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Ekornes receives award for diversity

Press release -

Ekornes receives award for diversity

Ekornes may have set a Norwegian record in inclusive recruitment. The employees have backgrounds from more than 30 nations.

On Thursday 9 September it became clear that Ekornes has been awarded the regional Diversity Prize in Møre og Romsdal, for "their conscious work on exploiting the potential of diversity – for the benefit of both the business and employees with multicultural backgrounds" (quote from the jury). The prize is awarded by the Ministry of Education and Research.

Like most Norwegian industry, Ekornes experienced an abrupt fall in order intake at the start of the corona pandemic. However, it was not long before there was a sharp upswing, and then it quickly became necessary to provide more labour.

Through targeted recruitment work, Ekornes has made a record number of new hires in the past year. A significant proportion of these came to the company via NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration). Out of 92 who have been on probation in the past year, 87 have been given permanent jobs afterwards.

Director Stein Veland in NAV told NRK that Ekornes has probably set a Norwegian record in inclusive recruitment. For Ekornes, this is the result of a long and deliberate process.

A price that motivates

"For Ekornes, diversity is not primarily a salute word. It has long since become part of our everyday life, and a positive consequence of the way we work with recruitment. That said, we are of course very proud to receive such an award, and this motivates us to work even harder to preserve this diversity," says Roger Lunde, CEO of Ekornes.

    No temporary employees

    Much of the success is due to Ekornes's help in tailoring a cooperation agreement with NAV, which both parties are very pleased with. For NAV, this means that many unemployed people come out to a permanent job. For Ekornes, profitable growth is an overarching and strategic objective, and stable and good recruitment is a key in this work.

    The agreement is designed so that NAV knows exactly what needs the company has, and can look for candidates who are likely to fit in the job. Ekornes's guidance is that they should not use temporary employees when the need for more labour arises.

    "We are clear about that from the day they come in to us. The main reason for this is that many of our manual tasks require a long training time. Then we see ourselves served by hiring instead of hiring labour and thus constantly having new rounds of training," says Ramstad, who also believes that it seems motivating to know that a permanent job is expected if the collaboration works as intended.

    Requires good communication

    The diversity award aims to promote ethnic diversity, improve the use of immigrants' competence and increase recruitment of immigrants in the labour market. Today, employees from over 30 nations work daily at Ekornes in Sykkylven.

    This requires both good communication and solid social frameworks. In cooperation with adult education, Ekornes conducts language courses both in and out of the workplace, at times that are adapted to shift workers. This is an example to follow, according to Solgunn Janet Welle, head of department at Sykkylven Educational centre. 

    "Language skills are often the main reason why immigrants are unable to get their foot in Norwegian working life. The fact that such a large employer as Ekornes takes responsibility and spends a lot of resources on language training is an important signaling effect," she says.

    Safe life on and off work

    In order to best safeguard the psychosocial environment, Ekornes has also established its own mentoring position,which assists with all the small and large challenges that come with being in a new life situation. 

    "It can be anything from completely mundane things like private finances, getting a GP, and finding transport to and from work. It also happens that I am with them to talk to public services, or ensure direct contact with NAV", says mentor Elin Marie Nordstrand, who believes this extra service helps to improve both mental health and well-being in the workplace.

    The regional winners of the Diversity Award will go on to a national award this autumn, where winners will be selected in the categories small, medium and large enterprises.


    Ekornes designs and manufactures furniture products that are marketed under the brand names Stressless®, Svane® and IMG. Stressless® is one of the world’s most well-known furniture brands, while the brands Ekornes® and Svane® are most famous in Norway. IMG is marketed mainly in the USA and Australia.

    Welcome to Ekornes AS!

    Ekornes is the Nordic region’s largest furniture producer. It is headquartered in Sykkylven, on the west coast of Norway. Ekornes has 19 sales offices in 13 countries and more than 4,000 retail outlets serving 48 markets worldwide.

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