Diversity

Diversity enhances innovation

At the Volvo Group we consider diversity to be a catalyst for innovation and a source of competitiveness and profitability. By expanding our knowledge base, skills and understanding, we become more responsive to customer needs and strengthen our market position. We are continuously working on improving our ability to measure and follow up the results. In 2011, Group companies assigned Diversity champions with the responsibility to follow up results and develop action plans depending on the results.

Diversity enhances innovation

We work actively to promote gender balance in all parts of the company and aggregate data on different levels to measure and follow up. Our performance is based upon the skills, values and ethics of our employees. To create the dynamics required to succeed at a global level we need to recruit and retain a broad spectrum of employees with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Actively promoting diversity

Diversity and inclusion have long been prioritized within the Volvo Group, and are promoted in our Code of Conduct. Discrimination – with regard to gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, union affiliation, disabilities and social or ethnic origin – is not tolerated.

Zero tolerance for discrimination, harassment and bullying is also emphasized in our Diversity and Inclusion Policy that was launched in 2011. In addition the policy states that all Volvo Group employees and managers should promote an inclusive work climate.

Research has shown that the negative effects from being in minority disappear in balanced groups, meaning groups with a gender ratio of 35-65%. Our long-term goal is to have a balanced distribution of women and men among our employees. Working actively with diversity also nurtures a healthy company culture, thus helping to attract the most competent people. An inclusive work climate enables all employees to contribute to their fullest potential irrespective of gender, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or age. Tools are provided to identify and address exclusionary behavior and for managers to learn how to be role models.

To create the dynamics required to succeed at a global level we need to recruit and retain a broad spectrum of employees with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Diversity enhances innovation.

Indicators to measure and follow up

While we consider diversity to be a global competitive force, we also believe it must be handled at the local level due to the fact that what constitutes diversity differs depending on geographical locations and that challenges involved differ as well. The diversity goals may therefore differ from one country to another. At the Volvo Group level two key performance indicators are used to measure diversity: the Balanced team indicator and the Inclusiveness index.

The Balanced team indicator is a quantitative measure for diversity including nationality, gender, age and experience from different Volvo Group companies.

The Inclusiveness index is designed to follow up qualitative aspects, meaning how inclusive employees experience their work place to be.

At the Volvo Group level two key performance indicators are used to measure diversity: the Balanced team indicator and the Inclusiveness index.

Results in 2011

The results of the indicators, as well as improvement work and action plans are followed up in different decision forums. In 2011, the results were similar to 2010 and thus we did not reach our improvement targets on a Group level. However, individual companies improved their results significantly. We are working on improving next year’s Group performance. Primarily, there is room for increasing the number of women.

The results from the 2011 year's Volvo Group Attitude Survey, the annual employee survey, show that 76% of the employees believe diversity in a workforce creates a competitive advantage, compared to 68% in 2007. The result shows an increased awareness and positive attitude towards diversity.

Diversity and Inclusive Leadership

In 2011, the Volvo Group continued to conduct Diversity and Inclusive Leadership (DIL) training courses for managers. The DIL training program is interactive and focuses on the importance of inclusion, in order to leverage the benefits inherent in diversity. The training is run by in-house trainers, meaning Volvo Group employees who completed a certification process. In 2011, the Volvo Group certified facilitators in Sweden, China, Japan, India, Germany and France and at the end of 2011 there were 85 certified facilitators worldwide within the Group.

Gender diversity 2011 2010
Share of women, % 17 16
Share of women, Board Members, % 13 12
Share of women, Presidents and other senior executives; % 17 15
     

Affirmative recruitment processes

Working with diversity means working with attitudes, which requires different approaches in different cultural contexts. Several initiatives on the local and global level address diversity in the Volvo Group.

We work actively to balance diversity in leadership positions and in other employee categories. Traditionally, it has been a challenge for the automotive industry to attract women. One way of overcoming this challenge is to focus on diversity at the recruitment stage.

We require at least one woman and one man on each recruitment panel. The new recruitment policy supports diversity by stating that all white-collar positions should be openly posted for at least ten business days. This transparency hinders recruiting via exclusive networks. 

Recent years' gender equality initiatives have resulted in a relatively greater proportion of women among newly hired employees. The effects of the financial crisis made it difficult to retain the increased percentage of women employees and managers, since many of the employees who had to leave the Group were new recruits, a relatively large percentage of women. Despite this, the Volvo Group has managed to keep the numbers quite stable.

The number of women in the Group Executive Team increased from 6 to 20% in the new Volvo Group organization.

The percentage of female employees in 2011 was 17% compared to 16% in 2010.

Women on the Board

The Volvo Group’s Board of Directors consists of 11 members elected by the Annual General Meeting. Currently two women serve on the board. Ying Yeh has been a member of the Volvo Board since 2006, and Hanne de Mora was elected in 2010. The Group's General Counsel, Eva Persson, is the Board's secretary.

The Volvo Group has a long-term ambition to increase the number of women on boards and executive teams, while also striving to take into account other important parameters in terms of diversity, such as educational background, professional experience and nationality.

The Volvo Group has a long-term ambition to increase the number of women on boards and executive teams, while also striving to take into account other important parameters in terms of diversity, such as educational background, professional experience and nationality.

Internal networks

The Volvo Group has several networks that address different aspects of diversity and inclusion.

Volvo GLOW is an executive network for women in key positions in the Volvo Group. Its purpose is to develop global leadership and promote cross-cultural and cross-functional networking. Volvo GLOW thus addresses several diversity dimensions such as gender, nationality and functions/company origin.

The Walk the Talk network consists of male managers who have previously taken part in the Walk the Talk program, advanced gender awareness training for male executives. The purpose is to actively work to increase the number of female managers within the Volvo Group, to disseminate knowledge and help shape values and attitudes.

Females at their Best, a new women’s professional network was launched in Asia in 2011.

Yet another diversity network is Volvo Eagle, a global network for gay and lesbian employees. The purpose of Volvo Eagle is to support its members and act as a stakeholder group helping the Volvo Group to create a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual inclusive culture.

Enhancing intercultural business skills

GlobeSmart is an interactive web-based tool helping employees develop the multicultural skills we need to work effectively and conduct business with people from other countries. It is available to all employees.

GlobeSmart provides information from about 30 different countries and helps employees to familiarize themselves with local customs and traditions. The tool has a number of interactive features to help employees assess their own cultural preferences and interaction style and to compare these with people from other countries.

Did you know?

76% of the Volvo Group's employees believe diversity in a workforce creates a competitive advantage, compared to 68% in 2007. The result shows an increased awareness and positive attitude towards diversity.