Impact & Advocacy

Courageous Recruitment - five actions for inclusive hiring processes

Through Mitt Liv’s CEO program CEOs for D&I, leading executives from Axel Johnson International, Ernströmgruppen, IKEA Industry and Kappahl Group, have collaborated to develop five practical actions. The actions aim to transform recruitment processes, making them more inclusive and driving change both internally and in the labour market. All participating CEOs and companies commit to implementing these actions within a year.

Courageous Recruitment - five actions explained

These actions aim to improve and transform recruitment methods from the startup phase to hiring, making them more inclusive:

1. Zero tolerance on homogenous shortlists

What do we mean:

Competence comes in various forms, not just the typical profiles often seen on shortlists. Hiring decisions frequently prioritize "Culture Fit", leading to homogeneity within teams. To counter this, we should adopt a "Culture Add" mindset, focusing on the unique perspectives and experiences a candidate can bring to enrich the team.

Diversity or Culture Add varies by team and aims to complement existing teams to create better future teams. This might involve focusing on gender, age, international background, or cross-functional expertise. The goal is to identify essential competences within a broader candidate pool.

The impact on DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion):

Diverse/Culture Add shortlists provide us with a representative mix of candidates.

This will accelerate the effects of inclusive recruitment. It will ensure that all candidates are considered beyond the narrative of our bias and norms, allowing for increased inclusion for our hiring.

The zero tolerance will act in the same way as with discrimination/bullying to ensure that we hold ourselves accountable.

2. Stronger demands on external companies

What do we mean:

Placing DEI demands on recruitment/search providers. We know that the talent is out there and we need to work together to find it. These demands will include the:

1. Zero tolerance on homogenous shortlists

2. Requirements on DEI knowledge

3. Inclusive recruitment practises and processes.

The impact on DEI:

These demands will act as a catalyst for enhanced inclusion both in our organisations and the broader labour market. We believe that the impact of our drive will even indirectly impact the diversity in other processes that the companies have and directly by more companies joining us with these demands.

3. Diverse mindset in hiring teams (representative or first-hand experience)

What do we mean:

A diverse mindset provides hiring teams with the ability to identify competence outside of the normative profiles which we are used to hiring.

A diverse mindset can be developed in a number of ways. We are focusing on two:

1. Diverse representation within the hiring team which provides the team with diverse perspectives.

2. First-hand experience of DEI, gained via contact with underrepresented groups such as via mentorship programs, which provides further important DEI insights.

The impact on DEI:

Diverse perspectives and DEI insights have been proven to equipped hiring teams and impact their hiring decisions. This results in the ability to both identify and value competence by mitigating the normative bias that occurs within homogenous groups. This in turn will enhance inclusive hiring, and accelerate diversity in the workplace.

4. Inclusive descriptions

What do we mean:

Inclusive descriptions within the recruitment process include material such as job descriptions, competence profiles, advertising texts and candidate information. Inclusive neutral refers to texts that are intentionally designs to mitigate bias and norms.

The impact on DEI:

By enhancing inclusive descriptions across the recruitment process we can further reduce the risk of unconsciously overlooking, accidentally deterring and unintentionally disqualifying qualified candidates.

5. Rewarding the intentional inclusion (through storytelling, and other methods)

What do we mean:

Using the theory of positive psychology to reward intentional inclusion as and when it happens in recruitment. Storytelling is a powerful method to reward, public recognition is another.

The impact on DEI:

Behaviours that receive attention and praise are behaviours that are reinforce, talked about, mirrored and accelerated. By rewarding intentional inclusion we create more inclusion which will enhance DEI in all areas.

Be aware of bias when using AI tools

There are many ways that you can mitigate bias in the recruitment process. One is the use of AI tools, and here we need to be conscious of how these tools can also exaggerate bias.

Inclusive instruction and framing within AI can help to reduce this risk, and we encourage all companies to align these AI tools to your inclusive recruitment ambitions.

Join us!

The ambition is that more business leaders and organisations will join these actions to drive change in their organisations and the labour market.

Are you curious about courageous recruitment and want to join the commitment? Please register your interest here, and we will contact you about how you can move forward.

CEOs for D&I, Group 3


Alexander Wennergren Helm

CEO, Ernströmgruppen

Elisabeth Peregi

CEO, Kappahl

Jakub Jankowski

CEO, IKEA Industry

Martin Malmvik

CEO, Axel Johnson International

Paula da Silva

For us as a fashion company, it is crucial to have a recruitment process that reflects our diverse customers. We interact with thousands of customers every day, and our ability to understand them is enhanced by having employees with different backgrounds and abilities. As a major player, we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to influence and strengthen society. I want to encourage all CEOs to be courageous and join in - 'Courageous Recruitment' is truly an initiative that will make a difference. It will strengthen both us as a company and the people we engage with.

Elisabeth Peregi

Elisabeth Peregi
CEO Kappahl Group

Contact us

CEOs for D&I was initiated in 2021 by Mitt Liv. The program aims to encourage the business sector to take greater responsibility for diversity, equity and inclusion. The goal for each program is to reach a company-wide commitment. So far, 19 CEOs have completed the program and the next group  will start in 2025. Are you interested in participating in our upcoming programs? Get in touch with us!