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Munters embraces equity

mar 8, 2023

We have a new role at Munters that is dedicated to the issues of equity, inclusion and diversity. Read our interview with Judy Castaño who will lead this important work for our company.

Q: You recently took on the role of Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). What do you hope to achieve?

I will lead our efforts to become a more inclusive workplace that values and appreciates employees' different backgrounds and characteristics. To achieve that, we have created a DE&I strategy that prioritizes the topics and actions that will build a workplace we can all be proud of.

Q: #EmbraceEquity is the theme of this year's International Women's Day. How do we embrace equity at Munters?

First, let’s share the concepts of the two:

Equity is about giving everyone what they need to be successful instead of the same thing because not everyone starts in the same place.

Equality is about giving everyone the same thing of the same value.

One of the ways we embrace equity is by reviewing our processes and policies to ensure they are fair, just, and equitable for all employees.

For example, we scrutinized our talent acquisition (recruitment) process and made some improvements by implementing best practices that help us disrupt unconscious biases that could happen in the process and we are providing training to managers and HR on the unconscious biases that could happen in the process.

For instance, our interview panels should be diverse, selection criteria should be used to rank the candidates based on the job qualifications and a selection discussion should be taken so that not one person is deciding to solely hire or promote internal or external candidates. It’s best to have these best practices in place to even out the playing field and minimize any unconscious biases for our internal and external candidates.

We are also making sure all employees have a development plan and access to training. These two things can help our employees get what they need to be successful in their current roles and be better prepared to compete for future roles.

Q: By 2025, our goal is to have a workforce and leadership that consists of 30% females. Unfortunately, the trend is pointing in the wrong direction which means we might not meet our target. Why are we not making the progress we want and how will you ensure qualified women choose Munters now and in the future?

Munters, like all companies, competes for top talent. We must continue to create a culture where women feel valued and respected for their contributions to the business. We also need to create a culture that promotes a good work-life balance.

New research from Lean In and McKinsey that surveyed the US labor market, shows that women were negatively affected by the covid-19 pandemic and are more burned out than ever before. Women had to leave their jobs to care for their children during the pandemic and are slowly returning to work. Several are even considering changing careers or leaving the workforce altogether.

Other important factors are financial conditions and how much attention gender diversity receives in the media and on the political stage. In countries where there is a greater focus on these issues, more progress is made.

A recent report on gender diversity in Sweden shows that after years of progress, the issue has received much less attention from Swedish politicians. As a result, the recruitment of women to top positions was at a standstill in 2022. In such a climate, it is more important than ever that companies such as Munters do their part to change the situation.

Q: What do we do to encourage more qualified women to apply – and stay?

We currently have many different programs running that support a more women-friendly work environment.

For example, all new managers must take our Manager at Munters course, which includes our Unconscious Bias training. This training aims to disrupt potential biases against women before they occur. We also have a mentoring program that female employees can participate in to become better leaders and employees. And we ensure qualified female employees have access to, and take part in, our internal leadership program MovE (Munters' orchestra of visionary Explorers), which combines strategy execution with personal development.

To ensure we attract more qualified women to Munters, we will continue to educate managers and HR staff about the unconscious biases that occur during the recruitment process and strive to have at least one qualified female in the final hiring process.

Q: How do we compare to other companies in terms of gender diversity?

When we look at other Swedish companies, we are on par in terms of the percentage of female leaders in the workplace, and in some cases, we are even better. In the latest McKinsey & Lean In study Women in the Workplace published August 2022 top-performing companies were surveyed on how they are driving progress to increase qualified women in the workplace. The article validated the actions we have taken, are taking, or plan to take soon. 

Some of the actions we have implemented include:

  • set numerical goals
  • track internal diversity by gender
  • cascade KPI results to BA and BU Managers

Some of the actions underway include:

  • hold leaders accountable for progress on diversity goals
  • train HR and hiring managers on the biases that arise in the hiring process
  • have at least one qualified woman in the final interview round
    make sure we have women on the interview panel. 

In 2023, some managers will have a PDA goal on gender diversity. We will set expectations that at least one in three hired or promoted leadership positions must be a qualified woman. This will not be an easy goal to meet.  Managers and HR must proactively search women’s professional and trade associations, universities, technical schools, etc. to attract qualified women.    

Q: This year we qualified for Allbright's list of green-listed companies. What have we done differently to perform better this year?

Allbright is a Swedish non-partisan and non-profit foundation that works for equality and diversity in leading positions.

Every year, Swedish-based companies are evaluated on their efforts for equality and diversity, and this year they looked at the connection between companies' profitability and how many women they have in top positions.

It's great to see that we've moved up the list and are ranked higher. I believe it confirms the work we do and the path we are on to achieve an even gender distribution in the workplace by, among other things, attracting and retaining top-qualified women to our board and group management.

I also feel inspired to continue working on this very important initiative and to find new ways in which we can improve.

Curious about our how we work with sustainability at Munters? Learn more here.

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