HR & Management


Unilever: Empowering women across its global employee and supply network

3 Mins

Unilever is hoping to develop and secure a strong pipeline of talent for the future through its global mentoring programme and by accelerating the readiness of high-potential women for senior leadership positions.

“All our senior leaders including chief executive Paul Polman and his executive leadership team mentor top women who are at least 18 months away from their next lateral move or promotion,” she explains.

In addition to mentorship schemes, Unilever’s Agile Working initiative provides tools such as video conferencing and other technical resources that enable employees, especially women, to work flexibly. Furthermore, the organisation runs an online maternity and paternity support platform (MAPS) to assists new parents.

Nair says: “This unique online portal equips future and new parents with a suite of tools to manage the changes in their lives and provides tips on excelling in their new dual roles in the workplace and at home”.

As she takes the helm of HR Nair explains her vision for the department, where she sees HR as the crucial differentiator that will help Unilever achieve continued success in the market place. Nair has identified four key areas that will help to navigate Unilever’s diversity and empowerment objectives in the coming years.

“[Unilever] will adopt a holistic approach to evaluate the wellbeing of the all employees, integrating areas such as careers, health, finances. Thriving women including various demographic groups and employee experience becomes the unit of analysis for D&I.”

The second area concerns managing talent in a global environment. Nair says: “There has been substantial changes in the movement of people around the work globally. Reinforcing core diversity and inclusion values and building cultural competence is key.”

The third area will build on the company’s aim to empower women while engaging men. Unilever wants to reclaim gender diversity without excluding men and representing both men and women. Finally, Unilever plans to expand its agile working initiative to move beyond flexible working and incorporate practices that truly address the needs of both genders.

“While the business has been doing well, the environment has been challenging and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future,” Nair says. “Unilever will need to be at its best in every aspect of its functioning and HR will ensure that it helps power the organisation’s success by not just bringing in the right people into the right jobs but also in harnessing the powerful enablers of digital and analytics and Unilever’s purpose driven culture to achieve exponential growth.”


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