HCL creates a platform for women leaders of tomorrow
HCL Technologies, a next-generation global technology company that helps enterprises reimagine their businesses for the digital age, is committed to helping forge gender parity through supporting women into leadership positions. At HCL, success is envisioned a little differently: HCL doesn’t just want to build high-tech solutions – it also works to uplift and nurture the communities it works in.
While many companies provide internal mentoring programs for their employees, HCL aims to provide a cross-industry, cross-functional, multi-geography, external-facing mentoring initiative for women. While gender balance in the workplace is a challenge across many industries, the technology sector still experiences a significant and considerable gap that is not closing fast enough – which is why HCL launched its own program in 2015.
In 2015, just 10% of CEOs in the Fortune Global 500 list were women, and as a global technology leader, HCL believed it could play a role in bridging this gap. HCL knew that equal representation would not just empower women but also communities, economies, and the world at large, and the Women Lead initiative was launched to drive this in 2015.
Women Lead: Driving positive change
Studies suggest that the most effective way to address poor female representation among corporate leadership is to facilitate mentorship. HCL set out to do exactly that: bringing together a mixture of industry leaders and aspiring women executives, HCL’s Women Lead initiative built a thoughtful and comprehensive 1:1 mentorship program.
Over the course of 12 weeks, each chapter of the Women Lead initiative contains more than a dozen top industry leaders acting as mentors, with each of them matched with an aspiring and promising female executive as a mentee.
Working together in pairs, mentee and mentor meet at least six times during the course of the program to share their insights and guidance. To ensure an effective and formal approach to mentorship, an Executive Coach designs, monitors and drives the initiative’s process.
To date, the initiative has successfully completed three chapters in Australia and one in the Nordics, and the movement will become a global one in the future.
The initiative evolves: Introducing the Circle of Influence
Over the years, the initiative evolved. While the Mentorship Program was the central focus, the initiative expanded to become a sustainable platform that brought both ends of the spectrum – industry experts and aspiring women leaders – together to create a powerful network.
Known as the Circle of Influence, this is a network female executives could rely on and turn to for guidance and mentorship. It has enabled a perpetual circle of learning and offered the scope and room to undertake additional activities, associations, and practices throughout the year, even after the initiative formally concluded. This brought together mentees and mentors of all the chapters across the globe to facilitate the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences.
The journey continues
Over the years, the initiative has helped several women leaders get the guidance and mentorship they needed to rise to the top of corporate leadership. However, while a lot has been achieved to date, there is still a long way to go.
PARTNER CONTENT: Developed in collaboration to support IWD's Women and Tech Mission.