Home » International Women's Day » What makes a great workplace: flexibility, investment and DEI

Erica Skelly

Talent Acquisition and DE&I Lead, Aviva Ireland

Fiona Mills

Internal Communications Associate, Aviva Ireland

Carina Galavan

Property Fund & Sustainability (ESG) Specialist, Aviva Ireland

Discover the Best Workplaces for Women 2024, released on the 7th of March, and celebrate the companies championing inclusion and empowering women at work.

Following bronze-level accreditation with Investors in Diversity Ireland, Aviva Ireland has been named one of the Best Workplaces for Women 2024. “There are numerous reasons why Aviva has made it onto this list,” says Erica Skelly, the company’s Talent Acquisition and DE&I Lead.

Creating an inclusive work culture

What it boils down to is genuinely engaging with diversity, equity and inclusion by fostering a supportive company culture and building an environment where everyone can thrive.

She says: “We’re making sure that people have the right resources and tools to enable them to be themselves at work, but also ensure that we have an inclusive work environment where people have the right supports to enable them to work effectively and progress in the organisation.”

Employee-led inclusion committees

This is achieved through the work of members on five committees: (1) Balance for gender diversity; (2) Pride; (3) Carers; (4) Ability; and (5) Origins. “Successful events can impact policy,” says Carina Galavan, DEI Balance Committee co-chair.

“While we’ve had some high-profile speakers, the accounts from people within the company have been the most impactful to policy changes.”

Webinars on pregnancy loss and the personal impact on both female and male colleagues have helped shape policies and create greater awareness. Similarly, the same amount of maternity and paternity leave is offered, creating a level playing field and ensuring that women don’t feel negatively impacted by time off on maternity leave.

Webinars on pregnancy loss and the personal impact
on both female and male colleagues have helped
shape policies and create greater awareness.

Internal career progression

Sponsoring and mentoring across our pipeline of women is key to accelerating movement into senior leadership roles, notes Galavan. “I’ve been on an Emerging Leaders programme, a leadership course within Aviva. It was progressive, and it made me feel privileged that this amount of time and resources was invested into my personal development.”

Flexible working hours

To be one of the Best Places for Women to Work, employers must support them through various life stages, including maternity leave and returning to work part-time.

Fiona Mills, DEI Balance Committee co-chair requested to transition to part-time after one year of full-time employment. “I didn’t see it happening at this stage in my career, but my manager completely supported it,” she says. “I work a 21-hour week; it’s brilliant and life-changing. My youngest is only in senior infants, and I really didn’t think I’d be able to be present in my parent life at home while simultaneously doing what I want in my career.”

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