#IWD2019: How Dell enables inclusivity through mentorship

Mentorship is one way that Dell is shattering the barriers preventing women from achieving success - and enabling their development.
By: | March 7, 2019

International Women’s Day takes place every year on March 8. This year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter, because a gender-balanced world is a better world – for both organisations and individuals alike.

Check out the rest of our #IWD2019 coverage on our dedicated IWD tag!

 

About the Author
Sophie Guerin is the Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Asia-Pacific (including Japan & Greater China) at Dell Technologies

At Dell, we have customised mentorship programmes across our business units that connect mentees with senior executives, providing training and networking opportunities to participants.

A key focus of these programmes has been to address the barriers preventing women from achieving success and to accelerate development of their leadership opportunities and competencies.

We believe that mentoring presents opportunities not only for the mentee but also for the mentor. It connects them with a new perspective and forces them to question ‘the way things are done’. It’s a professional relationship that should be respected as such.

These programmes have not only opened the door to up-and-coming talent, but it has given executive decision-makers visibility to the barriers and biases that are holding back employees.

One great way to exemplify this is through our Women in Action employee resource group that provides our female team members with an avenue to share and hone their leadership skills and to build a culture that not only values but leverages diverse perspectives to thrive as a company.

Under the Women in Action programme, our Malaysian team kickstarted MentorConnect, an initiative that offers mentorship opportunities for female leaders from Dell and participating member companies.

Through this innovative initiative, leaders are equipped to guide and advise their mentee groups on how to successfully build their networks, develop new skills and insights on areas such as critical business insights, negotiations, personal branding, and other professional skills.

The success of the initiative in Malaysia has led to its rapid expansion across the Asia-Pacific region (including Japan and Greater China) with strong interest in other global markets.

Launch of MentorConnect 2018 in Dell Penang, 26 June 2018 amongst 60 attendees, including mentors and mentees from four member companies as well as invited guests.

hrmasia.com

Creating a culture where everyone belongs

In the technology industry specifically, female representation decreases as you look up the corporate ladder. Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy focuses on holistic culture change embedded in our D&I business imperative.

This approach empowers team members by ensuring that D&I isn’t just a “nice to have” rather its critical to our success as an organisation.

As a result, team members are actively encouraged to be their true selves, creating a culture where all team members belong, encouraging innovation in new ways.

“By
creating this platform for female leaders to build critical professional networks and share their knowledge, we’re embedding a culture of diversity and inclusivity into our business and organisational culture.

By creating this platform for female leaders to build critical professional networks and share their knowledge, we’re embedding a culture of diversity and inclusivity into our business and organisational culture.

We achieve this by ensuring that these conversations are not just a one-way exchange – the mentors here also benefit by listening to the different viewpoints of their mentees, creating conversations that encourage the team to innovate and continue to grow our business towards success.

We are very happy that this programme has taken off so well, with expansion plans underway not only in the Asia-Pacific (including Japan and Greater China), but also in Latin America, Europe and North America.

Additionally, we’ve also established 13 Employee Resource Groups that provide mentorship and leadership development for employees globally across all genders, ethnic groups, sexual orientations and backgrounds.

In Asia-Pacific, we have the highest membership in Employee Resource Groups, with over 12,000 participating team members.

This level of participation is critical as our data shows us that team members who are part of an Employee Resource Group show significantly higher employee engagement scores, than non-participants.

The result is a team which has a much deeper understanding of the connection between their work and our overall Dell Technologies mission.

This is telling in our business results, where we’ve demonstrated strong growth as a company – the ultimate testament to the strength and quality of our team.

How to succeed with mentorship

At the end of the day, all programmes and initiatives come down to the individual motivation of our employees.

Team transformations are cultural, take time, and involve the entire organisation – and the onus is on leaders to ensure that related initiatives are well-communicated and fit into realistic and achievable timelines.

Dell Women In Action Malaysia event held at the end of January this year. Topics discussed included:Gaining mentors and becoming one; Parenting and juggling it all; How to swim with sharks

Ensure that your mentorship programme targets the key professional development areas that frequently limit the advancement of women into leadership.

More often than not, mentorship programmes can over-index on soft skills development.  It’s important to remember that as women move into more senior level roles, they often become underrepresented.

As a result, they frequently lose out on access to informal yet critical business conversations, key professional networks and other hard skills development opportunities.

Ensuring that your mentorship programme focuses on both hard skill opportunities as well as soft skills development, will ensure that women are being equipped with the insights necessary to drive their professional success.

Identifying KPIs or measurement metrics to track the success of your inclusion initiatives will help to ensure that your mentorship programme becomes embedded into your business practices.

When leaders can see tangible, measurable benefits, initiatives are much more likely to be championed, elevated and well resourced.


International Women’s Day takes place every year on March 8. This year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter, because a gender-balanced world is a better world – for both organisations and individuals alike.

Check out the rest of our #IWD2019 coverage on our dedicated IWD tag!