I believe that three things are important: flexibility, infrastructure, and culture. Flexibility is the key for everything. As a young mother, I had no time for myself. Top priority was and still is my family, but work has always been a close second. Luckily, my husband and my colleagues and supervisors always supported me and gave me flexibility to organize my work as it fits. Flexible working hours are important. We should be able to redefine working full-time in a new and more flexible way. Everyone works in their own way. Maybe they prefer to sit at the desk after caring for the children in the afternoon. That is why companies should enable flexibility for parents (attention: not only mothers!). An essential part of a good work-life-flexibility is giving moms and dads more freedom and the chance to also work from home or elsewhere, and not just in the office. Infrastructure plays a big role in this context. At our headquarters in Germany, we have three kindergartens for Henkel employees, and we offer special support in childcare or any other private challenge through our so-called Social Service department. Recently, we started a partnership with voiio, a digital platform that offers virtual childcare.
Of course, ensuring equality is a question of culture, too. That is why we understand diversity holistically as a leadership topic. We live diversity and equality on a management level and actively foster an inclusive leadership culture. It’s important that our leaders are accountable. That means, we measure leadership on these topics. It is not enough for executives to have expertise and deliver good numbers. Good leadership is also about empowerment, enablement, empathy and inclusion.