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Aija Harju, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, BoKlok
Aija Harju, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, BoKlok

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“Diversity is a fact - inclusiveness is a choice!”

BoKlok supports Pride and is engaged in World Pride 2021 - a hands-on way of working with diversity and inclusion. Hear the thoughts of Aija Harju, Diversity & Inclusion Leader at BoKlok on Pride, inclusion, and a diverse work environment. 

Aija Harju has been working as Diversity & Inclusion Leader at BoKlok since March this year. Her goal is to develop a strategy for diversity and inclusion which is in line with the business goals for BoKlok. By involving the entire organisation, a stronger and more attractive business can be created where people with different backgrounds and experiences can grow. 

As a part of the long-term work with diversity and inclusion, BoKlok supports World Pride during August. Participating in Pride is one of the many ways we show our support towards having diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We take responsibility for fundamental human rights whilst creating an inclusive work environment within the company. 

- When the environment is inclusive everyone feels a sense of belonging as an individual. However, we need to work every day for an inclusive work environment. It’s not a static goal that can be achieved, but something we need to build and maintain. Inclusiveness is something every employee creates every day and is developed in teams and by social interaction. If we as a company can nudge our employees to be more inclusive by participating in Pride, then that’s a wonderful result, says Aija Harju.

When it comes to actively working with inclusion among employees, and creating an inclusive culture within the company, Aija has more ideas: 

- To create an inclusive culture, we need everyone in the company on board, to ensure that we are all aware of our own biases. The more we can talk and educate ourselves the better, by talking and raising issues we will become more aware of how to behave and know how to create and inclusive culture. Those steps will help us create that culture, step by step. Diversity is a fact; inclusiveness is a choice. We are all responsible for creating an inclusive culture.

BoKlok operates in four different markets, with four different local cultures. But in every market, diversity in the teams is appreciated and wanted. The reason? To create a sense of wellbeing in the organisation and to appeal to customers. By having diverse teams, a bigger understanding for the customer’s needs can be created. The BoKlok value chain is long, and that requires people with different backgrounds and experiences. 

- We are all different from one another which is a benefit that makes our work more fun and innovative. In different local markets we have a diverse talent pool from where to recruit new people and we actively try to recruit diverse teams. Employees and teams are more innovative and successful with a diverse mix of people. According to studies, the level of wellbeing is higher in diverse teams, and although more complex to lead, the results are more innovative. We build homes for many people and to understand our customer needs it is important to create an inclusive environment where diversity thrive. 

When looking at the future, Aija sees many opportunities, both for BoKlok and for society. 

- The world is developing rapidly towards a more accepting society. In BoKlok we will have more diverse teams and I’m sure in some years, inclusion is a permanent state however, it requires work and constant attention. I believe that our values, our constant work with health and safety and our great people will help us and be a vital asset in our work towards a more inclusive culture, and more diverse team in the whole of BoKlok, Aija concludes.

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Dianne Lowther

Dianne Lowther

Press contact Press manager UK +44 7392 098961

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Skanska & IKEA

BoKlok is a home ownership concept from Sweden, owned by Skanska and IKEA. We are a developer of sustainable residential communities with more than 20 years’ experience and so far we have developed about 14,000 homes in Sweden, Finland and Norway. BoKlok was established in England in 2019.

BoKlok is responsible for the entire value chain, from product development, project development and manufacturing in the factory to construction, sales and customer relations after moving in. BoKlok has about 400 employees in Sweden, Norway, Finland and the UK.

We combine Skanska's solid experience of building houses with IKEA's solid experience of furnishing them. Together we build smart homes, apartments and townhouses for people who want to live well in their own homes but still have money left. In short: We build sustainable, quality homes at a low price, for all.

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