International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
The theme for 2019 is Balance for Better; the idea that whether in the boardroom, in the office, in government, or in the media, gender balance is crucial for economies and communities to thrive. At Tate & Lyle, this is something that we have been conscious of for many years…
Balance at the top
We’ve worked hard at our culture of inclusion and, in particular, gender balance, and we are proud to have a gender-balanced executive leadership team– something that is still a rarity in the FTSE 250.
For this year’s International Women’s Day, and in support of #BalanceForBetter, we’ve asked some of Tate & Lyle’s team about the impact gender-balanced leadership has on performance.
Improving gender balance improves perspective, says our CEO, Nick Hampton. “Clearly if you have a leadership team that represents society generally, then you’ll get a more balanced perspective in the room. We’re already seeing the advantages of this - our new leadership team has only been in place for the past three to four months, but the nature of discussions is changing for the better already, and it’s creating a more inclusive environment throughout the company.
“And it’s not just at Executive Committee level that we’re seeing changes. At the next level we’ve had 50% more women in the team over the past three years. So the fact that we have female leaders in the business as part of the leadership team demonstrates to others that you can be a successful female leader within Tate & Lyle.”
But it’s not just at the top of the Company that we’re championing gender diversity. We know that, as more female leaders are visible higher up the business, there is a knock-on benefit as they become role models for others in the organisation.
Many are leading the way in this area, with groups like our employee Professional Women’s Network (PWM) working to support the careers of female staff. Joan Braca, President, Food & Beverage Solutions, says that the PWM, is a “best in class” example of the kinds of diversity-minded groups within the business. She says, “They get together, they discuss their own business topics, they discuss how they can help each other in their careers. The whole group is organised really well.
“Out in our Asia-Pacific region, Harry Boot, SVP and GM, Asia Pacific, heads up a more female-than-male team. He’s found a fantastic way to attract and retain people of diverse backgrounds and genders, and they’re the best team we have at selling innovation. I don’t think those two things are unrelated.
“Around the world, I’m seeing lots of good examples of individual leaders doing great things, but the unlock for Tate & Lyle is how we’re taking those individual pieces and spreading them more broadly so that they can become systematic for us.”
Angie Onorato works in our manufacturing plant in Lafayette South, Indiana, US. She says that opportunities to work for Tate & Lyle in her area are open to anyone. “Some of the women I’ve worked with here, they’ve been environmental managers, wet mill managers, technicians, maintenance people. We’re hiring great people and gender has nothing to do with it.”
When it comes to recruitment policies and processes, at Tate & Lyle we are constantly challenging the way we do things. Lindsay Beardsell, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, says that hiring policies, focused internal training and promoting from within, all contribute to achieving gender balance. “We need to be accepting of the differences between men and women, be aware of them, and give opportunities to everybody based on capability and talent irrespective of gender or culture.”
Balance for better
“Tate & Lyle is an incredibly flexible place,” says Saquib Ramday, Sales Manager for South Europe. “We’re a global organisation, but also very lean and so we have excellent tools that allow us to work remotely. The flexibility afforded by the managers, in my experience, has been a real privilege.”
This flexibility aims to encourage women to continue to pursue their careers during parenthood, and encourage men to take part in parental duties too.
Improving inclusivity at Tate & Lyle is an ongoing topic of discussion, and something that we are constantly looking at for ways to improve. For example, last year Global Operations created a Diversity and Inclusion Council, with an initial focus on recruitment, training and stakeholder engagement.
We are proud to support external initiatives too – recently we hosted the grassroots organisation Illinois Agri-Women’s annual meeting and took part in the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture event which aims to gives women and girls the opportunity to explore different career paths offered in the agriculture sector by hearing first hand from women agriculture professionals.
We pride ourselves on being an adaptable business when it comes to supporting women and men at work. Whether that’s recognising talent, creating the right opportunities, giving staff the tools to work remotely, or actively encouraging environments where staff can balance family needs and the demands of work.