For women like Raquel Delgado Cortes, joining Schindler was more than just a career change. After more than two years of unemployment it was an opportunity to feel valued again. Raquel explains how the Women Back to Business program in Schindler Iberia helped her to re-discover her confidence.
"At 52 years of age, with over 20 years of international experience in the beauty industry, leading negotiations with distributors, I was used to working in challenging multicultural environments," Raquel explains. "So, I was confident of finding another job when I returned to Spain after 10 years of working in the United States." She had already been offered a position in Paris, but turned it down to be closer to her parents in Spain.
"I wasn’t really aware of the exceptionally high unemployment rate in Spain and how difficult it would be to find a job," she adds. Despite her extensive experience and evident self-confidence, she was unable to secure a new role. Her positivity was gradually fading. "Suddenly, I saw this program advertised on LinkedIn called Women Back to Business and thought it sounded incredible, so I applied," Raquel says.
Fast-forward to today, and Raquel works as a Key Account Manager in our Existing Installations and Modernization team, based out of Madrid. "The Women Back to Business program was intense, well organized and a great experience," she says.
Women Back to Business
Women Back to Business was launched in November 2021. The six-month program, managed by Schindler Iberia, is specifically geared toward women who have taken a career break to look after dependents or raise a family and are looking to re-enter the workforce. Nine women joined the inaugural program in 2021 with a view to joining Schindler on a permanent basis.
Norma Hernández Barrientos, Head of Talent Management for Schindler Iberia, explains how the program was devised: "We wanted to bring more women on board, especially in the operations areas, so we started to explore if we could support women wanting to return to their career after having a break," she says. "The program would also go some way toward helping tackle the high unemployment rates observed in Spain and Portugal."
Goodbye to self-doubt!
Hetzhabel Khazen Granado, who was also part of the program’s first intake, says the approach was refreshing. "Too often, despite having experienced people available, many companies look to hire young people," she says.
Like many other women in her cohort, Hetzhabel was concerned she wouldn’t be up to the task. Catarina de Noronha Sêrro and Nadia Llinares Peiró were worried their skills would be out of date or that they wouldn’t ‘be good enough’ for a company such as Schindler, after several years away from the job market.
But these fears proved unfounded and dissipated quickly once the program got underway. "The program was very supportive," Hetzhabel says.
The first six months of the program involve training and shadowing as part of the reintegration process. The new joiners can work on a flexible or part-time basis and spend the first months of the program learning about business tools such as MS Office, the Schindler business model, customer orientation, sales, and have specific training in the area where they will work. No performance targets and bonuses are set during this period.
In the following six months, participants are expected to move into a role with formal objectives and bonuses. To date, five of the women have secured permanent roles with Schindler as a result of the Women Back to Business program.
Because this was uncharted territory, an open mindset was vital to make this a success. "It was a new program for everyone, including line managers, so inevitably they had questions," explains Norma, who oversees talent management at Schindler Iberia. "There was no manual as we were experiencing this for the very first time, so we worked closely with managers to make the process as smooth as possible."
Looking ahead, there are clear plans to refine and continue with the program. "It has been super successful no matter how you look at it," says Norma.
"First of all, it was a way to prove our commitment to inclusion and diversity. But it's not just a commitment that's public somewhere, these women are working directly into the branches, and they are already performing successfully." In short, we’re walking the talk.
If you would like to find out more about the program and how it might benefit your KG, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.