By Jenna Goldthorpe, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Siemens and Harriet Padina, Diversity & Inclusion Community Manager at Siemens.
Since working with Siemens, who signed up to VERCIDA's Leader package in August 2019, the company has had 5,204 profile views and 9929 article views.
We spoke to Jenna and Harriet about why they chose to work with VERCIDA, what the experience has been like and what it means to lead the D&I strategies at Siemens.
1. What does D&I personally mean to you?
Jenna: I am passionate about people being able to achieve their full potential, no matter their background, and contribute their perspective and abilities in a safe, positive and supportive environment where their differences are valued. I fundamentally believe it is the right thing and, as a win/win, it also makes a positive difference to the environment and performance of companies. As we know, diversity sparks ideas!
2. Are you optimistic about diversity issues?
Jenna: I am optimistic about diversity issues, I’ve seen such a visible rise in awareness, appreciation and embracing the beauty diversity can bring – both in the business case around diversity and the moral one. I’ve seen this internally at Siemens and at the various external events attended.
It is a core topic that brings everyone together and, at Siemens, our senior leadership team have prioritised it as a strategic value ‘add topic’, so it is visibly seen driven from the top as well as grass roots activities.
3. What does VERCIDA mean to you?
Jenna/Harriet: An opportunity for Siemens to truly represent the society we live in by being innovative in the way we attract talent, by showcasing the great diversity we have and that everyone has a place here. We know we need to do things differently if we want to make a difference in driving diverse attraction.
4. Has VERCIDA given more visibility to your diversity and inclusion initiatives?
Jenna/Harriet: VERCIDA has challenged us as an organisation to ensure that the great work we’re doing for diversity and inclusion is shared externally and in one space. By shining a spotlight on various topics, it is easier for potential new talent to understand about our culture and how much of a priority diversity is for Siemens.
5. For us, VERCIDA means values, equality, respect, culture, inclusivity, diversity and accessibility- Does that resonate with you and your experience of working with VERCIDA?
Jenna/Harriet: Yes of course.
6. How has VERCIDA helped your business?
Jenna/Harriet: VERCIDA has experience of working with other organisations on diversity and inclusion and so is able to share great examples on how to communicate what we’re doing well. Although we have D&I specific pages on our external website, VERCIDA has challenged us to share more than we already had available and through one channel.
VERCIDA’s advice has shown us the importance of continually keeping our stories fresh and made us realise that we already do so much that we don’t let the world know about.
In addition, for the first time, we have detailed, rich diversity data on how applicants are viewing us, where we need to improve and where we are doing well, and by how much. This data aligns with the higher-level data we’ve analysed and helps us in the direction and initiatives we take to make an impact on our goals of diversity
7. What excites you about VERCIDA.com and its development?
Jenna/Harriet: We’re excited by the developments VERCIDA is making to align with other partners we’re working with i.e. glassdoor, to help inspire our brand identity. VERCIDA are looking to grow into other countries where we are present too; as VERCIDA grows, its customer base increases and this extends the reach for Siemens’ candidate attraction.
8. How could we improve our VERCIDA.com site?
Jenna/Harriet: We have very specific branding for our organisation and a common thread for our D&I work; it would be good to have greater possibility to display our work on VERCIDA pages in a way that truly represents Siemens. More interesting templates for stories with freedom to change colours would help us retain our brand image.
Also, we would value the ability to align with other partners we are working with for impact and wider consistency to candidates i.e. glassdoor, universum etc.
9. What advice would you give to other employers/recruiters/business owners, to improve opportunities for D&I within the workplace?
Jenna/Harriet: Working on D&I can be daunting; it is such a huge topic and there are so many areas to tackle, that it can be difficult to know where to begin. Our advice would be to start with your company purpose and brand values. If you can identify, and articulate well, how diversity and inclusion will help your business thrive, then you will bring along the whole organisation on the journey.
This way it starts from the senior leadership (an essential element) and engages everyone at grass roots (another essential). With this clarity, the priority areas will naturally show themselves and gives a clear direction. We recommend engaging with your employees and giving them a voice, a seat at the table, if you will – you will also get a wealth of valuable ideas and diverse thought on how to tackle this huge topic. Initiatives such as talks at 12, ally walks etc. have been organised by our employees which we support and these have impacted our inclusion positively.
We’d also advise seeking out and collaborating with others in the space. Not everyone has the answer but together we can get there faster, enabling true diversity and inclusion.
10. What do you feel holds back the recruitment process for companies? Why can’t they find the right talent?
Jenna/Harriet: There are cost and time pressures on recruitment however, the one size fits all approach does not work for everyone and can really hold back the recruitment process. In the current environment, where there are skill shortages, we need to challenge perceptions on recruiting for ability and behaviour rather than based on experience.
11. Has it been a positive experience working with VERCIDA?
12. How did you first come across VERCIDA?
Jenna/Harriet: Through collaborating with other companies and people internally and externally who prioritise D&I. It was at an external best practice sharing event that I learnt of VERCIDA and thereafter through testimonials from those who’ve had a positive experience using yourselves in their organisation.
13. What has been your personal experience in your workplace?
Jenna:I have had an extremely positive experience working at Siemens. I am fortunate to work with an extremely talented team within a diverse company. I have had opportunities to develop my role and get involved in projects such as setting up lean in circles, D&I initiatives and working to bring VERCIDA to Siemens.
The company has given me flexible working opportunities to fit in with family life and I feel very fortunate to work in a great environment where you can contribute and really bring your concepts and ideas to life.
14. Are there any exciting D&I projects your company is working on currently?
Jenna/Harriet: Many exciting projects – to name but a few:
We continue to grow our D&I champions and employee networks to encourage D&I activity to be focussed on what needs doing in a specific location or function or business unit. We hope to see more ‘lean-in’ circles, more business D&I initiatives, more active networks which represent our diverse employees and the 'allyship' between these networks which springboard one another / advocate one another
We will be implementing Employee Led Flexibility; our inclusive flexible working culture that has been trialled in several parts of the business. Allowing employees to take ownership of their own flexibility and their own role has proven to build trust and engagement
Communicating our D&I purpose will continue to be important so that it has a wider reach in our organisation and builds 'allyship'.
15. How can VERCIDA support these?
Jenna/Harriet: By sharing and showcasing our D&I initiatives and what it’s like to work at Siemens.
16. What are the inclusive features and benefits of your company?
Jenna/Harriet: Listed below. Click links for more information:
17. What are the hot D&I topics for Siemens in 2020?
Jenna/Harriet: We explain how we’re delivering our D&I strategy through our three pillars of culture, diversity, society. This helps to define all the activity and initiatives we are focused on and helps to connect them back to our purpose. By balancing our work across all three of these pillars, we can build an inclusive culture whilst ensuring equal opportunities for all within the organisation and within our society.
18. What is it like to work in your organisation?
Jenna/Harriet: It’s a really great place to work. Siemens is a large company and with that it has the unparalleled opportunities that come with it. Despite its size, you feel you can individually contribute, that you are supported and surrounded by a great team spirit with people who are your advocates and friends.
We are working on the latest technologies and impacting society and that makes it a very exciting organisation to work for. At Siemens it’s ‘level less’. By this I mean, everyone has a voice, be it our apprentices right the way up to our CEO, and everyone in between, and everyone is empowered to make a difference no matter their role.
19. What is the culture like?
Jenna/Harriet: Siemens is a large organisation with separate businesses that work in different sectors and locations. However, when you travel to different Siemens sites there is a definite “feel” of Siemens. Through“ownership culture”, Siemens encourages all employees to treat the company as if it were their own. In practise this means every employee being empowered to change things that need to make the company better.
The company values of excellent, innovative, responsible are evident in how we do business every day. Despite the complexities and diversity of our business, this is what brings us together as one organisation.
20. Is there anything VERCIDA can do to improve our services?
Jenna/Harriet: Through VERCIDAs thought leadership, we’d like to see more guidance on activities or branding we can take to strive further and faster in our D&I goals.
We’ll get right on that!