Sandra Lindberg on Nurturing Diversity: Building Success
Sandra Lindberg, chief people officer at online slot developer Quickspin, took to the iGaming NEXT: Valletta ’21 stage to share her thoughts on a topic she is highly passionate about, in a session titled ‘Nurturing Diversity: Building Success”.
The presentation aimed to explain the importance of building a diverse and inclusive workforce, explore ways of implementing this practically within a business, and show the benefits that this can bring.
Lindberg opened the session with a statistic: that among Sweden’s publicly listed companies, there are more CEOs named Johan than there are female CEOs altogether – despite Sweden being one of the top three ranked countries for gender equality worldwide.
She then shared the findings of research demonstrating the benefits of having a diverse workforce – such as that 75% of organisations that do, expect to exceed their financial targets in 2022.
Rates of innovation among diverse companies was shown to be 20% higher, while such businesses are also 30% better at identifying and reducing risks, according to the research.
Why do we need to work with diversity?
Lindberg argued that working towards diversity is the moral thing to do, but also said that by having different skillsets, personalities and experiences, businesses can increase their abilities to solve problems and make decisions – in addition to better understanding their customers.
Research also shows that revenues increase as a result of having a diverse workforce, and that diversity allows businesses to better attract talent, Lindberg said.
She explained that recruiting talent, particularly from younger generations, is becoming more challenging for businesses, as young people become increasingly selective when selecting which companies they want to work for.
Working with corporate social responsibility is no longer something businesses can ignore, she said – in order to attract the best talent, they need to show progress and how they are contributing to society.
Lindberg also argued that leaders should strive to create an environment which will not only attract talent but retain it. Whereas diversity depends on a large quantity of different people joining an organisation, inclusion is what will encourage them to remain with the business.
In order to further illustrate the difference between diversity and inclusion, which she suggested are often conflated, Lindberg used the quote: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
How to implement D&I in your business
To make this a reality within a business, Lindberg suggested a 3-step process.
First, using audits: a business must first understand where it sits and its employees’ feelings about the company, before it can begin to improve its efforts towards diversity and inclusion.
Second, businesses must have goals with regards to D&I – “the importance of listening cannot be overstated, but without taking actions on the things that you hear, it’s not helpful,” Lindberg said.
So, once a business understands what changes employees would like to see, it has to implement targets on how to get there.
Third, a business must create dialogue. It’s crucial for an organisation to have channels for employees to put their views forward – whether via an anonymous suggestion box, or listening sessions, for example, as many business leaders are not in touch with what their employees think and feel.
What are the results and next steps?
Lindberg then demonstrated some of the results that such strategies can have within a business. At Quickspin, for example, there is no gender pay gap, she said.
Lindberg said the problem of unequal pay between men and women within organisations is “the easiest thing to fix, because you just need to look at your data, and open your wallet.”
The business also conducts an annual external audit, which is a legal requirement in Sweden, but goes one step further by including all the business’ sites and employees both in and outside Sweden.
Further, Quickspin has created a diversity plan with 6 focus areas where the business knows biases and discrimination may be present.
The plan covers the areas of recruitment, compensation, work environment, harassment at work, development and career progression, and creating a parent-friendly workplace.
In order to maintain dialogue with its employees on these matters, Quickspin conducts a weekly ‘pulse survey’, allowing it to maintain an up-to-date perspective on the way staff are feeling.
Compared to an annual employee survey, Lindberg argued weekly pulse surveys are much more efficient and effective, especially given the fast pace of change in the iGaming industry.
Lindberg concluded by demonstrating the industry recognition generated for Quickspin due to its diversity and inclusion initiatives, as it was named Company of the Year at the Women in Gaming Diversity Awards 2021.
The business was celebrated for its diverse workplace, equal pay policies and recruitment policy, which was outlined as “fair, equal and open to all.”
Quickspin still has a lot to do, Lindberg said, “and I hope that you will never hear a company saying they are done in this subject, because they will never be. But at Quickspin we do it with the strong belief that inclusion and belonging is the key to our success,” she concluded.