On the 15th May, we launched our very first National Careers Day at Elland Road football ground in Leeds. Our purpose was to energise and inspire a future generation of female talent and to launch our new Women in Leadership Programme for Asda.
We were joined by 650 of our Retail and Logistics Services female talent from Store Section Leaders through to our Store Managers and there was a buzz and energy that you could touch!
We had 15 internal role models (female & male) sharing their experiences and how they have overcome their personal barriers. The feedback from those who attended the day was extremely positive, the messages have resonated really well with our teams particularly about self confidence and managing a work life balance and we have seen a new level of commitment from female managers to our development programmes.
Why have a Women in Leadership Programme?
To increase our female representation at General Manager and Store Manager level in our Depots and Stores. The programme itself has been designed to respond to the personal barriers that our own colleagues have told us can stop them stepping forward and to prepare females to progress their career.
Those 4 barriers were
- Worklife Balance
- Role Models
- Limiting Beliefs
- Double burden (feeling responsibility for caring at home more than males)
The Programme Itself
250 women have been nominated by their Regional Operation Managers and Area Managers having been identified as having the potential to develop through to Store Manager and Depot Manager roles. Our aim is to achieve a 50/50 balanced talent pool so that we can always select the very best person for the job.
We have also appointed 33 senior operational Talent Ambassadors to mentor cohorts of women throughout the Programme.
The Programme consists of 4 modules and 6 mentoring sessions with Year 1 being focussed on the individual’s development and Year 2 being a Legacy Project – a way of paying forward what they have learned e.g. Mentoring someone within the organisation or contributing externally.
Our next step is to launch a very similar programme for Head Office colleagues in September.
What other gender-focused initiatives have we undertaken?
Uncovering Role Models
As inaugural sponsors of the everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, for the past six years we have supported this programme as it uncovers and mobilises role models working in the Transport & Logistics industry. Many of our women have been recognised as finalists and winners through this annual programme and have been featured in regional and industry press. Every year we also support the everywoman in Transport & Logistics Leadership Academy where the award winner and finalist role models share their stories and insight with more junior women from across the industry, helping them to better navigate their careers. These events also enable some great cross-company networking.
This annual programme has also enabled us to contribute our insight at an industry level, through a series of Roundtables, supporting everywoman to develop industry-focused tools, programmes and interventions that will better support and develop women working in the industry.
everywomanNetwork – Online personal development tools for all
Working in partnership with everywoman, we have offered all Asda colleagues the chance to become a member of the everywomanNetwork, the online personal development tool and network for women in business. This membership entitles the user to access webinars, videos and articles which will aid their personal development, giving them access to these tools anytime, anywhere which is vital when so many of our women are not working at a PC and do not have access to the Internet during the working day.
Mum to Mum
As first time mums, most women believe they can return to work without major change to their life or career. There is an inner conviction that they can just do it, without any support, because so many have done so well before them.
Mum2Mum mentoring is a peer working scheme where first time mums (or dads!) offer independent support on the way to new home office colleagues becoming a working parent.
So far in the last 2 years we have had over 100 mentoring relationships in our Home Offices and are now piloting the scheme in Retail.
International Women’s Day
We had over 250 attendees over 2 Head Offices (in Leeds and Lutterworth) enjoy an event on 8th March including Authentic Leadership sessions from everywoman
Unconscious Bias Training
In 2013 we have run unconscious bias training with all our senior leaders and also our Store Manager population (584) which was part of a session which explained the business case for our work on Gender and the analytics showing how the gender representation at Store Manager level would increase if we can achieve a more balanced talent pool to select from.