Chopra Steria's top manager puts candidates on a “checklist” – E24

Chopra Steria's top manager puts candidates on a “checklist” – E24

E-mails are circulating in the administration of Chopra Steria's largest department, known as the Blacklist. Now the consulting firm announces a complete internal cleaning.

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“Add to Blacklist”

“Join Blacklist”

“Blacklist?”

“Check if she is blacklisted”

This is what Odd Inge Bjørdal, director of Chopra Steria's largest department, writes in emails to the entire management of his department.

Bjordal Chopra is also part of Steria's management team and has been consulting since 1999.

E24 has obtained access to emails where former employees and external candidates are blacklisted.

The emails seen by E24 include a name and a short sentence about a “block list”, but no justification as to why the person was added to the list.

The division, headed by Bjørdal, employs 1,500 people. In total, the company has 3,300 employees in Norway.

Stop the practice

– The term “blacklist” should never have been used and as a manager I should have immediately distanced myself from the term, writes Odd Inge Bjørdal, director of digital platforms at Chopra Steria, to E24.

He clarifies that there is no separate “block list” but that the term refers to a status such that the person in question is ineligible for further processing.

– The practice has stopped and it is my responsibility not to allow such language and jargon to continue to flourish in my field, says Bjordal.

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Odd Inge Bjørdal has been at Chopra Steria since 1999.

The practice “has been around for years,” he says.

– We occasionally had a direct and informal tone among managers, which I regret developed under my leadership. Managers should not behave like this, at least, as a senior manager in the department, he adds.

He says this list is used in the recruitment process as an overview of candidates who are proposed to be ineligible for interview. According to Bjordal, the aim is to save time and resources.

The recruitment team at the Bjørdal division also received some emails.

– No words

Chopra Steria positions itself as Norway's leading consultancy in digitalisation, innovation and sustainability.

– This is the worst thing I've ever heard, says Nito lawyer Kirsten Rydne after reading the contents of the emails.

Nito attorney Kirsten Rydne says several members of Chopra Steria have been in touch recently.

Nito is Norway's largest professional organization for engineers and technologists. The organization has 520 members from Chopra Steria.

– I have no words. It sounds very trivial. To say something about severity, we need to know more. But Raidne says the very word “blacklist” makes one's hair stand on end.

Declares a complete cleanup

– This list was never known to Chopra Steria's management team, writes Christine Blix-Eldon, Chopra Steria's director of marketing and communications, in an email to E24.

He also writes that the company takes a “strong distance from both practice and term usage”.

Christine Blix-Eldon, Director of Marketing and Communications at Chopra Steria.

He calls the practice “absolutely unacceptable.”

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– Management today announced a complete internal cleaning of the listed department.

Responsive to content

Nina Riibe, managing director of Econa, Norway's largest trade association for economists, is shocked by the emails.

– So sad and sad that Chopra Steria chose to act that way. On a general basis, everyone has the right to a safe and decent working environment, he says.

Nina Riibe, managing director of Econa, Norway's largest professional organization for economists, is appalled by the so-called blacklist.

Econa has 97 members from Chopra Steria.

– It shows how important it is to be a member of a union and have someone behind you who looks out for you as an employee. When you're exposed to such a power play as an individual, you have very little to contribute, says Riebe.

– Constant pressure

E24 previously reported on Chopra Steria's career program “Accelerate,” which is offered to the company's newly graduated employees.

Employees who are part of the program are required to spend their free time attending programs without pay.

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Attorney Kirsten Raidne says Nito received reactions from 10 members of Chopra Steria over the matter. Many people who participate in the company's program for new graduates are called newly employed “graduates”.

– Raidne says many people in the Accelerate program are under financial pressure to attend courses in their spare time.

According to feedback, Nitto was told by his manager that if veteran employees did not attend seminars and courses in their spare time, there would be consequences for salary advancement and career opportunities.

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Chopra Steria's director of communications said the company now wants to clean it up.

– We take this matter very seriously, and upon learning that the “acceleration” program is not considered voluntary, we immediately contacted the union representatives, says Blix-Eldon.

– We had an initial meeting with the shop stewards on Friday and agreed to follow up on the matter. It is our responsibility to clean it up and we are already doing it.

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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