Diversity makes us stronger

Last week, 200 managers worked on concrete ways of making DFDS even more diverse and inclusive, at this year’s Management Conference. Our differences make us stronger and in Covid-19 times, it is more important than ever to have and foster an inclusive work-environment, for us all to strive, grow and not feel isolated.

A group of people

“Striving for a diverse workforce and being an inclusive employer is just the right thing to do,” says CPO Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel. “We know that we are stronger as a company if our staff differs in gender as well as race, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, age, level of education and socioeconomic status. Diverse teams make better decisions and we want DFDS to be a place where people thrive and are cared for.”

At this year’s management conference, 200 managers worked on concrete ways of getting a more diverse workforce and how to enable strong remote leadership, in a time where social interactions are limited due to Covid-19.

30% females in 2023

“We are working hard to change the perception of the industry as a male-dominated one and make it more attractive to women. All over DFDS, managers are now looking into how they can attract more women to come work for us. We aim to have 30% female employees in 2023. We’ve already reached that target when it comes to the Board and in certain other locations like the regional office of BU Med. But there’s still a way to go in other areas,” Anne-Christine says. “And even if the gap seems big, we know that we have untapped potential in ensuring that every manager, in any process where they hire, promote or allocate people to assignments, run open and transparent processes to ensure the best person for the job. This has not always been the procedure historically but needs to be going forward”.

Remote leadership skills need strengthening

In Covid-19 times, the global feeling of self-isolation is on the rise, as are fears of the virus, being made redundant and the stress that may come with working from home. “We have done well in transitioning into virtual ways of working during the first phase of the pandemic. But looking into a continued remote working environment, we need to professionalise our remote leadership skills, to ensure longer term organisational belonging and engagement,” says CSR Director Sofie Hebeltoft. “We all, and managers in particular, need to structure how we deal with each other, share clear goals, do the necessary individual follow-up and be conscious of how we can help nurture a sense of belonging.”

The entire EMT and all VPs have pledged to find ways of driving the diversity and inclusion agenda in DFDS. They’re looking for opportunities to push the gender balance, in promotions, re-hires and projects. They’re also strengthening their remote leadership skills to ensure that everyone can be heard and feel that they are a valued member of the DFDS team.

“We need to think diversity into everything we do,” Sofie says. It is not just an exercise that sounds good on paper. This is about the future of the company and making sure that we get, keep and nurture the best candidates for the job, regardless of backgrounds and other factors.”

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