#IWD2023: Uncovering bias the first step for inclusive workplaces

Alyssa Wang, HR Director, Asia-Pacific, ADM, elaborates on DE&I through equitable hiring and empowering women to lead.
By: | March 6, 2023

As the countdown to International Women’s Day 2023 continues, HRM Asia is celebrating the inspirational women who have broken barriers and achieved incredible success in the workplace. In our special IWD 2023 coverage, we spoke to women leaders who shared their thoughts and advice on how women can succeed in the workplace, and the role they can play towards creating a more equitable and inclusive world for everyone.

In this exclusive IWD feature, HRM Asia speaks with Alyssa Wang, Human Resources Director, Asia-Pacific, ADM, as she discusses the challenges and opportunities for women in the workplace, and her advice for aspiring female leaders.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your responsibilities at ADM

As the Human Resources Director for Asia-Pacific, I am responsible for building an efficient human resources management system for ADM, driving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives for employees, and promoting a culture of care and continuous learning across our offices in the region.

How has ADM embraced gender equality and address challenges faced by female employees?

We focus on helping employees overcome their unconscious bias. We talk about how we can check our blind spots and manage them, as well as foster a culture of empathy that embraces equity. We also introduced the Women’s Employee Resource Group in 2021, a voluntary, employee-led group aimed at fostering a DE&I workplace. It was encouraging to see colleagues, both male and female, share their workplace experiences and exchange best practices to help each other grow in their careers. Through these open conversations, they become aware of their blind spots and develop an understanding of how they can support each other better. The group encourages a safe environment where colleagues can feel like they understand and recognise each other’s needs, and helps to foster a greater sense of belonging and motivates colleagues to build an inclusive and equitable workplace at ADM.

How can technology play a role in creating equal opportunities for women in the workplace?

Technology sets the stage for more creative solutions and innovations that promote gender equity in the workplace. ADM leverages technology to ensure additional layers are considered in the hiring process by reminding hiring managers to form diverse panels of candidates. This ensures that candidates with the right skills and knowledge have an equal opportunity to get the job, regardless of their gender, race, or age.

What inspires you to support and empower women to take up leadership roles?

Knowing that I have the power to support and help others grow is what motivates me in my role as HR director. What I do every day has a direct impact on the development and success of younger female colleagues, and I do not take this responsibility lightly. We monitor the ratio of female leaders at all levels to ensure equity in status and opportunity in our leadership roles. To inspire female leaders and help them develop and advance in their careers, we organise annual women leadership summits globally and regionally. This allows our female colleagues to grow their networks and learn from female role models in the organisation. We are also taking active steps to close the gender pay gap by analysing the salaries of employees and ensuring that our female colleagues are not falling behind their male counterparts.

With #EmbraceEquity being the theme of IWD this year, what is your message to organisations when it comes to creating inclusive work cultures?

You cannot build a diverse workforce without cultivating an inclusive culture as they run parallel to each other. Raising awareness of unconscious biases that may emerge in the workplace is the first step to promoting inclusivity. #EmbracingEquity means finding strengthen in diversity, embracing and accepting our difference, and recognising that every person brings something unique to the table. An inclusive workplace improves employees’ sense of belonging and encourages them to be more actively engaged, spurring employee collaboration and innovation, and uniting the organisation to soar to greater heights. 

International Women’s Day Features:

Empower all individuals to embrace equity – Gillian Tan, COO, Jebsen & Jessen Packaging

Creating a gender-inclusive workplace – Lee Minjoo, Head of Marketing, Deliveroo Singapore

Inclusion should be a mindset for everyone – Evelyn Tay, VP of Comms, Sustainability and Public Affairs, foodpanda

Ensuring equity and respect for all employees – Shylaja Bhat, Director HR Business Partner – Platform Foundation, HERE Technologies

Technology holds the key to achieving gender equity – Aisha Islam, Senior Vice President and Head of Customer Solutions Centre, Mastercard

Embracing equity and equality as cultural cornerstones – Patsy Ng, Vice President for Human Resources – Asia-Pacific, Hilton

Achieve gender equity by acknowledging the roles women play – Koh Yan Ping, CEO, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO)