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    Tuesday, April 4, 2023

    Honeywell’s Oluwayemisi Busari, Others Speaks on Equity, Inclusion in Workplace

    With women facing stereotypical hurdles and the crushing weight of societal expectations, Oluwayemisi Busari, Senior Adviser, Government Relations, and four other executives from leading Nigerian investment holding company, Honeywell Group (HGL), discussed critical issues facing women in the workplace in Africa, including equity and inclusion.

    The Chief Financial Officer, Kemi Adeoye; Head, Governance and Sustainability, Yewande Giwa; General Counsel, Olasumbo Abolaji; and Head of Corporate Services, Tomi Otudeko shared their experience, leadership tips and how the company has been deliberate about championing equity while providing an inclusive and safe space for women in its workplace in a special interview by Her Network Online, a global inspiration and lifestyle platform, recently.

    Oluwayemisi noted that we must first acknowledge how discrimination against women and other groups in society affects productivity in the workplace. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the jobs gap for women is a “stubborn and damaging reality of the global labour market”.

    The report revealed that in developing countries like Nigeria, nearly one in every four women is unable to find work, compared to 16.6% of men. “There must be a conscious effort to ensure that workers are given fair and equitable opportunities based on their unique needs, as well as increase participation in efforts that support female engagement in the tech industry. As such, the first step is to establish a culture that encourages and demands an inclusive workplace,” she said

    Speaking on how she leverages her position in Honeywell Group to uplift and support women, Oluwayemisi said, “I have the opportunity to motivate and inspire the women at Honeywell Group, and I do not take that for granted. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously, and I make time to counsel and offer mentorship to younger women I work with in the company.”

    She also emphasised the need for quality relationships in career growth, Oluwayemisi shared her personal experience where her regard for relationships in her life helped her overcome a challenge.

    According to her, in her younger years, she had maintained a cordial relationship with a lawyer who later helped her overcome a challenge she needed help with. “Good relationships and a supportive community are invaluable. You never know where help will come from, today, tomorrow, or decades in the future”, she added.

    At Honeywell Group, Oluwayemisi is responsible for leading and managing interactions with government and key regulatory bodies; supporting to ensure the key stakeholder group is effectively managed.

    She is an accomplished legal practitioner with almost three decades of experience in the areas of company secretarial, corporate governance, litigation, and commercial law practices.

    Oluwayemisi obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Lagos. Prior to that, she had studied English at the University of Ilorin. Following her call to the bar, she earned a Master of Laws degree from the University of Lagos. She thereafter obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Lagos Business School in association with the IESE Business School.

    Kemi Adeoye added: “it is vital to recognize the value of inclusivity. Leaders should start by recognizing the difficulties that women encounter in the workplace. Regular evaluations of inclusion metrics, including hiring and promotion rates, and pay equity could be used to achieve this. Leaders need to also implement policies and practices such as flexible work arrangements and mentorship. By doing this, they can create a workplace where all workers feel appreciated, respected, and encouraged to deliver their best work.”

    Beyond its workforce, HGL has also invested in initiatives that enable bridging the gap and ensuring inclusivity. Yewande Giwa pointed out how the company’s targeted initiatives promote inclusion. According to her, “our CSR activities are targeted at initiatives that promote inclusion and access to equal opportunities. For instance, one of the goals of our partnership with the Lagos State Government is to increase digital inclusion for women.”

    Olasumbo Abolaji, General Counsel, Honeywell Group, stated that the Group has remained intentional about ensuring women were well represented across the different cadres of the organisation. She said: “at HGL, we have about 60% female representation in executive leaderhsip, and we make a deliberate effort to provide an inclusive and safe space for women. From positions of management down the different levels of our organisation, we ensure that women are given the support required to upskill, grow and reach their full potential. It is important for us to provide a safe environment where women have equal opportunities to thrive and is flexible enough to accommodate their unique needs”.

    Tomi Otudeko reiterated that leaders play a critical role in enabling an environment that will embrace equity in the workplace. In her words, “leaders can create and embrace equity in the workplace by first creating a more diverse space, understanding the importance of equity, and promoting it and bridging the wage gap. It is important to be proactive in addressing inequities in the workplace, such as pay disparities, under-representation of certain groups in leadership positions, and taking action to address any instances of bias or discrimination that are identified.”

    Honeywell Group is a leading Nigerian investment holding company that has a portfolio of diversified businesses in different sectors such as –  technology, real estate, energy, infrastructure, and financial services. The company lives out its mission of creating enduring value that transcends generations through ways like funding and supporting startups and tech-enabled businesses.

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