As part of our series of 22 stories under the overarching theme of #ChooseToChallenge, the team at Human Resources Online has asked more than 60 HR leaders about their organisation's call-to-action in shaping a workforce that celebrates gender equity.

In this 15th part of our series, HR leaders from ELMO Software, Jabil Green Point, Lemi, Lenovo Singapore, MSD, and Revolut, share the following: 

  • Removing the grey areas where unconscious bias can develop.
  • Recognising that each individual has different strengths and one size does not fit all.
  • Fostering a workplace culture of positivity and equality.
  • Providing a supportive environment to our employees that is inclusive and safe.
  • Focusing on allyship and serving as active and vocal allies towards building an equitable workforce.
  • Actively investing in the women in the organisation and attracting more women to apply to the organisation.

Monica Watt, CHRO of ELMO Software

A reality hard for some organisations to accept is that unconscious bias exists and its negative impact on decision making. By acknowledging that unconscious bias exists organisations can address factors that lead to gender inequality, lack of diversity hiring practice creating a mono-culture workforce.

Leaders must take proactive steps to remove the grey areas where unconscious bias can develop.

For example, removing a candidate's name, date of birth, country of origin and other identifying characteristics can make the resume screening process far more open and without bias. Similarly, using a mix of genders, backgrounds and personalities to interview candidates can help reduce the risk of a gender and diversity imbalances.

Addressing inequality requires leaders to take an honest look at themselves and their business practice to intentionally do better.

Jessica Shyu, Vice President, Human Resources, Jabil Green Point

In Jabil, we define diversity as more than just gender. Diversity is employing people of various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with various lifestyles, experiences and interests. We want to recognise abilities and reward high performance.

We start by recognising that each individual has different strengths and one size does not fit all.

By establishing a diverse development program to promote self-awareness at an early stage of their careers, we promote authenticity in the way we collaborate with each other. This is done through the use of holistic and updated assessments.

Talent pipeline and development is a never-ending task. Once we have identified high potentials, we provide them with a timeline of 3-5 years and place them in a high-performance team to hone their skills and grow their capabilities.

Besides training on the job, we have a robust organisational design plan that includes role expansion, rotation and succession planning to broaden our top talents’ competencies through a structured curriculum.

Finally, Jabil leaders’ commitment to make the future of the workplace a diverse reality is also high on our priority list.

Elaine Carag, Chief of Staff for Lemi

Organisational stereotypes are increasingly disrupted, especially in startups like us.

Our hiring criteria is merit-based instead of gender-based, focusing on candidate strengths that can add long-term value to the team. We also foster a workplace culture of positivity and equality. No favouritism is shown towards seniority, sex or the nationality of our members.

The first step in challenging gender bias and inequality is acknowledging the issue and engaging in open dialogues among employees to spread awareness and education. Workplace mentoring is also a critical tool as it helps employees learn, normalises cross-gender interaction at the workplace and dispels bias.

Loh Siew Kim, HR partner at Lenovo Singapore

Diversity and Inclusion remains at the heart of Lenovo’s success and with the belief that change comes from within, we are committed to providing a supportive environment to our employees that is inclusive and safe.

Almost 20% of executive roles worldwide at Lenovo are held by women. We are determined to increase these numbers through our diverse hiring, and through our internal career advancement initiatives such as Women in Lenovo Leadership (WILL) and Women’s Leadership Development Programme (WLDP) to support our female colleagues.

There is also the “Allyship” programme, which emphasises the need for every employee to support, advocate and act as allies, through actions and behaviours that promote representation, celebrate diversity, and increase inclusion in our workplace.

Lenovo also has ongoing D&I training that trains our employees on gender sensitivity, bias reduction, and the fundamental understanding of their roles in creating an inclusive environment.

Noora Alsagoff, Head, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, MSD

Gender equity is not just about gender – it’s about focusing on how women and men can enable each other to be the best that they can be, and together, work towards overcoming the deep-seated societal mindsets that exist at an individual level.

This is an important journey, and everyone in our company is accountable for creating a culture that accepts and embraces each individual for their unique background, perspective, and life experience.

Allyship is a key focus area of our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, with leaders and colleagues across the company serving as active and vocal allies towards building an equitable workforce – regardless of, not just gender, but also age, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion, and physical ability.

Hannah Francis, Head of Engagement & Executive Assistance (Culture & Engagement, EAs, Diversity & Inclusion, Learning & Development), Revolut

Our call-to-action is about education and implementation. One of Revolut’s core company mottos is that we “Never Settle”.

We acknowledge that more can always be done to educate our workforce on the importance of gender equity.

Over the last six months, we have promoted an open dialogue at every level of the business around gender diversity and equity. We have taken steps to assess what gaps the business may have, what the potential barriers to success for our female employees are.

We do our best to ensure that we actively invest in the amazing women we have hired, as well as attract more women to apply to work here.

We have begun the development of a “Women in Leadership” programme, aimed at increasing the percentage of women in Leadership positions. This includes a mentorship programme where senior male and female colleagues mentor our female employees, fostering an environment where they can progress in their careers.

Photos / provided

First row, L-R: Monica Watt, Jessica Shyu, and Elaine Carag. Second row, L-R: Loh Siew Kim, Noora Alsagoff, and Hannah Francis.

Human Resources Online is on Telegram! Follow us @humanresourcesonline or click here for all the latest weekly HR and manpower news from around the region.