Inspiring and Empowering Women at Samsung: How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Drive Innovation
Above all, Samsung Electronics believes a company culture that respects diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is essential to continued innovation. In honor of the U.N.’s International Women’s Day on March 8, Samsung is giving a platform to its female employees and demonstrating how a company can embrace equity inside and out.
As a global leader in technology and innovation, Samsung aims to lead by example and advocate for gender equality and the empowerment of all women in the workplace. What’s more, research shows that workplaces that excel in DEI drive better outcomes for businesses, including better employee engagement, talent retention and higher financial achievements.
Women Supporting Women Through Open Communication
On top of being the Head of Procurement for Samsung’s Visual Display division, Clara Han is also a working mother of two children in elementary school.
“Although there is now growing movement around men participating in parenthood, women still have difficulty building and continuing their careers uninterrupted due to having children,” said Clara. “As a result, Samsung continuously strives to create a culture where employees can be recognized and grow regardless of gender, nationality or age.”
“We are trying to create an environment where each group member understands and acknowledges the individual differences so that everyone can receive the same opportunities, receive a fair evaluation and perform their best in every situation,” said Clara. “Every voice matters, and having an attitude of listening to everyone positively impacts efficiency and performance at work.”
Megan Detwiler, an engineer at Samsung, became involved with Women in Technology at Samsung (WITS) shortly after she started working at Samsung Austin Semiconductor. Within the program, Megan runs various campaigns to help raise awareness about DEI among employees. While she applauded WITS’ professional development opportunities for women, including industry conferences, classes and monthly meetings, for Megan, the most rewarding part of the program was its sense of community.
“Through WITS, I have been able to connect with people across all aspects of the company, meeting people in technical and non-technical roles, at every level of leadership, from technicians and professionals to vice presidents,” said Megan. “People like that at Samsung, especially in WITS, are invested in ensuring you are set up not just to succeed but truly grow and thrive here.”
“WITS helped me find my voice so that I have not only that confidence but also the courage to amplify other women’s voices as well,” said Megan.
Manavi Pathak, Head of Learning and Organizational Development at Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore (SRI-B), is also an active member of the Samsung Women’s Accelerated Network (SWAN). She highlighted how an inclusive workplace successfully meets the needs of the women who work there, noting how Samsung’s DEI initiatives and culture allow talented women to succeed.
“Women are themselves demanding more from work,” said Manavi. “At Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore, we have women’s leadership development programs, diversity hiring goals, day care policies, special leave, flexible schedules and more, all of which have supported my professional development and well as the careers of other woman colleagues at Samsung Research.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has reimagined the way we work. More and more women want to work for companies prioritizing cultural change and improving workplace flexibility, including employee wellbeing, diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Manavi. “Companies that rise to the moment will attract and retain woman leaders.”
Adam Eaglefield, an Engagement Team Manager at Samsung Electronics U.K., is also a member of the Women @Samsung ERG and its Male Allies team. This association runs mentorship and networking programs to develop female talent. He says that to realize DEI, the most important part is that we must not only listen to women but also break through unconscious prejudices and understand each other’s point of view.
“Allyship is fundamental in any cause or movement,” said Adam. “In this case, male allies can champion women in the business and industry in all interactions, from working to see representation at senior levels to ensuring women are represented and heard in everyday meetings.”
“As an ally, I make sure that I actively listen to women and their experiences, frustrations, passions and desires,” said Adam. “We must learn more about one another’s perspectives, and our own privileges and unconscious biases, and most importantly, come together to act in a positive way.”
Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, Senior Manager of Public Relations and Communication at Samsung Electronics Mexico, is also a member of Women at Samsung (SEM-S). She spoke about why she appreciated working for a company that actively empowers women and embraces equity.
“Samsung has supported me by giving me all the means to grow, not only by providing me with opportunities to grow in leadership roles but also by giving me the tools to go beyond my goals,” said Maria Fernanda. “I can be an empathetic team player that contributes to the development of my other team members.”
“I am confident that with more strong female leaders who can inspire the next generation of women, we will be able to close the gender gap in the tech industry,” said Maria Fernanda.
Lunch Talk & One Table: Gathering Employee Feedback to Improve Women’s Experiences at Work
To create a work environment that anyone can enjoy, Samsung holds annual events and campaigns for employees all over the world to celebrate special DEI days, including International Women’s Day, International Day of People with Disability and World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. For this year’s International Women’s Day, Samsung’s management and female executives will hold a Lunch Talk meeting to discuss ways to improve DEI. Samsung also will have a One Table event hosted by Jong-Hee Han to listen to the concerns faced by female employees, including female developers and working moms, and to discuss ways to foster female leadership.
The ideas discussed at the meetings will then be delivered to the DEI Secretariat and integrated into organization management. The participants and leaders of each organization will discuss how Samsung can make a consistent effort for gender equality and suggest various opinions to management, ranging from employee mindset to systemic improvement for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Global Women’s Week: Celebrating Diversity, Inclusion and Gender Equality
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Vice Chairman Jong-Hee Han and President and CEO Kye Hyun Kyung deliver a message emphasizing the importance of gender equality and DEI to all employees of the DX Division. Vice Chairman Han underlined the value of diversity, equity and inclusion with his determination to “make an effort to form an organizational culture where all employees from various backgrounds feel that they’re part of the organization.” He emphasized his goal to help employees “fully unleash their potential through equal opportunity.”
About 5,000 Samsung worldwide executives and employees worldwide interested in DEI actively participate in Samsung’s 33 ERGs, which offer everything from networking and mentoring to education at ERG. These groups work hard not only to improve the experience of Samsung employees but also to volunteer and give back to the local community. Among them, these large-scale women’s ERGs operate programs for networking and career development of female executives and employees, striving to strengthen women’s capabilities at work.
Every year since 2017, One Family Council has been holding an annual “Pink Box” charity event at Suwon Digital City for young women from low-income families. This year, a “Pink Box” containing DIY keyrings, women’s items and encouraging messages will be delivered to 100 teenagers.
During the week of International Women’s Day, overseas regional head offices also hold meetings with female employees, DEI webinars with external instructors and panel discussions, in addition to offering vacations for female employees, gift delivery events and more.
Samsung continues to work toward creating a space that goes beyond being just a workplace and fosters employees’ growth by letting them unleash their potential. Samsung’s move toward making an organization where employees and the company can grow together is accelerating the steps toward a better future.