Diversity and Inclusion is hugely important to Fujitsu, so it’s good to see that over the last year or so that the female-focused initiatives within our wide-ranging strategy are having a positive impact. The number of women in sales roles in Fujitsu UK has gone up from 3% to 20%, the number of women leaders has increased from 1% to 18% and female representation on our board has grown from 32% to 40%.
As a natural extension of the work we’re undertaking within our own organisation, Fujitsu has a dedicated Women’s Business Network (WBN) that is helping to drive gender parity across the industry. One of our recent network activities was a SELECT forum, where we invited WBN participants to ask questions about the issues that matter to them.
In case you missed it, here’s a summary of the highlights: discover what we’ve learned (so far), what we’re doing to overcome current challenges, and what might just be too hard to crack right now. We didn’t quite put the world to rights, but we came as close as we could in under an hour.
Here’s what was discussed.
Connecting with each other
Q. With remote working now being utilised longer term, how can you still make an impact and keep engagement up with partners and customers?
Rebecca Sinnatt: Lockdown has slowed the world down and has given us an opportunity to engage with customers at a more leisurely pace. This allows more time to get to know people and to connect on a more personal and intimate level. We want Fujitsu to be there for their customers, not just to sell to them, but to support any and all of their needs which will lead to a different level of loyalty.
Emma Chatwin: We want to communicate on an emotive and personal level, so we are making sure we are not pushing too hard with wrong messaging. It is more important right now to gain input and insight from customers e.g. what matters to them and how do they want to hear from Fujitsu, to develop how we can best support them.
Paul Mclean: Building relationships with our partners by focusing on enablement so they are in best position post lockdown. There are three main challenges for channel partners and their customers at the moment: delayed projects, new business and cashflow. One way of engaging with customers to overcome these challenges is to suggest that they move to a consumption-based model, giving them more flexibility and capability. We are also finding that using communication tools like Zoom and Teams is making sure conversations are punchy and to the point.
Fernanda Catarina: Team spirit is important and having these face-to-face conversations to understand how they are doing/feeling is essential, especially as we can’t currently communicate in person. This in turn builds deeper relationships with customers and partners based on empathy and understanding.
Q. My daughter was supposed to be going to university but is now unsure as doesn’t feel it will be the same due to Covid-19. How is Fujitsu planning on helping those women who don’t go into an intentional or planned career and feel lost in the industry?
Emma Chatwin: Fujitsu has just run a meeting of our apprentice scheme which usually consists of lots of face-to-face assessments. Although we had to do it virtually, it was still very successful. We shouldn’t feel too concerned for the younger generation and the effect of Covid-19 as they are very resilient and good at adapting to change.
Q. How can we motivate those who don’t want to switch on video during a call? How important to the panel is joining in with video?
Fernanda Catarina: It is important to ask the person if they wouldn’t mind having video on as that face to face connection helps to build the relationship, but to be patient with people as not everyone will feel comfortable.
Paul McLean: Management should provide training or enablement on how to conduct yourself on camera to give everyone the confidence to switch on video from the start.
Work life balance
Q. Given the rise of remote working, we are seeing a blur between the work and home environments when traditionally they are kept very much apart. What are your thoughts around work life balance at the moment?
Karen Thomson: It is important for managers to see and know people’s home life and it helps to start off the conversation about how people are doing and if they’re ok, rather than just about their workload. We are also seeing the ‘extra carers leave’ that we have put in place has been taken at the moment to help with home responsibilities and that 60% has been taken up by men.
Kam Dhillon: Not being in the office means I’m not getting up and moving around as much and we have to take a break otherwise we can easily burn out sitting at desk all day. We must also fit work life around personal life and not just work more hours, getting the timing right for you so that your work and life are integrated well together. As managers, we need to lead by example and let people know it’s ok to work differently in these conditions and it’s ok to feel different about work.
Rebecca Sinnatt: If people worked at 80% capacity, it would leave room for innovation. If people work at 100% all the time, then when there is a crisis they are likely to burn out as they are already at maximum capacity. Innovation is essential for Fujitsu and the wider world so a good work life balance will mean your team are being productive rather than just being busy.
Introducing women to the workforce
Q. How does Fujitsu plan on attracting women to sales leadership and roles other than typical HR or marketing positions?
Paul McLean: We have changed the language in job roles put out to suit women and men, as they were predominately male-focused before. We are also looking at a graduate level to encourage women to join the business straight from university.
Emma Chatwin: We want to move from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) in our approach to education, to focus on the arts as well for a holistic view in the tech world, and to include and encourage more women to take an interest.
Karen Thomson: As Paul said, we are changing language in job roles and more aware of the words we are using, for example, including more emotive descriptors in the job requirements that might appeal to women.
Kam Dhillon: With any potential position, we need to identify the women who would have been good at the role but didn’t apply. Find out why they didn’t apply and focus on rebuilding any confidence issues. We value having different skills in different roles, and helping women identify transferable skills is vital so that they go for opportunities that they wouldn’t ordinarily even consider.
Q. Covid-19 has proven that many roles previously classed as ‘not possible’ from home can be carried out remotely or with flexible hours, or both. What’s your take on this?
Kam Dhillon: I agree, people have moved their jobs remotely or used flexible hours to fit in around childcare or other household responsibilities and it’ll be very interesting to see if people do go back to their previous ways of working now that that challenge has been removed.
Paul McLean: We have seen organisations take advantage of skilled workers who can only work evenings or outside of the usual 9-5 and they see the benefits of utilising this part of the workforce.
Rebecca Sinnatt: Trust has played a huge role in the current situation. Letting your staff work flexibly and working from home in general see staff more engaged and productive. Micromanaging doesn’t work for anyone. It’s exhausting for the manager and disengaging for the team member.
Q. Knowing the benefits of home working, how do you help people switch off when their home is now their office and there isn’t the same boundary?
Emma Chatwin: Working from home is a skill that has to be learned and what works for me is compartmentalisation. Keep a diary and see what your stress triggers are and identify a pattern so that you can start to mitigate them. Have an open conversation about how you work best, and set the expectations early with your manager so that you don’t feel obliged to be checking in when it doesn’t suit your way of working.
Q. Working from home clothes; what is appropriate on a video call?
Rebecca Sinnatt: It is important to be comfortable more than anything.
Paul McLean: We’re moving from a typical ‘men in suits’, working 9-5 environment to something more flexible and I don’t see it reverting. The Fujitsu mantra is ‘be completely you’ so if you’re in any doubt, wear what makes you happy.
The SELECT forum panel members were: Amy Simpson (Channel Marketing Manager UKI) Fernanda Catarina (Head of Channel Euroxpe, Fujitsu), Rebecca Sinnatt (Head of Product UK&I, Fujitsu), Kam Dhillon (Head of NWE Services Marketing and Co-chair Women’s Business Network, Fujitsu), Paul Mclean (Head of channel, Fujitsu), Emma Chatwin (Head of UK Marketing, Fujitsu) and Karen Thomson (Head of Fujitsu Diversity & Inclusion UKI).
Read more about what Fujitsu is doing for women in business and join the community on LinkedIn: Women’s Business Network Fujitsu
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