Global corporations aren’t often known for their people-first policies. In fact, businesses today are often in a state of flux with seemingly endless restructures, ‘leaning down’ phases and cost-cutting exercises that, in the pursuit of the bottom line, can leave employees quite literally out in the cold. So, it’s uplifting to hear about a global giant that’s putting its people, predominantly women, first with some pretty progressive policies here in Australia and around the world.
A successful foundation
Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) is a global corporation with a vast portfolio of brands and over 46,000 employees worldwide. Founded 73 years ago in New York City by Mrs Estée Lauder and her husband Joseph, the company launched with a modest range of four skincare products under the Estée Lauder name. Two years later, in 1948 they established their first department store account with Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and the Estée Lauder beauty empire was born.
That Estée Lauder herself launched her namesake business in the 1940s was exceptional for a woman, and so was her ongoing commitment to supporting women in the workforce. This was ingrained in the company’s DNA from the start and is today one of the contributing factors to ELC’s ranking as a global employer of choice.
The company has strived to empower women at all levels of the company, wherever they work, from manufacturing facilities, laboratories, corporate offices to retail environments. Today, women constitute 84 per cent of ELC’s global workforce, with 53 per cent of senior positions (Vice President and above) held by women and 43 per cent of the company’s Board of Directors. In Australia the number is higher still, with women making up 92% of the Australian Estée Lauder team.
Katherine Mamontoff, Online and Omni Channel General Manager at Estée Lauder Companies Australia says “I think as women we can do a much better job of supporting one another and celebrating our wins”. “Initiatives like marie claire’s Glass Ceiling Awards really help to project positive role models to the younger generation today.”
Walking the talk
2019 has been a big year for ELC, with further recognition as an employer of choice for their celebration of diversity and multiculturalism, with a Women’s Choice Awards for ‘Best Company for Women’ and ‘Best Company for Multicultural Women,’ as well as the Forbes’ list of America’s ‘Best Employers for Diversity 2019.’
With a nod to ELC’s collective commitment to action and advocacy, the company has been named to the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second year in a row. Among other global rankings, ELC was ranked among Fortune’s ‘50 Best Places to Work in The Fortune 500,’ in China, United Arab Emirates, Mexico and the U.K. and Ireland. Additionally, ELC’s impressive Human Rights Campaign score designates the company as a ‘Best Place to Work’ for LGBTQ equality.
Through its charity initiatives, employee programs and corporate values, ELC has continuously ‘walked the talk’. It’s a company that prides itself on being a caring, compassionate global citizen with a plan to build on those values into the future.
A recent Forbes report called out the numerous opportunities, career trajectories and stretch assignments ELC offers to employees globally. This includes extensive mentoring and reverse mentoring opportunities to support career growth and new family-friendly policies, including parental leave.
A family company itself, ELC announced enhancements to its family-related programs, policies and benefits for eligible U.S. employees in April 2018. This further improved ELC’s previously existing parental leave policy and its commitment to becoming a leading global employer. The current benefits offered include an expanded Paid Parental Leave Policy and a Back-to-Work Flexibility Policy, Adoption Assistance Program, and back-up child, adult and elder care.
Heidi Philps, Head of Human Resources Estée Lauder Companies Australia says, “We’ve recently increased our parental leave and no longer recognise primary status, so, this means that both mums and dads get to enjoy the benefit.”
Word of career wisdom from Heidi and Katherine
We asked Heidi and Katherine what advice they would give to women entering the workforce or looking to make a move.
Says Heidi, “Do your research. Make sure you find a company that offers you an environment where you can be at your best and that includes the culture and its benefits. As for what employers are looking for in the future, it’s emotional intelligence, social influence, resilience, empathy and the ability to critically solve problems.”
“Be open to learning about more than your role is responsible for,” Katherine advises. “Offer solutions when facing problems. They might not be the right solution, but it shows your ability to think independently. That goes a long way.”
Interested in joining the ELC family? Check their career page for current opportunities.