DEPOSITA HARNESSES ITS LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE CASH SOLUTIONS INDUSTRY TO PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY
“At Deposita, we are all about inclusiveness. That’s why we are building a talent pipeline and setting measurable hiring and promotion goals,” says Sohana Mannie, head of HR at Deposita. “As part of that, we identify women who are ready to fill leadership roles in a fast-changing world.”
As someone who is passionate about sparking positive change in others’ lives, Sohana strives to nurture employees in ways that spur their professional growth as well as the company’s vision and mission. She explains how Deposita promotes gender equality in the workplace and delivers on its promise to empower women.
The Deposita slogan is “Do more with what's yours.” This also lends itself to human capital. How does Deposita make the most of its talent?
We start by hiring the best in the market, but don’t stop there. While equipping and empowering our employees helps them to reach their full potential, truly productive and driven staff are engaged and connected. In fact, engaged employees frequently exceed performance expectations.
To achieve that, we encourage an open communication policy between staff and management. What’s more, our annual employee engagement surveys examine every aspect of employees’ experience to determine what serves as motivators or demotivators.
As head of HR, how do you foster a culture of gender equality and diversity in a workplace?
As a leader in the cash solutions business, Deposita aims to foster business practices that empower women and promote gender equality. Those include equal pay for work of equal value, gender-responsive supply chain practices and a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment in the workplace.
The bedrock of our culture is an environment that ensures men’s and women’s health and safety. We build on that foundation by promoting women’s education, training and professional development to secure a high-level of gender equality in leadership.
The pandemic normalised remote work at many companies. Is that also true of Deposita and can more flexible work policies help women, especially those with parenting responsibilities, to find employment?
It’s important to remember that flexible work policies also benefit men with parenting responsibilities. That said, remote work is not suitable for every skill set. For those roles that lend themselves to a home office setup, we need a culture of trust that is earned by employees who manage their work and deliver on expectations.
Thanks to our strong focus on technology and our mature workforce at Deposita, I have encouraged remote work and noticed a boost in productivity and performance. And that is, after all, the top priority for any organisation.
The most recent 2021 PWC Executive Directors report indicates that only 13% of all executives, including CEOs and CFOs, in South Africa are female. How do you ensure women rise up the ranks?
Companies need to do the same things they do for men – create an environment where women can thrive. That not only means entrusting female employees with greater responsibilities and supporting their ideas but also mentoring them.
Leadership programmes for women are one way to advance them. Of course, without senior leaders of all genders who support women, it’s difficult to effect transformation. That’s why I think women’s forums where they can not only exchange ideas and advice on succeeding in their roles but also use their influence to open doors can be invaluable. Such forums would give women the confidence to take risks and move out of their comfort zones.
Talking about taking risks, Deposita is a business that helps its customers manage risks, specifically those related to cash. Have you noticed that men and women approach risk differently?
Most studies indicating that men take greater risks define risk in physical and financial terms. With that in mind, I believe the best way to redefine professional risk more broadly is by celebrating women who successfully push the envelope. Their stories can reframe the dominant male narrative.
In an increasingly complex world, leaders must weigh a lot of factors with the potential to impact on strategic objectives and the people under their supervision. For those reasons, the best decisions on risk should be a collaborative effort between men and women.
Security – from armed guards to cybersecurity – remains one of the more male dominated sectors in our economy. How do you think we can change the idea that “it’s a man’s job” from within the industry?
Employers are instrumental to driving change. With greater diversity and equality in the business, we can lead by example and shift perceptions of those roles. After all, we now have female health and safety officers in the mining sector and women bus drivers. Ladies are also capable.
Women are less likely to pursue careers where there are few female role models. How do we escape this chicken-and-egg situation?
I believe we are slowly moving away from our patriarchal past, but we need more women in leadership roles and a female head of state. At Deposita, we identify women who are ready to fill leadership roles in a fast-changing world.
What can HR do to make women feel welcome when they are – even if temporarily – the only woman in a team/department?
As head of HR, I would advocate for them and ensure that their voices are heard in meetings. Driving change is a continual effort not a one-time event. When consistently championed, women rise to influential leadership roles.
And the arguments for doing so are compelling: All forms of diversity in leadership are good for business because different perspectives inspire innovation, giving companies a competitive edge and fuelling growth. Society, in turn, also benefits.
What advice do you have for women who want to climb the corporate ranks?
In our organisation, I encourage women with leadership ambitions to develop a plan for acquiring skills along the way, instead of aiming for perfection when applying for roles. In addition to expanding your knowledge and skills, this is a list of other ways you can up your game:
- Stay agile so that you can respond to changes in market conditions and adapt to any environment.
- Embrace a servant leadership style when upskilling and managing teams.
- Never miss a chance to network.
- Remember this isn’t a one-woman show; encourage participation and team spirit.
- Take a solution-driven approach to organisational growth.
- Promote a culture of learning.
WITH DEPOSITA, YOUR BUSINESS IS IN GOOD HANDS
Deposita is a leading cash and payments management company. Now you know a little more about the kind of people we employ and how we approach challenges, you might want to find out how we can help your business grow and become more profitable through end-to-end cash management solutions.
To learn more about how we can help optimise your business, please get in touch.