Celebrating International Women’s Day
Head of Business Development, Ciara Gordon, shares her thoughts on Gender Equality and why it its so important to Neylons
Today, 8th March 2019 marks International Women’s Day. Ciara Gordon, our Business Development Director, took some time out of the office to speak at one of the nationwide Bank of Ireland events this week to recognise the #Balanceforbetter themed event. Here are a few words from her, on the topic of Gender Equality and why #balanceforbetter makes sense for everyone.
“I was delighted to join the community here in Loughrea to speak on such an important topic. It was a rewarding exercise too for Neylons as a company to look at our gender equality statistics. We are very happy to say that at Neylons we are almost 50/50 in our management roles. As well as having a female CEO, Neylons Board of Directors ratio is well over the 30% gender equality goal adopted by many companies.“
In 1910 17 countries voted to have the 8th March as International Women’s day. It was officially recognised by the UN in 1975. Around the same time in Ireland, the marriage-ban was lifted and that meant women who worked for the Civil Service had their contracts automatically terminated when they were married. The roots of International Women’s Day are about the struggles and achievements of working women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today we recognise these and look to the future with the theme #balanceforbetter.
Gender equality is a term that often is thought of in favour of women. When in fact it equally has benefits for both sexes. I came across some interesting statistics this week, one of which is the monetary value to the economy of $28 Trillion if we can achieve 50/50 gender equality by 2025. This report by McKinley Institute shows this figure is equal to the economies of China and USA combined. Based on these figures, there must be proactive support and investment from Governments and large multinationals.
What about the SMEs and entrepreneurs? How can they gain the benefits of this $28 trillion figure and apply gender quality to their business’s success?
I do not claim to be an expert, but I do work within a company who has achieved a 50/50 gender equality organically. I have spent some time looking at what has been our roadmap to achieve these statistics. I also looked at what we have planned for the future to ensure we continue to reap the benefits. These are the four areas I have identified:
Opportunity For Success For Everyone
First and foremost, Neylons have created a pathway to success and made it available to everyone. Naturally this meant men & women. When Sylvie founded the company in 2004 he built on his strengths and added to the team where he needed the additional skills. He looked for leadership quality in those who joined at entry level. This strategy paid off, as one of the first employees was Maria Sava and she is now the CEO of Neylons. This approach to finding talent has continued and Neylons Academy for Growth was set up in 2014 to formally train the management of the future. Over 70 participants have graduated from the Academy and are in Managerial and Supervisory roles nationwide across the Neylon sites. These were typically people who would not have found this type of path to success accessible. Both the graduates and Neylons are reaping the benefits.
To Learn more about the Academy CLICK HERE
Gender Equal Leadership
Neylons have a strong leadership team, and has an almost equal split of male/female roles. In 2017, Maria Sava became the CEO of Neylons when Founder Sylvie moved into the Chairperson role. The Board of Directors have a similar 50/50 split and the nationwide management team is 53% to 47%. This diversity in gender brings different perspectives and in turn better decision making. It also has a knock-on effect in one of the biggest challenges that effect all companies. Having a gender-neutral company automatically attracts both men & women and you have a wider talent pool to choose from when recruiting. The HR team see the benefits in the variety of CVs we receive.
Neylons have embedded the culture of both having and being role models within the team. Each manager is always looking out for new talent that they can help move to the next level. This has naturally meant that we now have informal mentors and mentees. 2019 will see the launch of a formal ‘Mentoring Program’ within Neylons. This will ensure that we continue to encourage and grow our leadership qualities amongst the team as we grow. We have already more than doubled in size in recent years and expect similar growth over the next five years.
Learn more on how we share our role models’ stories here CLICK HERE
Focus on Work Life Balance
This topic is very important to us here at Neylons. It is put in the spotlight at each management meeting and high on the agenda of the senior management team. Facility management is 24/7, 365 days a year. Our managers need to be very good at balancing their work life balance. We promote both the physical and mental wellness of everyone. We believe this has a direct impact on gender quality by recognising the different needs of individuals. A parent who’s child may be sitting their leaving cert or a new manager who is doing some extra training may have different needs for that period of time. We recognise this and work with our team so they can recognise both their own and other’s needs.
Putting People At The Heart
Following on from my final point, I would like to finish off with a very important message. The journey to Gender Equality will start always by instilling these values in the next generation. Be it at home with your family, in the community or in the workplace. We all play a role in ensuring that ALL people are treated equally, get the same opportunities and succeed in being the best they can be. At Neylons Facility Management we believe each of our team members deserve this opportunity and we will continue to support #balanceforbetter with the goal that it will put people, not gender, at the heart of all that we do.