The Umicore Women In Business program
We are closing the gap and with zero inequality, we go for skill, effort, talent, responsibility and resourcefulness. Our ESG strategy “Let’s go for zero” is not only about achieving gender parity among managers. It is also about investing in our female talent to bring more agility to the way they lead. At Umicore, we have chosen agility as the best way of working. So we have developed the Leadership Compass, a guide for all our employees designed to instill passion and drive, engage with team members to attain a common goal, care for all colleagues and dare to put forward new and innovative solutions. With these ambitions, in October 2021 we set up the Women In Business (WIB) program in China to strengthen the identity and leadership skills of female managers and build closer connections.
“Leadership programs are well established and open for participation at Umicore. However, as this remains a male-dominated industry, we notice that female participants are in the minority” shares Diana Dai, Talent Manager at APAC. So, we created the opportunity to bring together 19 female colleagues from different business units and sites and enhance their influencing and leadership skills while giving them a safe platform to openly share their experiences and express their concerns.
“It was a great opportunity to have face-to-face encounters with other female colleagues, enabling us to learn about different functions within Umicore and gain more insights from other sites”.
Daisy Luo, Logistics and Sales Admin Manager
The five-day program was especially designed to promote women’s unique strengths and perspectives in leadership and business with a view to cascading these competencies throughout the organization. But for the majority, the biggest challenge is to manage their career while maintaining a work-life balance. “We want to do our best for our families and in our career, and the program has strengthened my belief that we can be strong in both” Diana stresses. One of the key take-aways from this session is creating awareness among family members of the importance of balancing time. Because the support of their family will also help them succeed in their careers.
“I still remember some wonderful words that were shared during the program: ‘Female managers not only need to balance the relationship between work and family. They also need to consider “me”’ or ‘There is no distinction between male leadership and female leadership. A good leader should combine toughness with gentleness’” Linna Han, Analytical Lab Manager recalls.
Today, all participants have paired up for peer coaching sessions and a group coaching meeting is held every three months. This has turned into a networking community to continue engaging in the topic. HR is also involved and is taking note of all the input and feedback to strengthen an inclusive work culture throughout the organization. Given the Covid-19 situation, it was not possible to deploy the initial idea to include colleagues from all APAC countries, but the coaching has proved so successful that a virtual session is already planned for 2022.
“I learned how to use female power at work, including communication skills when facing challenging situations, and how to develop leadership skills.
I recommend that every female colleague joins this program”.
Irina Sun, Senior Team Manager
At Umicore, we lead from where we stand, and the way we lead is connected with the way we think: our goal is to be inclusive and to leverage the power of diversity.