A strong sense of camaraderie can be forged by integrating a comprehensive DEI strategy with inclusive leadership, affirms Jessica Shyu, Vice President, Human Resources, Jabil Green Point, Jabil.
The growing evidence connecting diverse leadership and workforces with innovation and enhanced financial performance has been promising. According to a BCG study, increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more innovation and improved financial performance in both developing and developed economies.
Similarly, a McKinsey & Company report found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to gain above average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. Regarding ethnic and cultural diversity, the same report noted that top quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth segment by 36% in terms of profitability.
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As a global business hub, Singapore is home to more than 7,000 multinational corporations and over 1.1mn foreigners working and residing in the city-state. Ideally, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) should be embraced and celebrated as a commonplace practice across organisations, making Singapore unique and successful in the global arena.
However, another study demonstrated that just over half of local companies had less than 20% of women in leadership roles, while some believed their companies were not doing enough to support disabled workers.
A worldwide manufacturing community
With more than 260,000 employees in over 100 sites across 30 countries, Jabil - a global manufacturing solutions provider - is driven by a common purpose to foster a positive impact on the respective local community and environment.
Amongst the challenges we face is internalising the same values unanimously. At Jabil, promoting a culture of respect; providing opportunities for employees to shine, and encouraging open and honest sharing with no fear of repercussions are high on our priority list. To achieve this, we encourage a bottom-up approach where employees and management are free to explore and implement creative ways to exemplify positive behaviours on a daily basis.
Jabil spearheaded the 'Your Voice Matters' global employee engagement survey in April 2021 to ensure that employees’ thoughts on their wellbeing, inclusion, and like-minded aspects could be raised.
Employee feedback was effectively used to enrich their welfare, enabling them to act with integrity and to uphold diversity and inclusion efforts while simultaneously receiving the support required to help them succeed as valued employees.
Empowering women in manufacturing
A manner in which we recognise talent is through our Jabil Joules platform. Launched in 2013, the project provided Jabil’s employees – both male and female - with an avenue for inspiring future generations on becoming successful in the manufacturing industry, which has since grown to support larger diversity efforts across the organisation.
The initiative currently includes localised programmes, community outreach activities, large regional events and a blog where leaders share their insights on diversity and showcase their achievements both within and beyond Jabil.
Walking the talk, we recognise talent when we see it. In September 2020, Singapore-born May Yap was promoted to the position of Chief Information Officer (CIO), positioning her as the most senior female executive in the enterprise.
Jabil has nominated women for the Manufacturing Institute’s annual STEP Ahead Awards since 2015, which recognises women who are trailblazers in the science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) industries and who serve as inspirations in their communities.
In 2020, an internal development programme for Jabil’s STEP Ahead Award nominees was launched and the women would convene virtually over the course of six months to gain access to growth opportunities and to develop their internal network.
Each group of approximately 15 women from diverse functions interacted with various Jabil leaders, including CEO Mark Mondello, to share life lessons, learn about diverse professional experiences and receive personal career advice, portraying as mentors and volunteers in their communities.
Manufacturing an abled community and workforce
As an extension of Jabil’s DEI schemes, a partnership with the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games was cemented to demonstrate Jabil’s culture of contributing through charitable donations and volunteerism.
On an internal level, Jabil’s Employee Disability Programme promotes disability inclusion and awareness through education, boosting employment by sharing best practices, updating workplace accommodations and creating a space where everyone is free to play the role of their true selves.
For example, our Guangzhou site is a manifestation of this noble and worthwhile effort by employing approximately 200 people of various disabilities.
Learning as we go
We have found that genuine communications, employee recognition programmes and leveraging our divergent perspectives can deliver superior solutions and outcomes. A strong sense of camaraderie and belonging can be forged through the integration of this comprehensive DEI strategy with an inclusive leadership, mitigating biases in a systematic and impartial manner and encouraging diverse talent development.
This confirms that if undertaken correctly, DEI serves as an influential element in promoting an equal, safe and equitable work environment for all to thrive in their long-term career growth. Apart from being perceived favourably and with sterling admiration, enterprises would indeed be generously rewarded with the adoption of DEI practices and policies in this age of varying degrees of differences in the global stage.
Image / Provided (author Jessica Shyu)