Andrew Fletcher: Living Diversity

Building an inclusive workplace together

Building an inclusive workplace together

Andrew Fletcher, Head of Shared Services/Director of AccountingAndrew Fletcher

Head of shared services/Director of Accounting at TÜV SÜD America

How do you practice and live diversity?
It must be a deliberate part of your everyday thought process. We have natural tendencies to align people around us with similar personalities and ideas. I have been fortunate to have worked and travelled in many countries and seen how different cultures can stifle innovative ideas based on rigid thinking patterns. My mantra has always been leadership can come from anywhere in an organization and having an open communication line means good ideas can bubble up. There is a lot of information available regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and it’s a good way to ground yourself where you might miss the mark individually.

How do you encourage diversity in your team and get your directs to walk the talk?
I actively encourage my teams to work on projects together and share ideas how to solve problems. The strength is ultimately in the team functioning well as a whole not just one or two individuals. Being able to listen and address conflicts or business issues effectively is key. I don’t expect everyone to be best friends, but I do expect them to challenge one another and legacy processes working in a respectful manner to come the table with ideas to improve a situation.

Can you share an experience where you have seen the positive impact of having a diverse team?
Our work environment is constantly evolving as technology and regulations change. Having a broad range of experience and backgrounds on the teams helps keep your organization agile. I have a predominantly female team who come from varied backgrounds both culturally and geographically. This helps create the opportunity for different perspectives and skillsets to contribute to how we manage our workflows.

We are an international company and I think this helps us liaise with our Global colleagues more effectively. We have also been able to promote from within for key positions recently and I hope that it is an encouragement for staff to see a path to further their careers in TÜV SÜD and perceived barriers are not a roadblock. 

In your opinion and experience, what are some of the challenges for women to develop their careers to senior level (management or specialist) in TÜV SÜD?
Our industry in general has historically been a male dominated environment and that legacy can be hard to breakdown. Across the board we are seeing more women involved in engineering roles and those cultural norms have shifted. I do think Women still suffer from the burden of having to overachieve just to be accepted as capable in several disciplines in business environments but it its pleasing to see more Women in senior leadership roles.

If there is one piece of advice that you would give to our female colleagues who wish to further develop their careers in TÜV SÜD, what would it be? 
Advocate for yourself and what skills you can bring to the table. There are many formalized leadership development programs in place that can help you with some of the skills you might need or to be refined but also be willing to put forward an idea.

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