Empowering women to pursue and advance their careers

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Diversity and inclusion at Umicore India

How can we, as a company, weave diversity into the fabric of our DNA? Over the years, Umicore has made great progress in fostering a diverse and inclusive, respectful workplace around the world. Take India, for example. When director and HR manager Pooja Shukla joined the Umicore India team in mid 2016, there were only two women at Pune plant. While today, the gender diversity ratio is 16%, a number that has increased three-fold.  

“Gender equality has improved greatly in India,” says Pooja Shukla. “Education has helped Indian women to become financially and economically independent from men. And yet, female representation in industries like manufacturing or chemicals is still fairly low, compared to the services sector. At Umicore India, we have managed to attract a fair deal of female colleagues to our Pune as well as Mumbai office. Since last year, we are now been focusing on initiatives to boost their engagement and empower them to pursue and advance their careers in order to make sure they stay on board.”  


Unleash your potential

”On International Women’s Day in March, we launched ‘Unleash your potential' training workshop and we treated all the women at Umicore to a day full of fun,” Pooja Shukla goes on to say. “We also premiered ‘‘Coaching circles' which focuses on development of competencies and strengthen soft skills, like emotional intelligence, stakeholder management, building resilience, etc. ” 

The feedback is really positive, as assistant manager Arpita Shaha highlights: “All these activities not only help us develop, grow and explore our potential but also make the workplace more fun and engaging. By connecting with our colleagues and sharing our experiences, we learn a lot from each other and get to know each other better.”  

“All the activities not only help us develop, grow and explore our potential but also make the workplace more fun and engaging.” 
Arpita Shaha, assistant manager, Umicore India 

Combatting implicit gender bias

“Umicore gives everyone the opportunity to grow in their jobs – women as well as men,” Arpita continues. “I see more and more women in leadership positions, which proves that Umicore acknowledges our capacities, achievements and motivation, irrespective of gender.“
 
“Still, there is no denying that there is implicit gender bias and deeply embedded unconscious prejudices and stereotypes in every workplace,” Pooja adds, referring to her own career at Umicore. “When the management appointed me as a director in addition to head of HR, hardly two years after my arrival at Umicore, there was quite a bit of skepticism and even criticism. That did, however, not stop me from aiming for the top, with full support of the management, I managed to prove my worth.”  


Diverse teams foster efficiency

“It’s amazing that this bias still exists and that we must keep combatting it. To me, a diverse and inclusive team fosters a dynamic culture. Numerous examples here at our Mumbai and Pune site have shown that it positively impacts our productivity, efficiency and our ability to innovate.  I am delighted that Umicore, as a company, is so deeply committed to instilling diversity and inclusion.” 
 
“Umicore is my first employer and I’ve gotten the chance to work on various assignments with colleagues from different functions globally. The company really encourages us to express ourselves and collaborate without any hierarchical boundaries or gender differences, all while according the same respect to every one of us,” Arpita concludes.

“To me, a diverse and inclusive team fosters a dynamic culture. Numerous examples here at our Mumbai and Pune site have shown that it positively impacts our productivity and efficiency.”   
Pooja Shukla, director & HR manager

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