The Talent Economy Podcast

Share

Piloting a Program for Radical Flexibility

Season 2, Ep. 15

The last year and a half has caused massive changes in all of our lives, both personal and professional. What if a company decided not only to embrace those changes, but also to use them as a catalyst for large-scale evolution in the way we work and in the way we think about work? In this episode, we speak with Leena Nair, the first female, the first Asian individual, and the youngest ever Chief Human Resources Officer of Unilever, about what the company is doing to create a radically flexible work model—and the benefits that approach can hold for everyone involved.  

Nair heads a pioneering agenda for Unilever’s 149,000-strong workforce. Under her direction, the London-based company has achieved a 50/50 gender balance across global leadership and now offers a living wage across its supply chain. Her expertise has driven business growth to €50 billion. Nair began her Unilever career at Hindustan Unilever, where she became the first woman on the management committee in 90 years, heading HR. She was also appointed the first woman on the Unilever South Asia leadership team and was responsible for Unilever’s growth in five markets with a business size of around €6 billion. Nair has continued to redefine how big business can contribute to the environment and society; she has a reputation for putting the people at the heart of the business, driving growth, and taking risks to create a better business and a better society.

Nair speaks about the unprecedented flexibility that Unilever is currently piloting with its workforce, how the company encourages its employees to be lifelong learners, and her push to continue valuing all the lessons learned over the last 18 months. She also shares with us the lesson Unilever learned about treating every country’s workforce according to the country’s own culture, and why it’s so important that the company continue to support its employees in every way possible, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Questions Asked:

  • What can you tell us about the program that’s allowing people to get an education while maintaining job security?
  • What more can you tell us about how Unilever is imagining what will happen next?
  • Unilever wants all its employees to have a future-fit skill set by 2025. What is a future-fit skill set? And how are you ensuring that goal is met?

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How COVID-19 has forced employers and employees alike to slow down and take stock of the way we work. 
  • The ways Unilever strives to support its employees’ well-being—mentally, physically, and emotionally. 
  • How other companies can learn from Unilever’s gender balance and what they can do to achieve the same. 

Links:


More Episodes

11/7/2022

Chegg: Taking On Employees’ Education Debt

Season 2, Ep. 38
Chegg is a connected platform enabling students to learn more in less time—and at reduced costs. The company offers discounted textbooks, online tutoring, and other student services, while providing diverse employee upskilling and development opportunities. Debra Thompson is Chegg’s Chief People Officer, infusing the brand’s culture of innovation, transparency, wellness, and work/life balance throughout the company. Previously, she served as Director of Compensation, Benefits, and HR Operations at Amyris and held directorial and managerial roles at RMS, CNET Networks, and Lucent Technologies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and personnel administration/industrial relations from California State University, East Bay.Some Questions Asked:What is Chegg’s approach to the upskilling, learning, and development of internal teams? 5:17What is the culture like at Chegg, and how do you maintain it? 11:53Can you tell us about Chegg’s partnership with the Tides Foundation? 21:54 In This Episode, You Will Learn:How Chegg offers learning opportunities for all employees, such as its Level Up initiative that includes seven different flagship management trainings, like giving and receiving feedback and behavioral interviewing, as well as its EDU for You program that gives staff money to pursue education in their personal fields of interest.That the culture at Chegg is built on openness, assumptions of positive intent from everyone, and optimal work/life balance—and that the company holds an annual culture, belonging, and diversity summit.How the brand’s philanthropic arm, Chegg.org, partners with groups to combat hunger, promote good health and well-being, deliver access to quality education and decent work opportunities, and reduce inequalities throughout the world. Links:Debra Thompson - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast