True D&I is about mindsets and about embracing a culture in which diversity is accepted in everything we do and in every decision we make, says Jarrod Patterson, HR Director, Southeast Asia, Henkel.

With a silver win for Excellence in HR Communication Strategy and a bronze win for Excellence in Women Empowerment Strategy at HR Excellence Awards 2020, Singapore, Henkel’s culture of shared values, clear framework for collaboration, and a strong sense of belonging continue to be reflected in its diversity programmes and leadership commitments.

Hear more in this interview with Jarrod Patterson, Human Resource Director, Southeast Asia, & HR Business Partner for Adhesives Operations & Supply Chain, Asia Pacific at Henkel Singapore. 

Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?

At Henkel, one of our corporate values is people, which is stated as “We value, challenge and reward our people.” A strong culture, shared values and a clear framework for collaborating as one team are key for Henkel’s future success, while fostering a strong sense of belonging.

Among many initiatives, Henkel has introduced the Leadership Commitments to all employees globally in 2019. With these commitments, Henkel aims to foster a culture of collaboration and empowerment, upskill our employees on future capabilities and enable our people to grow and develop. Our Leadership Commitments thus set high expectations when it comes to leadership, agility, and collaboration.

Thousands of leadership activation sessions were held around the globe with more than 50,000 colleagues engaged in sessions to ensure a common and rich understanding.

How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role have the Leadership Commitments played in helping make this initiative a reality?

Our HR strategy and initiatives, with the Leadership Commitments at the core, help us to drive cultural transformation, talent development, succession planning and purposeful growth across the entire company. We belief that leadership is everyone’s business and actively foster an inclusive culture. We encourage all employees to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and contribute actively towards shaping the future of Henkel.

Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?

When rolling out new HR programmes, we are mindful some take longer to get on board. We do our best to drive engagement across all levels and sites, using local languages and different communication formats and channels.

At Henkel, we have a long history of engaging our employees and encouraging an open feedback culture. This feedback from employees in different countries and from different levels and departments has helped to refine and shape our Leadership Commitments and various HR programmes.

As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your game plan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Our 2020 HR awards in Women Empowerment Strategy and HR Communication are recognition of the local team and Henkel’s strategy at a global level.

We evaluate our diversity and inclusion profile through a number of hard and soft metrics, but go beyond these numbers and statistics. It’s about our mindsets and about embracing a culture in which diversity is accepted in everything we do and in every decision we make.

We actively promote it among our employees, raise awareness and foster an environment that welcomes and embraces different perspectives, cultures, and diversity of thoughts.

In 2019, a global Diversity Challenge was held at Henkel for the first time. All employees were invited in their teams to show how they experience diversity and how it positively contributes to business success. With over 300 submissions from 45 countries that took part in this challenge internally, Henkel Singapore was awarded as one of the grand winners for the 2019 Diversity Challenge.

We are glad to be recognised yet again on the similar initiative this time externally through 2020 HR Excellence Award.

One of HR’s biggest responsibilities this year has been crisis communication and engagement, as a bridge between the management and staff. What are some lessons you’ve learnt in an eventful year of improving communication?

The current global health crisis has required organisations to ensure they regularly and effectively communicate with their employees. An increasingly important focus during this crisis has been regular communication and the physical safety, mental health and overall wellbeing of our employees. The experience has reinforced the importance about honesty, transparency and speed when communicating.

The human resources departments provide important guidance to staff during times of crisis. It’s important to communicate with honesty and quickly on topics that impact the workplace. This means being clear on the key messages, staying objective and factual, while showing empathy, care and concern.

At Henkel, we have been doing everything in our power to safeguard our employees, defend business continuity and reduce the spread of the virus. We are also now ramping up for the new norm, whilst ensuring the safety and health of our employees, customers, partners and communities as our highest priority.

Photo / Provided

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section! 

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.