The challenge of hiring and retaining women talents : An interview with the head of HR at AstraZeneca Egypt
The company was recently certified as a Best Workplace for Women in Egypt for 2021
The company was recently certified as the first organization in Egypt to receive the Best Workplace for women accreditation, what is the secret behind?
We truly believe in AstraZeneca that business growth requires innovation, and Inclusion is what fuels Innovation. We have accordingly a strong focus on inclusion- prioritizing Women Empowerment. Pharma Industry is quite tough & it is really uncommon to see females in senior roles due to social, cultural, & job nature challenges in the workplace. What we have been working on for the past 2 years is to challenge mindsets, empower females, aspiring to bring equity in effect. We have built a strategy with 3 main pillars: A- Bringing equity to the workplace by adjusting our benefits & working conditions for working mothers especially ones in the field, B- Females Accelerated Development & Empowerment programs, C- Embracing Inclusive Culture, Leadership Role Modelling, & Shaping the market
Before a company initiates specific programs to improve the hiring and retention of women, are there prerequisites for success?
To ensure success of any programs for attracting & retaining female talents, companies need to understand well the market context, the challenges that meet their workforce and females in specific, and to consider the fact that in our societies we need to work towards equity to enable women stand on equal grounds with males. I'd also recommend to run interviews with females with the right probing techniques to uncover their needs, their challenges, and the perceived glass ceilings which could be hindering their growth. Only then, successful programs could be guaranteed.
With the current business environment, what foundational processes or systems must companies put in place to hire and retain women effectively?
With the current business environment and the future of work , organizations need to set effective foundation of flexibility & managing by results- ensuring alignment, continuous communication, and transparency. Also, having strong development programs for acceleration of females' careers and empowering them is key attraction tool, talents join organizations where they see future career & personal development opportunities. Further, with the scarcity of talents in our market, Talent mapping and scouting is important to understand the talent profiles and to stay up to date with their expectations.