Boosting The Female Workforce, One Percentage At A Time


Image: (from left) Michael Leung, Kylie Rampa, Angela Cheyne, Julieanna Cairns, Jamie Durie and Olivia Keenan.

An increase in the number of female applicants, new flexible work practices and leadership training are just three of the industry-leading initiatives that scored Hilti a prestigious award from the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

A manufacturer and supplier of specialised products for the construction industry, Hilti was applauded by NAWIC NSW President Sarah Hogan at the recent awards for its “commitment to advancing the careers of women”, and was presented with the 2016 Lendlease Crystal Vision Award.

Hilti acting Head of Human Resources Olivia Keenan said the award was validation that the team is on the right track.

“Our business is quite unique, in that most women are at the top of the triangle. Getting women into the business in face-to- face customer roles has been our biggest challenge,” Ms Keenan said.

Hilti’s 320-strong team includes 150 face-to- face account managers.

Less than 15 per cent of those 150 employees are female, so the company’s focus over the last three years has been attracting more women into sales, engineering and account manager roles.

Hilti’s annual ‘champions league ladder’ for top sales performance reveals why this is important.
“At any one time, up to 30 per cent of the top performers on the leader’s board will be women – so we know women are overachieving in our business. We find they are focused on building relationships, listening and being partners with our customers – things that deliver great results,” Ms Keenan explained.

“We have buy-in from the very top of the business – the management team wants a more diverse and inclusive organisation.

"This is significant, as it demonstrates that it is not the HR team leading the agenda.”

A ‘Women in Hilti’ video is now included in online recruitment advertising, and Ms Keenan said this has increased the number of female applicants.

“In the past, strong female applicants would get hired, but we just weren’t getting enough applicants to have a significant impact on the gender makeup of the organisation," she said.

“It’s still a challenge, but the video has undoubtedly given us a higher click rate, and we are slowly increasing the number of women on our team, percentage by percentage.”

Cultivating women from within the ranks is also essential, which is why Hilti sends emerging talent on leadership skills training, while a women’s network provides a platform for female staff to share stories, advice and make connections.

While Hilti’s main focus is on gender balance, the HR team is also looking at fostering a more inclusive workplace for everyone.

“It’s about making sure that everyone in our organisation feels included, regardless of their background or life choices,” Keenan says.

Hilti is now looking beyond the property and construction industry to partner with other organisations focused on diversity and inclusion.


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