With 2,000 employees worldwide, Columbus UK developed a number of initiatives that help women to increase their visibility and apply for senior positions
With Diversity and Inclusion as one of the IAMCP’s key strategic mandates this year, Columbus UK is leading the charge in raising the bar for equality in the workplace. And the organisation isn’t just talking the talk; Columbus UK has made Diversity & Inclusion part of its overall growth strategy, demonstrating examples of the principle and providing its employees with standards that they can embrace and to which they can aspire.
It was under the guidance of Mary Hunter, Managing Director at Columbus, the winner of the 2018 IAMCP Leadership Award for Women in Technology, and Global Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion, that Columbus started to create more opportunities for women to take senior roles.
For instance, male leaders within Columbus are mentoring women in their teams with the objective of increasing the number of female applicants to more senior positions.
New job opportunities are now listed on Women in Technology boards to encourage female applicants.
And with over 2,000 employees worldwide, Columbus is currently in the process of formalising a global diversity and inclusion programme. The programme will be conducted through the corporate employee training portal, Columbus Academy, making the initiative available to all staff around the world, and its main objective is to raise awareness on a global level.
“I have had experiences in my career where I haven’t been given the same opportunities as my male colleagues and have had to work harder to prove my worth, often taking the jobs no one wanted. I also haven’t been given the same title and recognition as my counterparts, and I proved my position through consistent results and determination before demanding the title and sticking up for what I believed was rightfully mine.” – Mary Hunter, Managing Director of Columbus UK
Here’s how Columbus conducts its Diversity and Inclusion strategy:
- International Women’s Day 2019 workshop for all female Columbus employees and the partners of male employees, focussed on the empowerment of women through the sharing of success strategies to overcome workplace challenges.
- Women in business luncheons and events in the UK and globally, to raise awareness and provide opportunities for women to share their own journeys and inspire others.
- Flexible work hours in support of family life and to enable women to return to the workplace while juggling family responsibilities to actively encourage parents to continue working.
- Motivational speaking to inspire confidence for all to feel empowered in their roles and to build a team ethos of an army of leaders.
- An open-door policy and a safe, confidential environment where employees can speak openly about personal or professional challenges and find non-judgemental support to achieve resolution.
- A shared diversity mind-set that everyone on the team is a valued member and brings their own experiences and viewpoints to every situation, delivering more innovative ideas and results.
- A global graduate curriculum in its 8th year of operation and a local apprenticeship programme to help those looking for their first job roles in a STEM career.
- A diverse employee base: in the UK office alone, Columbus’s employees represent over 20 nationalities and 30% of the team is female.
- Deeply committed to driving change through STEM education, it’s difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of applications and so they are leading the way by going into schools to share knowledge and help to educate the next generation.
“Diversity and Inclusion is not just something that organizations need to think about, but rather make it the strategic starting point for their growth plan; it has been shown that businesses which embrace diversity and drive it are more competitive and more successful. I continue to fight for diversity in all forms and I push for female equality so that others don’t have to go through the same experiences that I have. I believe that I can truly make a difference in our industry for the next generation and that keeps me driving my goal to inspire more change.” – Mary Hunter
It is clearly Columbus’s mission to continue to support, promote and grow diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The objective is to ensure that all team members can reap the benefits of an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and able to participate to reach their full potential – because Diversity and Inclusion is in everyone’s job description.