Agnes Chan Regional managing partner, Hong Kong and Macau, Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young encourages and supports diversity and appreciates the different perspectives that people from varied cultures bring to the organisation.
We also recognise that men and women may have different motivations. Men tend to focus on their careers and are more aggressive in pushing for promotion.
Women, when they reach a certain age, may have other priorities, which include getting married, starting a family, taking care of their children and looking after elderly parents.
Recognising these needs, we have policies in place to help women achieve a successful balance between career development and family life.
The aim of our "working parents' network" is to provide a support system and useful contacts for colleagues who are, or will soon become, working parents. Partners in each region head up this initiative. The networks meet regularly to share best practices, discuss topics of mutual interest and hold conversations about issues that working parents are likely to face.
We also have flexible work arrangements to make it easier to accommodate the different non-work responsibilities that working parents have at various stages of their lives. Our aim is to create a balance that works for both employees and clients.
Feedback and results
The programmes have been well received. Working parents appreciate the chance for regular gatherings and find the network really useful.
The option of flexible work arrangements has led to successful instances of mothers being able to do four-day weeks or work from home, meaning they can fulfil family obligations while continuing to work
Clarence Chung General manager – nutritionals, Pfizer Nutrition
Our corporate culture has a clear focus on people and Pfizer Nutrition fosters an environment that gives colleagues the opportunity to develop personally and professionally.
We are committed to empowering staff to face whatever challenges they may encounter at work and in their personal lives, which includes finding ways to help them raise their children.
We believe that if working parents have fewer things to worry about at home, they can perform better in their jobs and the company will benefit from that.
In the belief that infants and children should have the best nutrition, we fully support breast-feeding. To create a supportive atmosphere in the company, we took the first step by designing a breast-feeding room in compliance with government guidelines for women colleagues who need such a facility. This is a practical measure showing support for mothers who want to continue breast-feeding their babies after returning to work.
We also organise seminars and workshops from time to time at which in-house experts or external health care professionals address topics related to breast-feeding and child nutrition.
The plan is to step up this kind of education and share it with other companies, so as to benefit more working mothers.
Feedback and results
Feedback has been very encouraging, especially for the breast-feeding room. It can be seen as a small step for the company, but it makes a significant difference for working mothers still caring for new-born babies. Employees who use the room feel their needs are being recognised and respected.