“Championing Inclusion and Diversity is not about impacting business results or following emerging trends. We are doing it as it is the right thing to do. We want our company to be an inclusive and great place for everyone to work at, which is the ultimate goal of our Management Team.”
Get to know Jessica Chao, our Cluster People & Organisational Development Manager for Singapore and Malaysia!
Today, she’ll deep dive into the topic of Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) and what does it take to build this everlasting culture of inclusivity, where everyone can thrive and grow their careers with HEINEKEN!
Having worked across HEINEKEN Taiwan and APB Singapore (Part of The HEINEKEN Company), Jessica lives and breathes HEINEKEN’s commitment to hire and develop the best talent regardless of gender, ethnicity, or nationality. She, alongside her comrade Jayclyn Wong (Senior HR Executive), lead and drive the I&D agenda in our company.
How would you describe your role at HEINEKEN Singapore in one sentence?
To bring about positive changes and improvements by investing heavily in people-related training and development programmes so that we can all make APB Singapore a better place to work through great culture and people!
What is I&D to you?
I&D means everyone is respected, understood and appreciated for their differences, and that allows us to show the best of ourselves.
Where do you think our company is at currently for I&D?
We are doing great in the diversity forefront – boasting 14 nationalities at APBS and 40% of our leadership team is women.
However, I strongly believe that we can do more. I&D is a never-ending journey – diversity is only the first step.
As we further pursue our journey towards fostering a more inclusive environment, it is key to continue raising awareness and ensuring that people hold positive attitudes towards embracing differences.
How do you ensure that I&D is more than just a HR initiative?
It is important to let people see the value of I&D, because then it will become second nature to them.After all, we all want to work in an inclusive environment where our differences are accepted and celebrated. This is why we constantly organise workshops and activities to let our people feel, think and reflect upon the matters that affect us as a community.
We also do a call for volunteers (i.e. I&D ambassadors) to join our journey and amplify the benefits of I&D throughout the organisation!
How do we evaluate if our company is truly inclusive and diverse?
Beyond the demographic numbers that we track, we carefully analyse our annual climate survey score that provides us the insights of I&D status and areas that we can improve on.
You joined us from HEINEKEN Taiwan a few years ago. Are there any interesting insights that you noticed between Singapore and Taiwan when it comes to I&D?
Taiwan has a very proud story to tell when it comes to inclusivity. Their open-minded approach has allowed for people to share and embrace different viewpoints.
This is also similar to what HEINEKEN is championing at the Global level, where we believe that diverse views make great brews!
I hope to use all these insights and then tailor them to APB Singapore. Ultimately, it’s really to get our people to strike up conversations and be curious to understand each other.
What is your biggest piece of advice for getting companies and individuals who are keen on starting their own I&D journey?
For companies, it is key to get the buy in from leaders. Although I&D does not follow a top-down order, having them exemplify the behaviours and promoting on every occasion helps to raise awareness on this very important topic.
Our Management Team is a prime example where they proactively promote I&D and support all the I&D initiatives that we are conducting. Most importantly, they lead by example by practising inclusive behaviours.
On an individual level, I encourage everyone to be curious and always listen. Being curious helps you to discover the differences and the common ground in similar differences that you may have. Listening helps you to understand and empathise.
What is the proudest highlight of your I&D journey?
Anytime when people raise their hands to volunteer to join the ambassador group! Whenever that happens, it means that they see the value of I&D and we are closer to the goal of creating an inclusive culture.
Here are some of our I&D ambassadors and I couldn’t be prouder to stand by their side and say we are working towards an even more inclusive place for everyone here at APB Singapore!