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#PressForProgress: How 3M, Mastercard, TWG Tea, and more are pushing for gender inclusivity

In this third part, of our eight-part series for International Women's Day, we're glad to showcase more ideas on how organisations are pushing for gender inclusivity.

This time, see what these six organisations - 3M, Aon, FedEx Express, Mastercard, Roche Diagnostics, and TWG Tea - have to say when faced with the question "What is your company doing to push for progress when it comes to thinking, acting and being gender inclusive?"

Joan Wong, head of human resources, 3M Singapore

At 3M, we believe that diversity is essential to innovation, and inclusiveness is an integral part of our culture which works well for us in the matrix organisation.

As part of our global sustainability goal, 3M will double our pipeline of diverse talent in management by 2025. We plan to do so in a number of ways.

We have a diversity and inclusion (D&I) plan covering the entire employee life-cycle including talent acquisition, development, advancement, retention, and engagement.

Even though there are different dimensions to the overall concept of diversity and inclusion, our current focus is on gender diversity. For example, whenever we fill a position, we will make sure that the slate has adequate female representation. We are also constantly seeking out female talent from science, technical, engineering, mathematics (STEM) disciplines to strengthen diversity in the areas of R&D and manufacturing.

Empowered by 3M's global effort to advance women leadership worldwide, we launched a local women leadership forum (WLF) chapter in 2016; with the aim to attract and develop leaders at all levels of the organisation through various initiatives to push the agenda forward. These include lean-in circles, WLF dialogue sessions with senior executives, mentoring programmes, just to name a few.

Toni Carroll, regional talent management leader, Asia, Aon

Aon is committed to creating a winning and inclusive culture where all employees have opportunities for growth and development.

Our diversity and inclusion strategy aligns with our overall business and talent goals, and leads workforce priorities in key areas including cultural competence, workforce diversity, inclusive culture and unmatched talent.  The strategy is embedded into the Aon leadership model and the Aon colleague experience, which enables us to leverage and maintain strong leadership support, a compelling business case, and action plans that promote gender diversity and inclusion.

To implement this strategy across the organisation, diversity and inclusion is set as a core parameter in recruitment and includes providing a diverse candidate pool and selection panels, targeted mentoring and sponsorship to support career progression, explicit support for female employees through flexible work practices, and auditing the progress to monitor measurable change.

In addition, Aon developed the diversity and inclusion framework consisting of a diversity and inclusion council and the Aon women's international network (WIN) business resource group. The council includes members from leadership and HR, with a primary focus of establishing a governance framework including a clear communication strategy, a diversity and inclusion dashboard, and training in inclusive practices for colleagues and people managers.

Established in 2006, WIN represents all female employees in the organisation. For 2018, the key areas of focus for WIN are establishing gender diversity targets for 2020, developing high potential females through sponsorship programmes and leveraging Aon's membership in women in banking and finance, flexible work and family care support, and a common view on gender pay parity at Aon.

Audrey Cheong, managing director, FedEx Express Singapore

The success of FedEx is due to our talented team members, a shared commitment towards our people-first philosophy, and fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment which we can all thrive in.

At FedEx Express Singapore, over 50% of management is composed of females. We also recently launched the FedEx women's network (FWN) in Singapore - a first for the Asia-Pacific region.

FWN aims to be a channel dedicated to women - one that serves to help them address challenges specific to females in the workplace, facilitate further professional development, or simply be an additional outlet for them to connect with peers.

FWN members can connect with senior executives for mentoring and support. In addition, we hold regular "coffee and connect" sessions for members ranging from meet-and-greets with visiting female executives who share personal career growth stories, to simple catch ups and networking. Q&A round table sessions are also scheduled with FedEx leaders to provide a direct line for FWN members to bring up questions on matters they are concerned with, in a manner that encourages candid conversation and a free exchange of ideas.

Research shows there are many benefits for businesses that make diversity a priority and promote inclusion. But, the more important reason why we embrace diversity and inclusion - it's simply the right thing to do.

Luis Campedelli, executive vice president, human resources, Asia Pacific, Mastercard

Mastercard firmly believes that diversity and innovation are closely connected. Ensuring we attract, support, promote, develop and retain the best women is essential if we are to become a more dynamic, innovative business, and a force for good.

With this in mind, we have developed a holistic approach towards gender inclusion that encompasses educational initiatives, hiring practices and work benefits.

To build a thriving pipeline of female talent, we partner with various organisations to encourage and inspire young girls to pursue paths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. One such program is Girls4Tech™, our signature education initiative. Here, Mastercard employees mentor girls aged 10 - 13, and guide them along fun, discovery-based STEM programs

We also provide range of scholarships and internship programmes, which provide female students and graduates the opportunity to gain insights into the business of our technology company and gain confidence before entering the working world.

As part of our strategy to retain female talent, we have established an array of flexible work arrangements and benefits associated designed for the needs and expectations of modern women professionals. We are strong champions of female leadership and representation - as of December 2017, nearly 40% of our employees are female.

Goh Chor Lim, head of HR Asia Pacific, Roche Diagnostics

The first step to being gender inclusive is to create an environment that supports women at work. At Roche Diagnostics, we believe that a diverse workforce and an inclusive working environment provide the inspiration and innovation on which we depend. At the core of our philosophy is the desire to help all our employees achieve their full potential.

For instance, in Singapore, we have flexible working hours, and the same maternity and childcare benefits for all women, regardless of nationality or marital status. We also offer free diagnostic testing like the HPV DNA test and Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) to all women employees, and the spouse or partner of male employees as we strongly believe that early testing and detection can save lives.

To us, diversity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do; it is our competitive advantage, and a commitment we make to developing women leaders. In China and India, we have been running women leadership programmes which aim to empower women to take on positions of increasing responsibilities.

Ultimately, both women and men benefit from having female role models. Today, 36% of our regional leadership team comprises women and at country level where we build our talent pipeline, women represent 50% of the local leadership teams.

Joanne Chew, senior human resources manager, TWG Tea (head of HR at TWG Tea)

We have always taken pride in cultivating a supportive culture of inclusiveness at TWG Tea, embracing diversity in all aspects which goes beyond gender. Our HR policies are designed to support and advance our employees throughout their careers as we encourage diversity and equal opportunities at every juncture. We also believe in offering the right opportunities to our employees, regardless of background, strictly keeping bias out of our organisation.

In fact, TWG Tea created the secret garden tea in 2015 in support of the Singapore Committee for UN Women, and we donated a portion of the proceeds to the UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality. We recognise that outside of our workplace, women still remain significantly under-represented in wider communities around the world and we are committed to changing this.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, we cannot forget the vital contributions of our women who make our strong female leaders and role models. I'm happy to share that around 48% of the managerial and senior management roles at TWG Tea are helmed by women!

Part one: IWD2018 special: How CapitaLand, DBS, P&G and more are pressing for progress

Part two: Pearls of wisdom: Women leaders share powerful tips on career success

Part four: Journey to the top: Women leaders recount challenges throughout their career

Part five: Wise words from 15 women leaders on career success

Part six: Challenges women face when climbing the corporate ladder

Part seven: Closing the gap: How Henkel, Mondeléz, and more advocate for gender inclusivity

Part eight: Breaking down walls: Women leaders recount career challenges

Photo / 123RF

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