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Social investments lowers the threshold to the labour market

SEB is a partner for the premiere edition of Forum for Social Investments, a meeting place for those who want to invest in reducing exclusion, ill health and environmental impact. Among other things, we tell you about our collaboration with Unicus, a consulting company "with knorr".

“I've never received so many emails from colleagues as when we announced the news of our collaboration with Unicus,” says Christina Norrbring former manager within SEB's tech organisation. “This collaboration was the source of so much pride and shows that we don't just say we are part of the society in which we operate, but that we are truly committed.” 
Unicus is a consulting company that sells ‘testing services with a twist'. The twist is that the company only employees people with Asperger's syndrome who were previously unemployed. SEB engages consultants from Unicus to work with testing. This collaboration was presented in a film on the intranet in June 2018.

In many of the emails Christina received, colleagues shared their own experiences with neuropsychiatric functional variations. They shared the challenges that a brother, aunt or the son of a friend had experienced. Colleagues from Christina's former workplaces who heard about the collaboration also got in touch. 

“I became aware that this is far more common that we perhaps believe and this makes our collaboration with Unicus even more important.” 

Right from the first contact when Christina met Unicus CEO Anders Barnå, mutual business benefits have been in focus. The starting point was that SEB needs a long-term partner within testing and that Unicus can deliver this. 

“We get help from skilled testers at the same time as we open a door that perhaps would not otherwise have opened. It's a win-win that shows that it is possible to take social responsibility at the same time as being business-driven and professional. It does not need to be one or the other.” 

Someone needs to go first 

Unicus is a good match with SEB's corporate culture. SEB has existed for over 160 years and during this time has been an active member of society in different ways. Furthermore, the bank is continually developing its system and there is a substantial and recurrent need for testing. But to progress from an intention to actually making it happen in the organisation, Christina needed to find a manager who had a requirement, an open mind and the will and drive to go first. 

“I realised that some effort would be needed on my part which is always the case when you want to change something. But I also realised that it would be worth it.” 

Christina did some probing in the organisation and landed in one of the system departments in trading which was the one that first took the bait. Thanks to good collaboration between Unicus and managers and employees at SEB, it is now clear that this initiative turned out very well. 

“It's good to start on a small scale and show that it works. We can now see that this leads to a positive spiral with a growing interest in the organisation and my hope is that it will become second nature for many people to think Unicus when a testing need arises.”