Policies and Strategies Driving Inclusion and Productivity

On March 28th the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and Maternal Health Initiative, with the support of EMD Serono, discussed the intersections between women’s leadership, women’s health, and women’s economic prosperity in a panel discussion entitled Policies and Strategies Driving Inclusion and Productivity. The panel featured Tracy Haynes the Finance HR Leader and Business Manager for Microsoft LATAM, Lee Jourdan the Chief Diversity Officer for Chevron, Eileen Martin the Global Director of Inclusion at EMD Serono, and Francesca Molinaro the Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Director for Chemonics International.

The panelists focused discussion on the key policies driving diversity and inclusion and ultimately productivity of their companies. EMD Serono, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, laid the foundation by discussing their Healthy Women, Health Economies toolkit which highlights issue areas that need to be addressed in the workplace in order to promote women’s health, wellbeing, and economic participation. Eileen Martin discussed EMD Serono’s bold move to take their toolkit diagnostic and apply it to their global company. In this way, they have designed entry level, mid-level and re integration policies to ensure that women are able to rise in their career paths without experiencing gender biased barriers. One critical component of that is the direct intervention of the CEO and the fact that Martin as the Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion reports directly to the global CEO Belen Garijo.

Lee Jourdan emphasized the commitment of the CEO and the use of data to understand what is happening to women in various careers within Chevron. He talked about the importance of designing job descriptions that are truly gender blind, but also about ensuring that the hiring process is fair. He also discussed the move by Chevron to start designing equipment specifically for women and pointed out that we need to be identifying the unconscious biases that prevent women’s success.

Building on this Tracey Haynes highlighted the importance of using data, providing policies such as maternity and paternity leave (6 months maternity and 1 month paternity in the case of Microsoft LATAM) and flexible work schedules to ensure that women rise within the workforce and prevent them from dropping off at the middle management stage.

The panelist also discussed the role of men in sponsoring women. Jourdan talked about the Men Advocating Real Change program at Chevron, which focuses on the role men play in promoting gender equality and inclusion. The MARC program encourages men to model inclusive behaviors, influence more equitable talent management systems and processes, and build effective partnerships across genders. It was emphasized that men are a key player in ensuring diversity and inclusion. For example, studies show that women do not have a fair shot at a job unless the interview list contains at least 50% women and the job hiring panel includes women.

Francesca Molinaro discussed the importance of implementing these policies globally, the importance of inclusion which is making sure people of diverse backgrounds are included at all levels of their careers, and the intersectionality of gender with race, ethnicity and the global background. Molinaro emphasized the role of having open and honest discussion within a company about diversity and inclusion, and not being afraid to address the challenges head on by analyzing what is truly happening within a company’s HR systems.

They key for all was understanding that bias exists from hiring to promotion and to onboarding at all stages of a woman’s career, including the mid-career stage. Recognizing key areas such as hiring policies, job descriptions, the use of flex time and caregiving leave, and the importance of sponsorship is key to ensuring a truly diverse, and productive workforce.