Eirik Lie, from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, infront of Pride flag at KONGSBERG HQ
Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace

WHY PRIDE MATTERS

Being a successful company that innovates and changes for more than 200 years takes hard work, practice, great ideas and different perspectives – and a wide range of different types of people. We asked Eirik Lie, the President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, why a 200-year old company recognise and celebrate Pride Month.

  • Text:Njål Frilseth

    Photo:Njål Frilseth / KONGSBERG

Can you tell us why you think it's important to recognise and celebrate Pride?

“To be honest,  I think some may question why a company like Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace with a solid business baseline, long history and promising future should recognise Pride month – what is the point? If we want to continue to develop ground-breaking solutions and create sustainable innovations for the future, we need to continue to hire a diverse pool of people and talents,” says Lie.

“When we question why it is important for an organisation to recognise pride, diversity and inclusion, we can just take a look at the comment sections on social media - the answer becomes quite clear. Diversity and inclusion is not something that just happens by itself. Proactively showing our company’s support for the LGBTQ+ community can help ensure that prospective employees feel welcome, valued and safe in working with us. We work to create diverse and inclusive teams, not just in June, but all year round - but the month of June is a great time to recognise and celebrate our employees’ differences,” says Lie.

President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Eirik Lie, infront of the company's pride flag

Photo: Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Credit: Njål Frilseth

What does diversity mean to you?

“Diversity to me means many different things. I think it's important to remember that diversity is not only about gender, but it is also about personal identity, perspectives, ideas and life-experiences and everything in between. People should not have to hide who they are in the workplace – we need to value differences and the strengths of a diverse organisation,” says Lie.

“According to research; diversity, inclusion and performance go hand in hand. Diverse teams are more innovative which can generate the competitive edge we need in our industry.”

What is important to do in order to foster inclusivity and belonging?

“It is about creating a safe space and room for our employees to be who they want to be at work. We have always pursued improvements and redefined the standard of excellence in everything we do. Having a good work environment is important in order to be able to continue to push creativity, tolerance and further business development. After all, it is the people who are our key to our continuous success,” says a smiling Lie.

What does diversity and inclusion mean for Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace?

“Embracing diverse communities and the unique voices they support are also an integral part of sustainability. With increasing climate challenges, it is more important than ever that we work together to create and enable a more resilient world to address the challenges at hand. We work tirelessly to create a safe space in which our people are respected and valued, and feel comfortable being themselves – regardless of gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental challenges, ethnicity or educational, religious or social background.

“After all, we want our employees to give us their best, and in return we offer great conditions, benefits, a friendly and inclusive working environment. Our employees’ wellbeing matters and that is why it is important to create a good and secure working environment - and that is why it is important recognize and celebrate Pride Month,” Eirik concludes.

Eirik Lie, from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, infront of Pride flag at KONGSBERG HQ

Photo: Lie infront of KONGSBERG HQ in Norway. Credit: Njål Frilseth