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10 D&I initiatives that some of Asia’s most successful employers do

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Partnerships with organisations like Lean In, Mums@Work, flexible work solutions, enhanced maternity policies, building a pipeline of female talent are just some of the ways in which organisations are forging gender equality at the workplace.

In this fifth part of our series, we showcase the call-to-action of 10 organisations in ensuring gender equality at the workplace.

Organisations featured include: Aviva, Carbon Black, Dell, Digi, Ericsson, EY, Marriott International, Mastercard, Philip Morris Malaysia, and Wipro Unza Malaysia. Read on to see how these organisations are helping to #BalanceForBetter.


Anuradha Purbey, People Director, South East Asia, Aviva

Here at Aviva, inclusive culture is at the heart of how we do business. Prioritising it above driving diversity metrics has enabled us to create an environment that is supportive and enabling of women, who make up more than 60% of Aviva’s workforce and helm over 40% of leadership positions in the company.

Through our strategic partnerships with organisations like Lean In, Mums@Work, and Primetime, who are in the forefront of championing the gender balance agenda in Asia, we enable women to engage in constructive dialogues, identify development opportunities, and share experiences to empower each other to build successful careers in the field.

We believe in celebrating women who excel anywhere they may be. This is why we are proud to sponsor the Women of the Future Awards (WOF) South East Asia (SEA), which recognises achievements of these game-changers across a breadth of fields.


Sandra O’Sullivan, Chief People Officer, Carbon Black

At Carbon Black, we are committed to equal pay for equal work and measure this on a regular basis to ensure we meet this important and basic requirement. We are committed to increasing the number of women in leadership positions in our company and are doing this through ParityPledge, where we interview at least one female candidate for every leadership role. We also have targeted development for women, including a 6-month leadership program, mentorship program and employee resource group (ERG); and we send a number of our women leaders to female-focused conferences and events throughout the year.

Carbon Black has celebrated IWD in a few ways. We hosted a “Power Women in Tech” panel in Boston in partnership with Bullhorn, with participants from Fidelity, Klaviyo, Wordstream, Rapid7 and Datadog; and our women’s ERG organised a panel, “Finding our Voices”, in our Waltham headquarters for all employees.


Jocelyn Macedo, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, APJ, Dell

At Dell, we ensure that diversity in our workplace receives ongoing and focused attention from our most senior leaders. We know that better gender balance in organisations makes good business sense and believe that only through the power of multiple perspectives, can we hope to deliver on our purpose to improve people’s lives through technology.

To help our team grow and thrive, we have initiated various programmes to foster gender equality. Our ‘Connected Workplace’ programme offers flexible work solutions to help team members manage their professional and personal demands, especially for working mothers re-joining the workforce. We are also the first IT company to participate in Catalyst’s Many Advocating Real Change (MARC), an initiative to create a more representative workplace by engaging leaders in candid conversations about the role of diversity in the workplace, addressing topics such as unconscious bias and inclusive leadership.


Elisabeth Melander Stene, Chief Human Resource Officer, Digi

We believe in building an organisation that better reflects the world we live in by emphasising diversity and inclusion. Being purposeful to build a dynamic workplace that embraces differences across age, gender, nationality, experience and skillsets, has made us a stronger company.

Some of our inclusion efforts to support our employees through the important moments in their family’s lifecycle include: our 6-month maternity policy; maternity facilities and flexible work arrangements so families spend necessary time with their children; the ‘Women Inspirational Network’ that nurtures upcoming women leaders; and the ‘Board Diversity Policy’ that ensures a solid mix of leadership.

These practices have encouraged more women to step into leadership positions and helped Digi organically achieve gender balance in the organisation. Our workforce is 50% women, there are 25% women representation on the management team, 46% women in the extended management team and 60% of women represented on our board.


Priyanka Anand, Vice President and Head of Human Resources for South East Asia, Oceania and India, Ericsson

Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Traditionally, the technology sector has generally attracted more men, both in the academic institutions and at the professional workplace.

At Ericsson, we are committed to creating diverse and inclusive teams as we are convinced diversity fuels innovation. We actively work with colleges to attract women to take up exciting careers within the ICT sector and to join our graduate programs at Ericsson. We provide equal growth opportunities for our female employees to adopt skills in advanced technology. We also have focused talent development programs to cultivate female talent for leadership roles.

Our objective is to promote gender diversity in a full cycle, building a pipeline of female talent that will be ready to take on leadership roles to take on the challenges of tomorrow, including the realisation of Industry 4.0. Together, we are striving for a gender-balanced boardroom and a gender-balance of employees across the diverse functions in the organisation.


Max Loh, EY Asean and Singapore Managing Partner (champions the diversity and inclusion corporate initiatives)

Gender balance at work makes for a better working world. As the 2019 International Women’s Day’s (IWD) theme encapsulates, the future is to #BalanceForBetter. That is why we are committed to accelerating women’s advancement under the ‘EY Women Fast Forward’ global program.

We choose to go beyond setting diversity targets to being focused on building an inclusive culture, influencing external dialogues on gender parity and creating supported pathways to leadership for all. This includes mentoring and sponsoring women for career advancement, and enabling a flexible work environment to allow both genders to harmonise their professional and personal obligations.

To create impactful change, we are driving greater innovation in our talent engagement through introducing new initiatives such as a back-to-work program for mothers who have left the workforce, as well as shifting perceptions in next-generation talent through on-campus activities that seek to debunk career stereotypes, particularly in fields such as STEM and corporate finance.


Regan Taikitsadaporn, Chief Human Resources Officer, Marriott International

At Marriott, we understand that championing women and empowering their leadership is smart business – diversity makes us more innovative, competitive and strategic. Gender equality and having women in leadership positions is part of our ‘People First’ culture and has been part of our DNA since Alice S. Marriott co-founded Marriott in 1927.  It is also in line with Marriott’s growth strategy, where we are committed to developing future women leaders.

Marriott’s ‘Women’s Leadership Development Initiative’, now in its 20th year, aims to increase the presence of women in management by guiding talented women associates into senior leadership positions from early in their careers.

Our annual ‘Women in Leadership’ conference serves as a platform for both women and men to share their experiences, challenge thinking, and inspire each other to achieve goals. We also have a network of women ambassadors across the continent who lead engagement events in respective markets.


Scott Tierney, SVP Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Mastercard

Although society has made significant headway to promote gender parity in the workplace, women remain underrepresented in the workforce and in leadership roles, despite having the knowledge and capabilities required. Gender balance has been a key priority of our broader diversity and inclusion strategy – approximately 40% of our global workforce are women, and we adhere to practices that support equal pay for equal work.

Notably, Mastercard has a higher percentage of women managers in Asia compared to our other regions. Our family-friendly policies and programs include flexible working and support for returning mothers who have taken career breaks, and provide leadership mentoring to unlock opportunities.

Parity in the workplace also starts with access to quality education, and STEM education in particular. To that end, we aim to reach 200,000 girls around the world with our signature Girls4Tech education program by 2020, which seeks to encourage interest in STEM among young girls.


Chinmay Sharma, Director People and Culture, Philip Morris Malaysia

As Philip Morris Malaysia (PMM), an affiliate of Philip Morris International, transforms from selling cigarettes to becoming a smoke-free technology leader, we recognise that diverse teams and inclusive culture are needed to drive innovation and success.  PMM has introduced gender balance KPIs and tools to enable work-life practices, and a robust talent management system to ensure equal advancement opportunities for female talents.

As PMM is committed in ensuring a fair and equal remuneration is given to men and women for the same work, we are the first company in Malaysia to obtain the EQUAL-SALARY certification from an independent, not-for-profit, EQUAL-SALARY Foundation.

In Malaysia where gender pay gap is 23%*, wage parity represents a crucial step on the road to gender parity. For our employees, PMM’s achievement as the first EQUAL-SALARY certified company in Malaysia makes us an employer of choice committed to equality and to fostering an inclusive and dynamic workforce.

*according to World Economic Forum’s The Global Gender Gap Report 2018


Maansi Gagroo Jain, Regional Group HR Director, Wipro Unza Malaysia

Wipro Unza’s call to action is guided by our tenet of ‘Great Place to Belong’, which stems from our fundamental value of treating people with respect and being sensitive to both our people and surroundings. With 59% of our workforce consisting of women, we pride ourselves in being an equal opportunity employer with no gender discrimination.

We place priority on the advancement of women in leadership roles, ensuring that they move beyond the entry and middle career levels. Our ‘Women of Wipro’ (WoW) programme increases visibility for women in leadership roles, and fosters an environment where leaders acknowledge employees’ challenges, and understand their roles and lives.

We also invest in educating and changing mindsets of key stakeholders to support our commitment in creating a gender neutral, agile and bias-free workplace. Our policies are flexible, inclusive and open to change and we support the changing life stage needs of our women employees by offering customised working arrangements.


We still have about 10 more parts to our series focusing on women leadership, and bridging the gap in gender diversity in organisations. Stay tuned for more!

Part 1: Pearls of wisdom: Career advice from women leaders to their younger selves

Part 2: IWD2019 special: How CDL, Mars Inc, Standard Chartered Bank, and more are building balanced workplaces

Part 3: How leaders across Asia are taking responsibility to advocate a gender-balanced society

Part 4: Advice from 12 women leaders on overcoming career challenges

Part 6: If you could meet your younger self, what career advice would you give?

Part 7: ‘Don’t be afraid to be different’: Career advice from leaders across Asia

Part 8: 13 ways leaders like yourself can make an impact on gender equality

Part 9: How-To: 10 ideas you can adopt to help #BalanceForBetter

Part 10: Take a leaf out of these 10 women leaders’ career diary

Part 11: Action for change: How leaders from BASF, Emirates, Henkel, and more are taking responsibility for D&I

Part 12: Interviews with AXA Insurance, Cisco, HP, Roland Berger, and more on D&I issues

Part 13: #BalanceForBetter: Equal pay for equal work, meritocracy approach, and more

Part 14: Building diversity isn’t an HR role: How leaders across the board invest time into it

Part 15: [Watch] Nuggets of wisdom: 10 women leaders share career advice to their younger selves

Part 16: Be fearless and fight for your right: Tips for overcoming career challenges



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