Walk the diversity talk, urge leaders
Singapore – Leaders need to embrace diversity, inclusivity and fairness themselves before the values can be incorporated into the organisation’s culture successfully. That was the key message from leaders at the recent AMEX diversity@work panel.
With a highly diverse market and the changing workforce demographics, it has become imperative for companies to keep up with the change and tap into a pool of diverse talent.
However, to do that would require a culture mindset change in the organisation. And this has to start from the leaders.
Halimah Yacob, MP and chair of Tripartite Centre for Fair Employment, says, “When there is strong endorsement from the top, when key leaders in the organisation believe in diversity, inclusivity and fairness, that [change] becomes a lot easier because that permeates as a culture downwards.”
Janice Hulse, managing director of Cisco, Asia Pacific, agrees as she said support from top Cisco leadership was critical for the successful implementation of diversity and inclusion values in their workforce.
She says, “Now from top to bottom, inclusion is being reflected. Without leadership endorsement, it’s very difficult for us to drive that [inclusion].”
A diverse culture will boost business profitability as well. Hulse adds, “Diverse teams are more innovative and productive. There is proven correlation in Cisco between higher business results and diversity.”
To increase the success rate of retaining diverse talent, companies should look towards creating an engaging workplace for their employees.
Rachel Yeow, VP and GM, APAC, Australia, American Express Global Travelers Cheques, says introducing work life balance and flexibility programmes have allowed AMEX to hire and retain diverse talent effectively.
Yeow says, “We have specially adapted flexibility programmes according to Asian countries’ needs. There are flexi leave for employees, caregivers and the opportunity to work from home when relevant.”
- American Express Bank
- Cisco Systems
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