We at Skillhus are very pleased that, from January 1st, 2020, legislation intended to strengthen anti-discrimination and equality policies in the Norwegian workplace went into effect. The legislation is called Aktivitets- og redegjørelsespliktene or (ARP), and its initiative is to increase the duty of Norwegian companies to actively promote equality and prevent discrimination at work. Although it can be discussed whether coercion is the right means for a sustainable and lasting change, it is our hope that many Norwegian companies choose to view this as an opportunity to bring awareness and action to such an important topic, as opposed to a requirement that they must reluctantly accept.
"What you measure is what you get"
One of the most important parts about ARP is that it requires Norwegian employers to work systematically within all parameters required by ARP. This puts gender equality and discrimination on the agenda, and requires analysis of the current situation , as well as set targets for improvements to be evaluated over time.When an organization measures initiatives, results are achieved-. or, as is commonly said in Norwegian, "what you measure is what you get".
What is ARP?
We’ve created an information page on ARP, and what it means for you and your business here. In short, ARP identifies all public and private enterprises with more than 50 employees are responsible and obligated to promote equality and prevent discrimination. The same applies to private enterprises that have between 20-50 employees if one of the parties in the organization requires it.
Aktivitetsplikten implies that the company are to review a 4-step model where they analyze the current state and plan on what measures to be implemented to improve the situation regarding equality and discrimination. Redegjørelsesplikten requires such work to be documented in the annual report or other public document. This requirement applies to reporting of the 2020 financial year.The Anti-Discrimination Committee enhances the ARP and may impose periodic penalty payments, should they be necessary.
Why is this coming out now?
LDO holds a genuine belief that modern organizations intent on recruiting the best talents, who have sustainability on the agenda, and who are concerned about taking social responsibility, should want to actively work on diversity, gender equality, and prevent discrimination. ARP helps Norwegian organizations to facilitate the implementation of diversity and anti-discrimination practices.
Another aspect addressed by ARP is the need to work even more actively towards equal pay. Bufdir states that for every 100 kroner earned by a man in 2019, a woman earned 87.6. At the current rate of equality development, women will not earn the same as their malle counterparts for the next 50 years.
Furthermore, figures from both Bufdir and Integration and the Diversity Directorate show that if you have a foreign name, you have a 25% less chance of being called into a job interview. In fact, if you are a Pakistani man seeking a job in a private enterprise, you have a 41% less chance of being called in for an interview. The ARP gives all Norwegian employers an obligation to work actively systematically towards gender equality and l a decrease in discrimination.
How to proceed?
ARP can be overwhelming- there’s a lot of information you need to be acquainted with as an employer. We participated in a webinar with Hanne Bjurstrøm from the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud; she recommended that companies start by initiating dialogue with their union representatives. It’s important to have good dialogue and participation by all parties throughout the process. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to begin with low-hanging fruits. Where do you already know you have challenges? Where have you revealed that there’s the greatest need for targeted measures?
Another tip we provide to our customers is to start by reviewing their HR processes and staff management practices. From there, ask yourselves and your leadership:
What obstacles do we have today?
How do our recruitment and onboarding processes look?
Are these processes facilitated for all societal groups and subgroups in an inclusive way?
How do we evaluate our employees and executives internally by, for example, promotions? Do we unconsciously favor different groups?
Skillhus helps by providing tailor-made solutions
We at Skillhus have leading expertise in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. We assist you and your business with everything from mapping and guidance, to creating quantifiable measures that can easily be implemented. A main focus of ours is that it should be easy and motivational to work on improving equality and increasing diversity at the workplace. We actively work to create inclusive organizational cultures where diversity is supported and nurtured in the best possible way.
We assist you and your business with:
A step-by-step process mapping out equality and discrimination
Specific and quantifiable measures to improve gender equality in your workplace
Some specific examples of what we can help with:
Training on how to minimize unconscious bias in the recruitment process
Courses on how to write inclusive job ads
A review of your recruitment process with the aim of giving you specific actions and activities on how you can improve your focus on diversity and inclusion throughout the process
A review of your onboarding process, which aims at providing specific actions and activities on improving diversity and inclusion throughout the process
Virtual courses focused on diversity, inclusion and discrimination for all employees
A review of processes and procedures on how employees f and managers promote and evaluate. This review is conducted with the aim of providing you with specific actions and activities, ensuring that your processes are carried out in an inclusive manner.
Competence, management and organizational development:
Team-facilitation of diverse teams
Professional coaching in diversity management
It’s important that the work of promoting equality, increasing diversity, and preventing discrimination is a process that is worked on steadily and continuously. Begin your journey now, and feel free to contact us for a chat.
📌 Don't forget to sign up for our webinar where we explore how you, as an employer, can meet the requirements of ARP, as well as specific tips and examples on how to set up a plan with concrete actions.