What are your views on internal promotion versus external hires?
What we found in Smiths before was actually the lack of the internal progression. So, in the past, when we looked at the statistics, we had, out of every five open roles, only two of those roles went to the internal candidates, and three went to the external, which of course created the dissatisfaction and lack of career progress for people, men or women, overall. So, we really wanted to reverse that trend. It was really important for the engagement of the people. And I'm really pleased to say that we've already reversed that trend.
So, over the last six months, rather than two out of five, we've got four out of five roles going to the internal candidate. So, that was a priority for us to increase the internal mobility, again, [for] men and women. And we can mentor women, we can support how to develop and really plan that promotion. But, in some cases where we either don't have the expertise or the right people internally, we would definitely go to the market. And we've been able to attract very successful candidates [from] the market.
Why has Smiths joined 25x25?
There are few really good reasons for why we joined 25x25. One we want to make a really strong statement with this. We want to join with the people who think similar to us, who are also making that strong statement. And also, we recognize that we are far from being perfect in the area of fostering diversity. So, we want to learn from the best and from the network.
Can you tell us why you joined Smiths?
Why I joined Smiths is I love companies that make something, that create something. And the other thing, I saw the potential - I think that the company's performance over the years has been quite flat and I really see the potential and the opportunity. And over the recent years, we are already seeing that we are starting to gain or recover some of that potential. And we're certainly really, really excited about what we can achieve in the future. So, that's where I am and that's why I'm in Smiths.
What main differences do you see in gender balance across oil & gas, mining and industrials?
I see a lot of similarities, rather than differences. I'm absolutely convinced that the gender balance is not dependent on the industry. The gender balance is primarily dependent on the leadership commitment and consistency that the company displays. And I also know that once you show that leadership commitment, you can make enormous progress. But once that leadership commitment reduces, then all of a sudden, we slide back into the lack of balance and then you have to lift it up again. With the leadership commitment and the knowing why you do it, you can achieve tremendous things.
How has Smiths improved gender-balance?
We've put a lot of the emphasis now on the pipeline. So, over the last year, we established some really clear processes and every spring, we do what we call the CEO Roundtables that focus only on the development of, particularly, our top people, [and] on succession planning for our critical roles. And we go quite in-depth in those conversations and make sure that we come out with specific actions.
When we look across the company at all the fairly large P&L roles, we've got 21 of them. It's true - we are, at that level, still primarily male-dominated, but over this the last year we've appointed two women in those extremely visible large general management roles. So, there's definitely progress. And now, we have Exco mentoring, and we know that mentoring works - mentoring really, really works here. So, for example, out of 22 women that Exco currently mentors, in the last nine months, we've already promoted, or moved into the positions with new responsibilities, seven of them. So, we will definitely continue on that path.
Do you think targets work?
Exco spend a lot of time discussing what are the key indicators for the current year, how they connect, how they balance the performance. And so, we've got five people and culture priorities on the company scorecard. And one of them is gender balance and specifically for the senior cohort. So, we know that targets work and we want to continue to have the targets.