclusive organisation. Which is why inclusiveness work entails – and must entail – taking a long-term approach, according to Arnold Bergman.

“Our goal is to be able to offer everyone in Sweden a customer interaction that is impressive from their particular perspective. We are aware that we have not, as yet, reached the finishing line with this work, but we are working very hard to do so.”