Managing gender diversity in ASOS plc Report

Introduction

ASOS plc is a fashion and beauty-retailing corporation that operates and sells its products online. The company has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. In addition, the corporation transacts its business in many countries outside Europe. In fact, the firm has over fifty thousand branded and labeled products to the clients spread across one hundred and ninety countries.

Further, the firm, from its delivery centers in the United Kingdom distributes the products to diverse destinations around the globe (ASOS, 2011). The bulk of ASOS plc customers are derived from the young people within their twenties since the group consumes most of the corporation’s fashion products. As a result, the corporation boasts of a customer base of over seventeen million clients across the world.

The aims of the company

The establishment of the company was based on the aim of achieving the status of a world leader in online fashion and beauty retail industry. Therefore, the company’s philosophy and smaller goals are critical in the attainment of the broader objectives. The organisation’s philosophy calls for the integrating both the interests of the shareholders and the executive level through fairness in the division of rewards, perils as well as participation in the company’s state of affairs (ASOS, 2011).

In addition, profitability remains one of the major aims of ASOS plc to be achieved through organic growth and capital investment. Increase in productivity of the company will be a recipe for the delivery of returns to the shareholders. Moreover, taking into account the interests of the stakeholders including the personnel, shareholders, and suppliers, the communities in which they function and other stakeholders remain critical in the operations of the operations of ASOS plc.

Of great importance, the firm aspires to sustain its global expansion through opening specific websites that are able to attract large masses in the countries where the organisation conducts its businesses. Further, ASOS plc’s promotional techniques have proved invaluable in aiding the organisation to position over the rival retail online businesses in the world markets.

In addition, the organisation intends to expand its labels and set up its independent credentials as the global fashion trademark (ASOS, 2011). The firm also aims to deliver gross margin efficiency that will be reinvested in the pricing and prepositioning of the clients.

In essence, ASOS has a dedication of ensuring that it achieves the status of a worldwide head in the online retail industry through targeting the younger generation. As such, the firm constantly modifies its pricing techniques as well as the products to acquire large number of clients (ASOS, 2011). The company products provide extra worth to its clients and are in line with the market demands.

The strategic policies

To attain its goals and objectives, the company must have strategic plans that take into consideration its core competencies. One of the areas that company emphasizes is the management of its human resources. Being a global company requires competent expertise to enable the organisation expand and remain competitive into the international market. Diversity within the workforce remains critical within the international corporations (ASOS, 2011).

ASOS plc employees remain diversified not only in terms of other factors but also in terms of gender. Managing diversity within the workforce is one of the strategic plans the company undertakes to attain its international expansion goals.

Diversified workforce remains significant for the attainment of the objectives of the company within the international marketplace. The human resources strategic plans includes policies that will ensure the company hires and promote men in executive positions but also women with high achievements and academic qualifications.

Managing gender diversity within an organisation

The operations of an organisation’s personnel can be diversified in various ways including gender. Considering the gender attributes in the workplace among many business organisations, women have always received the least representation especially at the top levels of corporate management (Badgett, 2005). However, the company has increasingly recognised the importance of incorporating educated women at the influential levels of governance.

For instance, over the past years, several women encountered a number of bottlenecks in their aspirations to develop their careers and reach higher levels of management in most of the UK as well as other leading global companies. Just to begin with, the foremost obstacle faced was the discrimination based on gender where women were not allowed to gain top positions in management (Bielby & Baron, 2000).

However, with the development of education, women are moving from the low skilled positions to highly skilled positions (Blandford, 2003). The tendency has been attributed to the steps that current organisations are undertaking in eliminating the structures that discriminated women from the top job positions.

In fact, most organisations have increasingly recognised the imperative role played by embracing gender diversity in augmenting the company’s output as well as reputations (Goodman et al., 2003). ASOS plc international expansion depends on the reputation the company have build overtime.

The gender diversity policy within the workforce is aimed at increasing the company reputation. Since the company majorly deals in women wares, taking into the consideration the development of women particularly in their careers remain critical for the company development and growth in the international market.

With the escalating individual dedication towards breaking through into the male dominated corporate executive positions, various organisations presently are initiating programs aimed at training women with the aspirations of working at the top ladder of management (Duehr & Bono, 2006).

ASOS plc is one of the UK companies that are working towards this endeavor. In this regard, the organisation recommends that human resource managers augment the business initiatives offering mentorship to women employees. Further, the development of cultural blueprint that values the advancements achieved by women in their careers is inevitable within the company.

Concerning the traditional viewpoint, women are believed to be non-performers (Bell & Klein, 2001). However, several studies portray women as great achievers in top-level management of corporate. The conventional belief has halted women from rising to top management positions as per their aspirations (Bilimoria, 2006).

Ideally, gender based discrimination is frequent in the operations of most organisations due to the clear social structures between men and women in the workplace. For example, the social arrangements bar women from rising up to certain positions reserved for men.

Therefore, to ensure equality and fairness in the workplace, the organisation has put in place arrangements such as equal remunerations, equal promotions, equal opportunities and equal responsibilities as well as development of a culture that is non-discriminative in terms of sexual category, race or ethnicity (Berg & Lien, 2002). Mentoring is also a significant undertaking that the human resource department should stress on since it allows flourishing of women in the workplace endeavours.

Further, members from minority groups should be accorded both psychological and career support in their aspirations of reaching top levels of management (Button, 2001). In other words, the success of an organisation depends on recognising the likely effects of pursuing dimensions inclined towards gender discrimination on the general performance of the firm. In addition, additional gains to the firm result from the development of a cultural dimension that embraces equality and diversity.

Managing diversity involves the recognising the significance of a diversified personnel in the corporate. In essence, the leveraging the variability of the employees by the management is imperative (Blum et al., 2004). The organisation achieves diversity through ensuring an all-inclusive environment where all employees are offered with equal prospects, treatment and participation in the organisation’s state of affairs.

ASOS plc’s Policies and practices for managing gender diversity

ASOS plc, just like other international companies has achieved major successes in managing gender diversity in the workplace. The United Kingdom’s equality and human rights commission also recognises the positive shift in balance of gender in the workplaces over the past. The changes have been attributed to the increased societal advancements where women are acquiring education thereby providing them with the required qualifications for top-level management (Barnum & Liden, 2005).

As opposed to the traditional society where men were the main beneficiaries of the top executive positions as women stayed at homes, none of these is the case anymore in the ASOS plc Corporation. In fact, many women are gaining higher positions due to increase in career development by women (Martins & Parsons, 2007).

ASOS plc has initiated several policies and practices that have proven fruitful in the management of gender issues. First, the pressure that arises from the demands of work and household chores is a familiar shortcoming to several women in the workplace.

For example, pregnant women are forced into choosing family duties at the expense of career because most organisations fail to adopt elastic working conditions for such cases (Carpenter, 2005). Further, when women take break for motherhood to resume their duties in most companies, they are more disadvantaged since they have to begin from square one (Chatman, & O’Reilly, 2004). On the contrary, ASOS has a flexible arrangement that permits maternity breaks from career for expectant women.

The process of selection for job positions is always full of preconceived notions. For instance, women who seek high positions face the challenge of a supposition that top management positions require a specific approach of carrying out tasks thereby overlooking the situations where leadership is attained through exterior screening and interviews (Harcourt et al., 2005).

ASOS plc has a selection process that lacks predisposition and is based on qualifications of the individuals. Further, the firm encourages innovativeness among its employees by allowing diverse work styles without sticking to particular approach.

The ASOS plc exploits the talents of its female employees through the rebalancing of the organisation’s executive gender mix. Studies show that returns on equity are augmented in corporations whose executive gender blends are balanced (Goldberg & Konrad, 2004).

Further, the firm promotes its employees based on the assessment of their outputs as opposed to sexual orientation. Moreover, increased orientation of the company towards a task focused enterprise as opposed to desk focused business continuously enhance the adaptability of its workforce, both men and women to sustain their career aspirations (Kalev et al, 2006).

ASOS plc also offers initiatives aimed at building an all-encompassing situation for both sexes in the workplace. For example, the company offers a corresponding family medical leave for men and women. As a result, the organisation has achieved equality among its employees irrespective of sexual orientation.

Moreover, the firm has developed a workplace culture that free from stalking, favouritism as well as discrimination based on gender thereby offering equal opportunity for all employees to achieve their peak capabilities (Graves & Elsass, 2005).

The gender diversity programs of the company

In general, ASOS plc is one of the technological retail firms that embrace diverse culture within the organisational operations around the world. The policy of the organisation on workplace diversity emphasizes on gender inclusion in all its business processes worldwide. The reason for inclusion is to provide equal opportunity and encourage individuals to improve and develop their skills and careers (Dahlin et al., 2005).

The company encourages the participation and success of cultural diversity within the workforce to enhance its capability in attaining its objectives. The success and participation of cultural diversity is enhanced through celebrative programs within the organisation.

The company has developed several programs and celebrations that encourage not only the workplace diversity but also diversity among the various stakeholders including customers and suppliers. Inclusiveness is critical for the success of the company.

In addition, the company has established an online program that encourages inclusion and diversity conversations. The program is opened not only for the employees but also for other users of the company online website. The company collects suggestions and information on how to implement gender related issues in the workplace. The open conversation also encourages equal participation among the company employees.

The company values teamwork where all employees are given equal opportunity of participation (Lee & Farh, 2004). The diversity programs ensure that the company rewards managers that have shown greater effort in leadership, passion and commitment to diversity. Such annual rewards encourage line managers to consider gender in all the operations of the company.

Recommendations

The company should put in place and implement strategic human resources techniques in managing diversity within the workforce particularly gender. Strategic human resources management focusing on gender diversity will enable the organisation gain more benefits. In other words, planned human resources management procedures that emphasizes on the gender diversity will enable the organisation take maximum advantage of variability within its workforce.

In addition, adopting strategic human resources in managing workplace gender diversity enable the organisation develop practices and processes that lead to the realisation of maximum benefits.

Moreover, strategic human resources will make the organisation provide a vision, show commitment and communicate the benefits to all top-level management of the organisation. Further, gender related diversity as part of the human resources strategic plan would be developed and aligned to the general organisations’ tactical plan.

Besides, the strategic human resources management should ensure that diversity within the workforce particularly gender related issues are directly associated with the organisations’ performance.

The knowledge that diverse and all-encompassing environment is motivating and leads to increased productivity enable the human resources management to align the individual performances with the goals of the company. In other words, the individual performances should not be evaluated based on characteristics such as gender rather on their capabilities.

The company human resources should come up with strategic workforce management plans that enable the organisation develop qualitative and non-qualitative actions that result on different facets of general diversity programs. For example, the company remunerations and promotions should be based on the individual performances of the employees.

Moreover, the company’s strategic human resource management should ensure continuous process of identifying and developing a varied team of workers who are talented and make certain potential future growth of the company. In other words, the company human resources management should put in place programs that ensure continuous recruitment of talented young workforce based on their capabilities and qualifications.

The company should totally do away with traditional methods of human resources management procedures and adopt the current strategic workforce management plans containing processes that maintain a continuous inflow of diversified workers. The strategic human resources managers should also ensure that workers are trained in various aspects of diversity and develop a culture that embraces variations in the workplace particularly gender.

Conclusion

To remain competitive and relevant in the modern global marketplace, ASOS plc must embrace gender diversity within its workforce. Gender diversity has several benefits to the company. Besides increased productivity, gender diversity ensures enhanced brand reputation of the firm, which is critical in the international expansion strategies.

To attain its internalisation goals the firm has put in place various programs and policies that take into consideration all manner of diversity within the workforce. Specifically, the human resource management should adopt strategic plans that take into consideration the facets pertaining to gender diversity in managing its workforce.

References

ASOS PLC 2011, Annual report 2011. Retrieved from web.

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