JOHANNESBURG, SA, (August 5th, 2020) – Xylem Africa is proud to share its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) goals for 2020 and beyond. As we celebrate women in August, it’s a good time for individuals and companies to consider how they support and celebrate diversity in the workplace. This matter sits close to the spirit and soul of Xylem, where through our water projects, we routinely impact lives, work with communities and experience first-hand the importance of celebrating differences.
“We will not be the most innovative company if we do not create a diverse and truly inclusive environment where people feel they can bring their authentic self to work every day,” said Patrick Decker, Xylem’s global President and CEO.
Xylem Africa’s D&I goals
Africa is a diverse continent with many unique people, hosting many microcosms of D&I where different people work together to realise their futures collectively. Xylem Africa has developed its D&I goals to celebrate this spirit of cooperation and potential:
- Create gender parity in all occupational levels, currently we have approximately 90% of our goal
- Aim for the numerical goals of Xylem Africa’s three-year employment equity plan to address our diversity disparities, including people with disabilities
- Recruit diverse candidates on final shortlist, with diversity defined on a country basis
- Achieve 10% increase in previously disadvantaged employees
- Create a workplace female leader group
- Provide D&I events that include Xylem Africa’s customers, suppliers, partners and communities. These include gender-based violence awareness, International Women’s Day, Heritage Day, breast cancer awareness, and distributor events in Africa around female participation
- Create Africa Awareness sessions on D&I to people managers, including health awareness for females
“Diversity and inclusion are not about Xylem Africa’s image,” said Jeanette Greenwood, HR Director for Africa at Xylem. “It’s about how we achieve our successes. Homogenous teams start off well, but because they are so similar, they soon run out of creative ideas for new solutions. The challenges and requirements surrounding water demand new ideas, often at a very grassroots level. D&I is a critical part of delivering the best services and solutions wherever we operate on the planet. The D&I goals from Xylem Africa will bring us closer to that.”
Touching real lives
Women play a crucial role in Xylem Africa’s operations. Lynette Mkwebo is building a solid career as both a knowledge expert around legal metrology – standards of weights and measures, etc. – and as an invaluable team member thanks to her high-quality work and natural motivation of others. A single mother, she joined Sensus, a Xylem subsidiary, in 2013 as a cleaner and soon became interested in meter testing and other water-related activities.
Lynette has been involved with water metering for over four years as a qualified Verification Officer in Legal Metrology, and has been working directly at Xylem since 2018:
“There is always a very large demand for water and, in turn, there is a massive shortage of fresh drinking water in South Africa. All in all, water is a basic need for all. Women grew up believing that working with water was a field for men. But it’s high time now we stand and work hand-in-hand with them, giving each other advice.”
Ngwakwana Enocentia Molife is another rising star at Xylem Africa. Before joining Xylem as a general assistant, she had worked in retail and earned a qualification in Travel and Tourism supply changes. Five years later, Ngwakwana is today one of Xylem’s top assemblers and testers of meters, and she places a lot of personal pride into her work:
“It feels good to know that you are a valuable person in the community, because of what we are doing for our communities. I’m from a small village where access to water isn’t easy. But water is the basic ingredient of life that everyone needs to have. l make sure that my meters are 100-percent well made.”
She added that perseverance is the mother of success, and all women must stand up for themselves:
“It’s 2020, the year of leadership. We should make sure that we are the leaders of our families. Let’s fight for our opportunities!”
This spirit of empowerment resonates across Xylem’s workforce, from our professionals on the ground to senior managers and the executive. For Tariro Shuro, Operations Manager at Xylem Africa, water and women can both be powerful agents of change in Africa:
“What do women and water have in common? That’s an easy one! We’re all sources of life. I strive continually to bring clean water to the communities in Africa, and I encourage women out there to do the same. Happy women’s day!”
The argument for D&I
The merits of diversity and inclusion are becoming more indisputable through empirical data. According to the Scout report, Gender Equity Starts With Hiring 2019, highly inclusive organisations generate 2.3 times more cash flow and 1.4 times more revenue per employee, and rate themselves 170% better at innovation.
Evidence from other sources corroborate the positive impact of D&I:
- Diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers (McKinsey)
- 85% of CEOs with D&I strategies say it’s helped performance (PwC)
- Gender-diverse management teams generate 48% higher operating margins (McKinsey)
- Diversity Inc.’s top 50 companies outperform stock performance by 25% (Diversity Inc.)
- Gender equity can add US$12 trillion to the global economy (McKinsey)
Yet these changes do not happen naturally. For example, the World Bank’s Water Global Practice found that less than one in five water workers are women, and women are underrepresented in technical and managerial positions, On average, only 23% of licensed engineers are women.
“There has been progress in the water industry, but this is only the beginning,” said Vincent Chirouze, Xylem’s Regional Managing Director for Africa. “Our purpose at Xylem is to positively impact communities by helping make sustainable and reliable clean water available to everyone. But you can’t help everyone if you don’t include everyone. It’s a team effort, and we will continue to make diversity and inclusion a core part of our mission.”
As we celebrate women this August, Xylem Africa is reaffirming its journey towards true diversity and inclusion. Through our 2020 D&I goals, and by continuing to support the careers of ambitious people such as Lynette, Ngwakwana, and Tariro we are helping build a more inclusive Africa that provides water for all her people.
Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to developing innovative technology solutions to the world’s water challenges. The Company’s products and services move, treat, analyze, monitor and return water to the environment in public utility, industrial, residential and commercial building services settings. Xylem also provides a leading portfolio of smart metering, network technologies and advanced infrastructure analytics solutions for water, electric and gas utilities.
The Company’s more than 16,500 employees bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on identifying comprehensive, sustainable solutions. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New York with 2017 revenue of $4.7 billion, Xylem does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands.
The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all — that which occurs in nature. For more information, please visit us at www.xylem.com.