Hiring women on career breaks
In line with the company’s strategic principle to form the best team, BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre Sdn Bhd is focused on providing its employees with career development opportunities while ensuring work-life balance is achievable among them.
KP Lau, the Managing Director of the company, is a firm believer of creating a sustainable working environment for employees at the Shared Service Centre.
Lau believes that the “Diversity + Inclusion” business principle within BASF Group promotes a corporate culture that embraces diversity through adopting practices that promote trust and respect for people with different needs, and enable flexibility as well as sustainability.
“At the Shared Service Centre, one of our key focuses in driving workforce engagement is creating opportunities for work-life integration whereby more diversity is encouraged in the workplace, enabling employees to fulfil their personal commitments which vary between individuals.
“Hence, we fully endorse and support the hiring of off-rampers in line with the nation’s agenda to bring individuals on career break back to the workforce. This provides opportunities to the likes of mothers with children and those who are ready to return to the workforce to develop their careers with BASF,” said Lau.
The strong commitment to improving the quality of life among its employees is evident through the company’s Flexibility@Work practices which include Flexi-work Hours, Work from Home and a newly implemented job sharing programme.
Job sharing programme
BASF pilot job sharing programme has led to the world’s leading chemical company being selected the winner for the “New Initiative” category at the Life at Work Award 2014 in the 12th Women’s Summit. This award depicts the efforts taken by the company to tap on a wider talent pool in line with its strategy to cultivate a diverse workforce.
The job sharing programme which kicked off in January 2014 is a work arrangement that adopts the concept of a full-time job being tasked to two employees on a part-time basis.
This concept encourages individuals who are keen to return to employment but unable to work full-time to get back into the working world. The flexibility allows them to manage their personal commitments while having the opportunity to continue being employed.
As of June 2014, this programme has successfully filled three full-time vacancies with six job sharers.
The job sharing programme requires individuals to work only for half of the total working hours of a full-time employee.
This programme displays BASF’s initiatives to promote workforce diversity by adopting practices that respect and cater to individuals with different needs. It also shows the company’s aim to maintain sustainability through flexibility.
The job sharing programme is a good option for women who are on career breaks. It can be a good starting point before heading back full-time into the workforce. BASF’s job sharing programme has attracted and tapped into a new talent pool which is women on a career break who want to ease back into the working world.
With this programme, BASF has managed to recruit seven women returnees, out of which six of them are in the job sharing programme.
Pauline Teo, analyst, HR services
“Companies should consider providing flexi-work and training opportunities to women returnees so it would make it easier for them to re-enter the workforce after being away for some time,” says Pauline, who works on a four hour a day shift.
Pauline was in the workforce for eight years before taking a seven year career break. She decided to take a break when she discovered that her son required frequent therapy sessions. During her time-off, she took courses in graphic design as an additional skill to be added to her portfolio as she believes that women should continue to stay relevant. When her second child arrived, she found it more difficult to cope and hence, decided to then go on a full-time break to focus on her children.
“As my children grew older, I began thinking about returning to the workforce but it was not an easy decision because it requires me to thoroughly think through the support structure needed to be able to balance both work and family. The journey is not easy as not many companies in Malaysia offer such flexible opportunity,” says Pauline. Luck was however on her side when she first heard about the Career Comeback Networking event organised by TalentCorp which she subsequently attended and landed a HR services role in BASF.
Pauline’s determination and willingness to learn is key to her being able to adapt to the working world so quickly and effectively. “Although I have no experience in this role but I am eager to try it out as I know most jobs will be different now from what it was seven years ago,” says Pauline. Her team’s unquestioning support and willingness to share and impart their knowledge boosted her morale.
Rosilah Hasan, analyst, accounts payable
Rosilah Hasan, an accounts payable analyst with BASF, who is also employed under the job sharing programme is thankful for the learning opportunity given to her at BASF.
Prior to returning to the workforce, Rosilah made arrangements for her mother and children to ensure that they were well taken care of. The flexibility of working four hours a day has helped her focus on work as her attention is not divided between work and family. With a greater work-life balance, she finds herself able to perform her work more efficiently and effectively.
“Very frequently family priorities cause women to sacrifice their career. Hence, women initiatives carried out by organisations such as BASF are highly relevant to women,” concludes Rosilah.