The Head, Diversity and Inclusion of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, Rachel Osikoya, said the priority attention accorded the concept of diversity and inclusion has been key to driving innovation at the multinational group.
Osikoya, who was in Lagos recently for a women leadership development programme, said diversity is about understanding and managing differences at the workplace.
She said, “At Maersk we are focusing specifically on diversity in terms of gender, nationality and age. Generational diversity is something a lot of companies are looking at now. It is also about how you think, how you solve problems, what difference you bring to the organization.
“If we have the same particular set of people in an organization, we are never going to innovate or come up with new ideas. We are going to be doing things in the same way every time and in our industry, things are changing rapidly, so we need to have that diversity in our organization to compete successfully.
“The inclusion phase is how you make the diversity work. So there is need to have leaders or managers who would bring in those different ideas and enable people to be able to use that diversity for the benefit of the organisation. So we see it as a competitive advantage for Maersk.”
She said to increase the retention rate of women in the organisation, a new policy which allows female staff enjoy 18 weeks of maternity leave on full pay after childbirth came into effect from April 4, 2016. The maternity policy also includes a phased reintegration to work for all onshore employees.
“We are still measuring the impact of the maternity policy because it has just been a year but what we are seeing is an increase in the retention of women, which is what we want.
“We saw that we will be retaining roughly about 70 per cent of females after maternity leave. Also, 80 per cent of the women that left did so in the first 12 months, which is the most critical period in retaining new mothers.
“The policy gives the mother the time to bond with the child and be ready to come back to work. Integration back into work after a maternity leave is key and it is important to provide a little flexibility for the employee coming back,” Osikoya said.
She said the Maersk Group has received positive feedback from its staff on the new maternity policy. “We have heard positive response from the female staff and even the male staff commenting on how good the maternity leave was for women. So we had a really positive response from employees and a good response from our Human Resource team as well who implemented the policy across the 130 countries,” she added.