Vattenfall Customer Service wins LGBTQI prize

Vattenfall Customer Service in Sweden is this year's LGBTQI award winner for their tireless and goal-oriented efforts to be a rainbow-coloured workplace.

Aaron Kroon - Photo: Peter Knutson
Photo: Peter Knutson

Aaron Kroon, Head of Vattenfall Customer Services for Business Development, Innovation and Diversity. Photo: Peter Knutson

For the tenth year running, Swedish trade union Unionen is handing out the award to highlight exemplary role models of inclusive workplaces, inspiring others to invest in LGBTQI rights.

LGBTQI is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex.

"Receiving the Unionen LGBTQI award is eminent proof that we are making a difference. It is particularly rewarding as it is our own employees who nominated us! We will never tire of challenging the norm or being curious, and we will always celebrate diversity. We are enormously proud to be a rainbow organisation," says Aaron Kroon, Head of Vattenfall Customer Services for Business Development, Innovation and Diversity.

In Unionen's own words, Vattenfall Customer Services was selected because:

"By including diversity and inclusion efforts in general, and LGBTQI issues in particular, in their business plan, Vattenfall Customer Service shows that it is a high priority at the topmost level. The company works actively and in a structured manner to create an inclusive workplace in which LGBTQI individuals are seen and accepted for who they are. Therefore, we award Vattenfall Customer Services with the Unionen 2021 LGBTQI prize."

The Unionen LGBTQI prize goes each year to an employer who is exemplary at working for an inclusive workplace, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The prize has been awarded since 2011.

"Inclusive workplaces are healthy workplaces, for employees and employers alike. This year's winner, Vattenfall Customer Service, is a workplace that clearly exhibits that they take equality seriously. They have created a culture characterised by curiosity and a will for acceptance. In addition, they have made diversity and inclusion part of their business plan, which goes to show that it is important to the company," says Martin Linder, Unionen's Chair.

Vattenfall Customer Services, with offices in Umeå, Stockholm and Helsinki, has about 400 employees and an additional 80 in other parts of Vattenfall.

"To be innovative, we need to challenge the norm and ingrained mindsets, set our sights higher and think outside the box. It has been proven that teams that are diverse are more creative, take more initiative and reach decisions more quickly than homogeneous teams. That means that it has direct bearing on our business results," says Aaron Kroon.

Aaron Kroon's tips for becoming a rainbow organisation:

  1. Skip the 'tolerance' approach. It is not about “us” and “them”.Instead it is a matter of realising that you need to harness each person's unique abilities and experiences.
  2. Dare to ask. If you are feeling unsure about how to approach or address a person, ask. "I would really like to help you the right way, so what is that for you..."
  3. Implement it into the business plan. Should the company end up in a position during the year to question what needs to be prioritised, it makes it difficult to disregard it.
  4. Test your own knowledge. Have the courage to question just how knowledgeable you are, and learn when needed. Knowledge provides the power to change.
  5. Take responsibility at all levels. For instance, make the same demands on hired staff and suppliers as you would on your in-house staff.

Read more about how we work with diversity and inclusion Diversity & Inclusion

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