Training provides insights into gender bias
How do you reduce gender inequality and at the same time increase customer satisfaction? In an internal training, SEB's employees are helped to understand how gender bias affects daily work. Thus, they can also contribute to a change in behaviour.
"This is a training that we encourage all our employees to do, especially those who work with advice to customers. I gained many new insights that will be valuable in our continued work when we meet our customers," says Mika Burman Götz, head of SEB's Swedish operations for private individuals and small and medium-sized companies.
The research that SEB presents in the training has been developed by SEB in collaboration with Ylva Baeckstrom, who is an expert on gender bias in the financial industry and works at King's College in London.
Those who attend the online training get to take part in data from different customer scenarios and useful tips that can be used in advisory meetings. Among the advice in the training are, for example, that the bank's customer advisors should avoid traditional financial language because it appeals to men more than women, and to take into account demographic aspects, such as that women live longer.
Employees at SEB's branch office in Umeå, in northern Sweden, have attended the training and devoted one of their office meetings to discuss it.
"I am really passionate about these issues, and think it is important to be aware and reminded that we can make a difference in creating equal conditions for women to own, save, and start businesses. Therefore, it was obvious that we wanted to educate ourselves more on the issue,” says Sanna Westergård, private market manager at the branch office in Umeå.
SEB developed a first general video training on the gender bias issue aimed at everyone in the bank already in 2021. It was launched in March of the same year in connection with the launch of SEB’s Financial Equality campaign.
The new training is more directly focused on the advisors that meet customers. Some of the conclusions on which the new training is based are taken from a survey conducted within SEB. The survey participants were given advice based on a number of common examples, offering a possibility to catch up on whether there is any difference in the advice.
"In several cases, despite a fairly small sample, we saw significant differences in how we assess men and women," says Emma Heikensten, strategic analyst at SEB, who project-led the development of the training.