Quotas “unhelpful” says global HR head

Vodafone is a pioneer when it comes to workplace diversity but the firm says quotas aren’t part of its plan.

Quotas “unhelpful” says global HR head

Vodafone is considered a pioneer in workplace diversity and has introduced a number of impressive programs to support its female staff – however, one thing the company won’t consider is quotas.

“Quotas are of course mandated and that isn’t necessarily helpful to the outcome of a business,” says Karina Govindji, group head of diversity and inclusion at the communication giant.

“We believe in meritocracy and a key principle of ours is that everything we do will be merit-based whether that’s recruitment or progression, jobs will always be merit based.”

While the organisation has no plans to implement quotas, Govindji – who is responsible for creating and overseeing diversity initiatives across Vodafone’s 130,000 employees – is quick to throw her support behind targets.

“Targets and quotas are very different things – I’m very supportive of targets,” she stresses. “Until we are, as a business, at a stage of the right representation – so 50 per cent women and representation of all of the other areas of diversity that we are looking for – then we will continue to focus on targets.”

Currently, the company has a global target to have 30 per cent of all leadership positions filled by women. The firm has also committed to bring 1,000 women who took career breaks back into the workplace and wants to be the best employer for women by 2025.

“What targets do is they force you to broaden the talent pool, they force you to open the net and they force you to look wider – targets support that approach,” she tells HRD.

“I’m a very strong behaviour in targets and that has absolutely helped Vodafone globally and Vodafone New Zealand on its journey of increasing representation,” she adds.

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