This process has led to a better working environment and greater profitability. For Swedfund, issues relating to decent working conditions and gender equality are accorded a high priority. As a partner we have therefore through our board work, taken on an active role to focus on these issues together with the other co-owners and the hotel management, and ensure good working conditions.
Decent work and quality jobs
The key to reducing poverty lies in creating jobs. However, in order to contribute to sustainable development, the jobs that are created must be covered by rights, representation and protection; Decent work. In recent years, the concept of quality jobs has also attracted more attention. This means jobs with a stronger focus on the type of duties, a secure working environment, fixed working hours, wages and benefits which enable a healthy and stable work-life balance.
The hotel contributes to many development effects; it provides jobs for those with little or no education and offers important career paths for women. Investments in the hotel sector also help to formalise an informal sector characterised by uncertain working hours and poor working conditions. Hotels also need infrastructure and services from local businesses, such as transport, waste management, food deliveries and laundry services, which supports regional development. In turn, investing in a hotel helps to develop the local economy by supporting tourism and acting as a meeting place for the business community. It also helps to ensure that money, often hard currency, is brought into and spent in the host country.
Swedfund is a partner and has a seat on the board in Elgon Road Developments LTD (ERDL). The Radisson Hotel Group (RHG) runs the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill for ERDL under a management agreement. The hotel opened in January 2016, and is today one of Kenya's most prestigious hotels. The 290 staff arrange many meetings and events for local and international organisations.
The goal is a meritocratic workplace
The position on the board of ERDL affords an excellent platform for Swedfund to work closely with the business and to pursue issues relating to decent work, quality jobs and gender equality, issues which we as a development finance institution place high on our agenda. In order to succeed in our aims, an active board and a close and open cooperation with the hotel management is essential. During the quarterly board meetings and weekly coordination meetings between Radisson and ERDL, we have placed considerable emphasis on these issues.
One goal is to create a meritocratic workplace, where everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of gender, nationality or ethnicity. As part of this, it was decided to give the HR department a clearer and more prominent role within the organisation, partly in order to review and clarify recruitment processes and develop and raise the level of competence amongst the employees. The hotel management has also
established channels to capture the needs and wishes of the employees, partly by setting up a forum where trade unions and the hotel management meet regularly to discuss how the company can promote employee development.
Two rounds of Women4Growth
At the end of 2016, Swedfund implemented the Women4Growth initiative at the hotel. Women4Growth is a programme that aims to help female employees reach their full potential, and to help the company become aware of obstacles that prevent female employees from advancing within the company. The programme was carried out in the form of four one-day workshops, which concluded with the participants presenting a number of recommendations to the hotel management and the board of directors.
The outcome of the programme has been successful. The follow-up in October 2018 revealed that almost all recommendations had been implemented. The programme has also lived on and inspired further improvements for employees, encompassing both men and women, e.g. the option of staying at home in order to care for sick children. For the hotel management, the aim is for this approach to become a natural part of the corporate culture, so that all processes are equal and clear to all employees and based on everyone having the same starting point from which to exploit their full potential. Getting employees
to understand that gender equality benefits both men and women is crucial to succeeding in creating an equal corporate culture.
At the end of 2018, a second round of Women4Growth was carried out at the hotel. Based on the follow-up that was carried out, Swedfund developed the programme to meet the needs of the company and its employees. This was done in order to take the hotel's employees to the next level and develop the business positively.
Facts - Decent work
The support for Decent work is a prominent feature of the work of development finance institutions relating to the global development goals with particular emphasis on Goal 8, concerning decent working conditions and economic growth. An important task for development finance institutions is to demonstrate through their portfolio companies that Decent work and the quality of the work can go hand-in-hand with a thriving business.
Facts - Green Key
When the hotel opened in 2016, it was awarded the Green Key environmental certification. Green Key is an independent environmental organisation that certifies hotels and other tourist facilities that meet the highest environmental standards. Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill was the first hotel in Kenya to receive this certification.