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Case study: How Singtel promotes workplace diversity

Headquartered in Singapore, Singtel is Asia’s leading communications group, providing a diverse range of services including fixed, mobile, data, internet, TV, infocomms technology (ICT) and digital solutions. Singtel believes in providing a diverse, inclusive and collaborative work culture  Tweet This! as well as an environment that values differences, to achieve better business results.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by Singtel published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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The Singtel Group employs over 25,000 people, with about 13,000 in Singapore and 9,000 in Australia. Providing a fair, performance-based, inclusive and diverse work culture that fosters innovative thinking to solve business challenges, is a top priority for Singtel. In order to promote workplace diversity Singtel took action to:

  • foster gender equality and diversity
  • promote a multigenerational workplace
  • employ persons with differing abilities

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Singtel identified a range of material issues, such as customer data privacy and protection, anti-corruption, product and service quality, employee health and safety. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for Singtel.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Singtel engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Civil Society/SSOS/Not-for-Profit

 

·      Regular discussions with various Social Service Organisations (SSOs) to identify support needs and trends
Government and Regulators ·      Participation in consultation process

·      Business roundtables to provide input on policy aspects

Media ·      Regular interview sessions by Management
Customers ·      Monthly Singtel customer experience survey

·       Customer touchpoints

Industry Bodies ·      Presentations at industry seminars

·      Active membership in various industry bodies

Trade Unions

 

·      Regular Management Union dialogues

·      Management Union workshops and retreats

Employees ·      Quarterly staff briefing

·      Annual staff engagement survey

Investors ·      Annual General Meeting

·      Quarterly updates on financial results

·      Half-year investor roadshows by Top Management

Suppliers ·      Supplier Code of Conduct

·      Supplier surveys

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Singtel obtained direct inputs from both internal (management and staff) and external stakeholders, through a Group-wide stakeholder engagement exercise.

What actions were taken by Singtel to promote workplace diversity?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Singtel reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity:

  • Fostering gender equality and diversity
  • Gender diversity remains a key area for Singtel, as it continues to focus on increasing the representation of women in senior leadership and key technical roles. Female employees account for 34% of Singtel’s workforce, with 35% in Singapore and 32% in Australia, and represent 26% of Singtel’s top and middle management positions.
  • Promoting a multigenerational workplace
  • Singtel values the experience, perspectives and wisdom that its silver talents bring to the company. During FY2018, more than 100 employees in Singapore attended Re-employment: Equipping and Developing Yourself (READY) and Rethink 50, Singtel’s two Silver Talent programmes aimed to help them cope with possible life changes and career transitions. READY is targeted at employees above the age of 58, while Rethink 50 is designed to help employees between 50 and 59 years old. Both programmes help participants to review their own financial circumstances and make more informed financial decisions, assess self-awareness and behavioural style and build relational skills with family and friends. In July 2017, the Tripartite Guidelines on Re-employment were revised from 65 to 67 years old. Singtel is fully supportive of this move, as it will further strengthen its silver talent workforce in Singapore.
  • Employing persons with differing abilities
  • Singtel values the inclusion of persons with differing abilities in the company, in line with its philosophy of building an inclusive workplace and society. In Singapore, Singtel continues to work closely with national agency SG Enable on training, internships and employment of persons with disabilities, who also form a critical talent pipeline with today’s labour crunch. During FY2018, Singtel supported its Institute of Higher Learning Internship Programme and took in two tertiary students with hearing impairment and one student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who did their internship with its Consumer Operations and Finance units. As one of the founding members, Singtel also participates actively in the Singapore Business Network on DisAbility (SBNoD), set up in 2015. The SBNoD group of companies has been supporting SG Enable’s 12-week RISE Mentorship Programme, launched in 2017, for tertiary students with disabilities. Singtel fielded three top and seven middle management members as mentors for ten students with various forms of disabilities over three runs of this programme.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

2) Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men

 

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Employee training and education

Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Singtel, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Singtel: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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