Ove Ronny Haraldsen
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“I am both proud and satisfied. Our work to increase the number of female leaders at KONGSBERG, both strategically and operationally, adds value for our company”, says Wenche H. Andersen, EVP and Chief Administration Officer at KONGSBERG.
In 2016 KONGSBERG set a target to make the proportion of women in management positions equivalent to the proportion of women in the company as a whole. KONGSBERG therefore have a specific focus on identifying and developing our female leaders, motivating and inspiring them to take new positions and more responsibility.
“Female managers are important for the working environment, and it is an important signal to the women we will be recruiting in the future. Organizations with people diversity has positive influences on creativity and innovation. We see this in our summer student projects. This year, 40 per cent of technology students in the summer program were women”, says Wenche H. Andersen.
In the last 18 months, there has been a tremendous increase, from 13 to 20 per cent female managers. How was this achieved?
“It’s a combination of many factors. We have a clear and defined HR strategy for diversity and gender equality including a number of actions supporting the targets. The most important is to have clear ambitions and targets, and then measure the results frequently. This focus drives behavioral change in the organization and affect leaders thinking which creates a better framework for a diverse workforce. A key factor has been awareness of the important decision processes when selecting new managers. Furthermore, we have been through organizational restructuring, which has given us an additional opportunity to nominating several new managers.”
One of your tools has been the KONGSBERG Female Forum. How important has this been?
“I believe the focus on women in management positions has motivated more people to be more proactive and seek greater challenges. The Female Forum has been important for increased awareness among women in the company and leaders in general. The forum has given a better understanding of the company’s goals and ambitions, the opportunity to familiarize across business areas and for the network to share professional and managerial experiences. The Female Forum purpose is to inspire and impact individuals in their decisions of taking new leadership roles when opportunities arise.”
The Female Forum is currently for employees in Norway. Could this be something that will benefit women within KONGSBERG internationally?
“The aim of the Female Forum is to reach out to all women in management- and key positions within KONGSBERG. The forum is part of a network that will develop over time. We organize the annual meeting in combination with smaller local network meetings at various sites throughout the year. The goal is to establish a collaborative network beyond an annual event in Norway. In a global company my vision is to reach out to all regions and work to increase women in managerial positions regardless of location.”
Key objectives for diversity were met in 2017, will new ambitions be defined?
“It is impressive that we have come this far with our diversity objectives and new goals must be defined. We will continue to work externally with students and motivate young girls to select technical education to ensure we have a solid base for recruitment. For women within KONGSBERG, it is important that they gain experience in operational positions such as project and program management with an opportunity to meet the external customers, which is an important part of our business. I would like to see more females within sales and marketing and customer support nationally and internationally. Our next ambitions for women and leadership may be focusing within theses perspectives”
What is your message to women at KONGSBERG and to women studying technology?
“The future needs demanding technology for sustainable solutions to our global challenges. There are numerous development opportunities in our leading technology company and I encourage everyone to seek out new experiences. My advice is always to say YES to new opportunities and ensure that you have a seat at the table where business decisions are made.”