#IWD2024: Celebrating female employees’ achievements

Preventing bias and promoting diversity will help to boost recognition and the achievements of female employees in the workplace.
By: | March 8, 2024

International Women’s Day 2024 is celebrating the achievements of women in the workplace and across all aspects of their lives. With the theme of “Inspire Inclusion,” IWD 2024 aims to showcase how women in the workplace can help to widen the gaps between barriers that affect women and minorities within the workplace. In our special IWD 2024 coverage, HRM Asia spoke with women leaders to gain insights on how women can inspire inclusion within their workplace, and the role their organisations can play to create a more equitable and inclusive world for all.

“By dispelling stereotypes and providing equal opportunities for all employees, we lay the groundwork for a fair workplace in which women can thrive.”- Koren Wines, Managing Director, Xero Asia.

Leaders in organisations are often tasked with recognising the employees that do great work. The challenge stands in acknowledging the employees who have done great work and completed projects. But why is that so? And are there obstacles that complicate the challenge of employee recognition?

Yes, said Koren Wines, Managing Director at Xero Asia, which provides cloud-based accounting software for small businesses. Obstacles, she added, are due to long-standing gender stereotypes that different genders play in households. 

Wines, who was appointed Xero’s regional director for Asia in 2022,  is responsible for driving the New Zealand–based technology company’s growth in Asia, working closely with leading financial institutions and governments in the region to bring value to the small business and partner community.

She has had over 20 years in transformational leadership roles, predominantly in the technology space but spanning a broad range of industries, and her educational background in Psychology has been essential in understanding the drivers of various organisational dynamics as well as customer needs. As such, she knows what would work best in developing a good culture to raise employee recognition.

“Policies like gender-neutral parental leave can be an effective foundational step to giving women equitable opportunities by removing the assumption that they will be their families’ primary caregivers. Research shows that measures like this empower women in their careers and cultivate more parent-friendly workplaces,” Wines shared. “By dispelling stereotypes and providing equal opportunities for all employees, we lay the groundwork for a fair workplace in which women can thrive.” 

For Wines, this means initiatives like ‘Women of Xero’ and the ‘TechSisters Employee Resource Group’, both of which are currently in place at Xero, highlight the organisation’s commitment to fostering connections among women, offering upskilling support and confronting gender equality challenges head-on. Together, these programmes empower women, promote inclusivity, and drive positive change, she said.

“As an organisation, we actively and continuously look at areas within the business and industry where we can promote and cultivate diversity and inclusion,” she explained. This mindset is one of the reasons Xero has its fourth consecutive selection in Bloomberg’s latest Gender-Equality Index and additionally named as the top technology company worldwide for gender equality by Equileap.

So how can more organisations help boost recognition of women especially when it comes to their work and achievements? To Wines, it starts with empowerment, starting with celebrating each other’s achievements, amplifying the voices of all employees, especially women, to ensure their ideas are heard, and offering constructive feedback to support their growth and advancements.

“At Xero, nurturing all employees and celebrating their achievements is a priority that our leadership passionately supports,” she praised. She attributed Xero’s success to the work implemented by remarkable women leaders at Xero, including CEO Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who leads an executive team that has mostly women filling their ranks. Wines’ own leadership team within the Asia business follows that as well.  

READ MORE: #IWD2024: Cultivating inclusivity and diversity for women at work

She also attributes the success of gender diversity that permeates their organisation globally, from their Board of Directors to their executive team and senior regional leadership. “This inclusive representation underscores our commitment to fostering diverse perspectives and inclusive leadership at every level of our company,” she concluded.

International Women’s Day 2024 Features:

Why inclusivity is the lifeblood of Linklaters – Laure de Panafieu, Asia Head of Employment, Linklaters Singapore

Cultivating inclusivity and diversity for women at work – Karen Ng, Head, Digital Solutioning, ENGIE South-East Asia

Creating inclusive societies within workplaces– Toyin Ope, Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Asia Pacific at Visa