Sutherland shares life stories of female employees for International Women's Day
July 11, 2019
Sutherland, a business process transformation company, truly got behind International Women's Day (IWD).
In addition to their wide range of localized activity across countries, they dedicated a whole edition of their CONNECT magazine to IWD.
Sutherland celebrated IWD with the aim of creating a positive difference for women in its business and the community.
The company's IWD campaign aimed to raise awareness around gender parity and drive a more inclusive workplace where people can be embraced for who they are, the perspective they have and their contribution to the organization, regardless of gender or other aspects of their identity.
The company is committed to achieving gender parity across the company but understands there are areas where greater balance is required when it comes to senior positions and in certain geographies such as India, Mexico and Kosovo.
Encouraging leaders to pledge their support of gender equality
For its campaign, Sutherland started at the top.
At a leadership business review meeting, the organization called upon its executive leadership team to ask them to make a pledge to help forge gender parity.
For IWD, Sutherland hosted panel dicussions and shared life stories from these leaders to increase visibility around issues and to start a conversation about gender parity.
The power of sharing inspirational stories
Sharing stories about women's experiences can help raise greater awareness about the importance of gender equality.
Sutherland got creative for their IWD activity and launched 14 inspirational stories from their female employees across their intranet.
Sutherland's 'Life Stories' received many encouraging comments from readers and requests for further activity.
Using IWD to reinforce company behaviors
Sutherland wanted its IWD campaign to be personally related to the company, particularly its One Sutherland Team culture and its Winning Behaviors focus where the company describes how people work with each other to create a positive and inclusive culture. It all starts with complete trust.
Once their people have complete trust, they are able to have 'healthy debate' and Sutherland believed this tied in very well with IWD because having healthy debate is only possible when people are encouraged from all walks of life, each with their own unique perspective, to come to the table.
A global celebration of International Women's Day
Sutherland offices around the world celebrated IWD in their own personal and meaningful way.
In India, Sutherland helped launch the Gender Lab in partnership with the University of Madras.
Furthermore, employees across India gathered together to listen to a panel of speakers which included their Country Head, Head of HR and Head of Compliance for Sutherland Healthcare.
They were also joined by Pranjal Patil, India’s first visually challenged woman Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, now in the senior role of the city of Ernakulam’s new Assistant Collector.
The panel discussed the many barriers that stand in the way of a gender balanced world, including educational barriers due to their traditional caretaker role, and the stereotyping in the workplace where strong women are negatively described as aggressive as opposed to their male counterparts being described as assertive and authoritative.
In Bulgaria, three of the company's leaders gathered in Sutherland's Serdika site in Sofia to be part of a panel discussion. They spoke about women in technology and how more women should be encouraged to pursue a career in tech. He also shared that the gender balance in Sutherland Bulgaria is impressive. One speaker commented that “It is all about mindset. If you believe in yourself, there are no limits.” She also reinforced the importance for women to stick together and support each other to succeed.
In China, a florist was invited onsite not only to teach employees flower arranging skills, but also to help them understand that it is not a gender-based job but that anyone can participate - young, old, male or female.
Sutherland Philippines organized a panel discussion that centered on gender equality at the workplace. A Sutherland executive shared her successes as a career woman while another talked about facing growth opportunities with no fear. A further speaker discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by the LGBT community. Their inspiring stories paved the way to a deeper understanding of equal opportunity, trust and integrity, and gender parity. Across sites, a Balance Wall was created that enabled all employees to express their views for how to drive greater gender equality.
IWD was celebrated with passion in Sutherland's Las Vegas site. A guest line up for its panel saw Sutherland managers engage in lively debate followed by a panel featuring some of its client partners. This was followed by some great networking that saw people at all levels mingling together and writing their own goals for helping to create a gender-balanced work place.
Meanwhile in Jamaica, Sutherland's program teams saw IWD as an opportunity to gather 51 volunteers to support the Homestead Girls’ Home in New Kingston. Between them, they spent a combined 250 hours to raise just over USD 1,450 as well as spending dedicated time with the young women. In addition, three of Sutherland's female leaders and further external invited speakers convened a special IWD panel discussion.
And in Colombia, IWD was celebrated with a calendar of events run for the entire month. The Sutherland team held round tables with women in technology and leadership sharing their career journeys, challenges and advice. A key focus for these discussions was the importance of diversity and ensuring different perspectives in helping drive healthy debate.
Small local activity can make a big difference
Sutherland's IWD activity and locally relevant events proved to be a great success for the company in terms of connecting its people and the business to the organization's overall mission in a meaningful way.