SPP—The Winner of SHE Index 2021 in Sweden

5th of March—on the first day of SHE Conference 2021, we announced the winner of the SHE Index in Sweden: SPP. Here you can read about how SPP climbed to the very top of the index and the measures, incentives, and strategies that they have put in place to realize their ambition to be a global leader for equality.


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Photo by SPP / Staffan Hansén— Managing Director, Customer Area Sweden

SPP operates in the occupational pension market in Sweden and is a part of the Norwegian Storebrand. They offer a wide range of savings and pension solutions for businesses and individuals.

Sustainability and equality are an integral part of our business.

Q&A with SPP

What are the major changes that you made to your company during the last couple of years in order to receive such a result?

We have focused on adding perspective in the activities that we are currently running connected to the People agenda in the company i.e. leadership training, recruitment, talent management, reward.

We have also highlighted the importance of gender equality as a part of our sustainability strategy and efforts, which are part of our company DNA.

What has been your strategy in regard to gender equality?

Our strategy rests on the core belief that gender equality is a condition for future prosperity and growth.

For us, equality and inclusion are both cornerstones of our company culture. We work strategically with gender equality internally and it is also an important parameter when we evaluate companies for our investments.

In terms of efforts and policies, our work includes:

1. Actual Gender Distribution

Even distribution of women and men at all levels in SPP, with both women and men in management positions and positions of strategic importance.

2. Policies and Key Metrics

SPP monitors key metrics on gender equality in our annual People Review process, as well as through questions in our bi-weekly, company-wide employee survey.

3. Talent development and recruitment

We take great pride in having an even gender distribution in internal talent programs such as Sandbox and FutureLeader.

SPP maps the gender distribution of identified talents and calibrates and challenges leaders’ views on performance and potential annually. In all recruitment processes, both internal and external, the People department coaches and challenges the recruiting managers throughout the process.

Among other things, the People department always conducts competency-based interviews with the final candidates.

What incentives have been put in place, and how were these incentives received by the employees? Have you had any negative responses to your strategy?

We have not launched any specific initiatives connected to gender equality. Instead, we have focused on integrating our equality efforts in our daily operations by doing things differently and challenging pre-existing norms and boundaries.

Our focus and work within the area have been appreciated by the employees.

A few years back we worked for and accomplished a very good gender distribution on all levels of the organization, and our main focus is now to make sure that we can use the power of a diverse organization by focusing on inclusion and belonging.

What was the biggest challenge, and what are the challenges going forward?

We can become better at ensuring that the whole organization understands that equality is the sum of all the small decisions that we make every day.

It is the result of how we always handle these decisions in the best way and with gender equality in mind, which sets us apart and can help us become even more diverse and inclusive.

This is why we see the value of organization-wide efforts such as unconscious bias training and leadership development focusing on psychological safety, inclusion and belonging, and this is something that we are planning to deliver at a larger scale than before in 2021.

Your best advice for companies wanting to improve their gender equality status?

Our best advice is the continual focus on structure and process:

Annual salary review and adjustment, a data-driven approach, review the numbers in semi-annual People or HR reviews, maintain the gender and inclusion perspective in all recruitment, talent development, and succession discussions.

Never lose sight of the gender and diversity perspective even if things are hectic!

Also, make sure that the CEO focuses on the importance of diversity and inclusion. It needs to be prioritized and valued as business-critical.

According to you – how do you maintain a good Index score, in other words: How do you continue to do the work that has shown good results?

We believe that equality constantly needs to be on the agenda.

We are proud of what we have accomplished, but we can’t relax and believe that we are done. We have structures and processes that work as a “safety net”, but there is always room for improvement, and the further we push the boundaries of inclusivity, the more we will be able to accomplish as a company.

Christin Bøsterud, CEO of EY Norway, and Erna Solberg awarded Equinor with the SHE Index Award Norway for 2021 to Equinor.

What is the SHE Index?

In 2018, SHE Community partnered with EY to create the SHE Index powered by EY, an index measuring the actual gender balance among top leaders, mid-level leaders and board of directors in over 200 Norwegian companies.

The index measures not only the current situation but also what incentives and initiatives that the company has initiated to create more equality within the company. Change is not done in a day, and therefore a company is rewarded when there are measurable actions are taken against bias structures and management.

The index was launched in Sweden in 2020 and will be launched in Denmark and Finland in 2021. The index aims to become a global tool for measuring equality.

Our motto is: What gets measured, gets done.