Empowering women to succeed at work promotes diversity of thought and innovation, helps us better understand and meet the needs of our customers, and is good business practice at the most basic level.
Aspiring female leaders at Vodafone are encouraged to participate in leadership programs like The Dream Collective’s Emerging Leaders Program. Business Manager, Bianca Theodore, was even selected to feature in a micro-documentary about her leadership development:
We strongly believe that implementing sustainable solutions (rather than quick fixes) will be more effective in making Vodafone more inclusive and an employer of choice for women in the long term. That’s why when addressing gender equality in the workplace, we focus on three key areas: encouraging women to participate, thinking of ways to retain women, and promoting female talent by investing in them from the start.
So, how do we encourage women to participate?
Vodafone recognises that encouraging women to participate in a traditionally male-dominated industry requires two solutions:
- Providing opportunities to women already in the workforce
- Exposing future generations to technology and having female role models in the industry to inspire them
That’s why we’ve implemented many initiatives to encourage younger women still at university and school to develop an interest in technology.
We held our inaugural Bring Your Daughter To Work Day earlier this year, and just launched our first Coding Camp Trial this week during the July school holidays. Our partnership with The Tech Girl Movement has informed our approach with children and aims to support the development of a more equal and diverse Technology workforce. We also encourage school engagement at both a tertiary and high-school level driven through our Women in Technology program.
How do we retain women in the workforce?
When starting a family, women may face barriers at work that can contribute to them leaving employment, so Vodafone has introduced initiatives to make working flexibly more accessible for everyone.
One of the many reasons Vodafone is Australia’s 18th Top Company on LinkedIn’s prestigious Top Companies list is due to our progressive global parental leave policy, which offers employees who have been with Vodafone for 12 months or more 16 weeks of paid parental leave. Parents returning to full time work have the option to work four days per week but be paid for five days in the first six months after they return to work. Vodafone also encourages a flexible working environment, permitting eligible employees to work from home and offering extra leave to employees that have been with the company for longer. Our Vacation Care trial program also aims to support our employees who are parents with flexibility during school holidays.
Another important problem that women face which Vodafone acknowledges is the imbalance of superannuation – on average, women’s superannuation balances are 52.8% lower than men’s, according to WGEA statistics.
Vodafone has addressed this inequality by providing a Super Bump program for female employees that have been with the company for more than 12 months. Eligible female employees receive two extra payments of $250 per year, starting in January 2017.
How do we promote more women to senior levels at Vodafone?
Vodafone is committed to efforts that will develop emerging female leadership talent to support their succession into senior executive positions. This is all about us making sure we change gender balance at senior levels into the future.
We’ve implemented a new company-wide performance management approach which allows leaders to focus on the growth, development and ambition of their employees rather than past achievements. Being more aware of development needs and ambition allows us to tailor support for our employees.
Emerging leaders at Vodafone are also encouraged to participate in targeted development programs like the Lead Like A Woman program and the Dream Collective Emerging Leaders Program.
At Vodafone, we want to do our best to drive sustainable change that supports a balanced representation of women throughout our organisation, both now and into the future. Women provide an invaluable contribution to the workforce and deserve equal opportunities to lead, so we are committed to helping them achieve their goals.
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