Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam

August 05, 2021 | 18:22
With nearly 2,000 employees of every creed, gender, and background working across a wide spectrum of business areas, diversity is probably the best word to describe GE Vietnam. True to its global heritage, GE Vietnam provides a space for all employees to be themselves while working as part of a cohesive whole and learning new skills each day. Embracing each person’s uniqueness and strengths to create a powerful team is what drives GE Vietnam forward day after day.

In 2015, at the surprisingly young age of 36, Pham Hong Son was appointed as chief executive officer of GE Vietnam.

“I’m a living evidence that there is no discrimination regarding age, gender, or nationality at GE,” shared Son. “GE focuses more on an individual’s ability and respects their personality, background, and race. Employees at GE Vietnam, the US, or in any other country receive the same treatment built on the same values and the same expectations. We practice equality since the first stage of recruiting new employees.”

Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
All the employees at GE’s Phu My Reconditioning Workshop are Vietnamese

Embracing employee’s differences and focusing on their abilities has helped GE foster equality, fairness, and integrity at the workplace. The Haiphong factory in Vietnam – one of seven GE brilliant factories in the world – has proven to be an excellent workplace for women.

Despite the heavily male-dominated industry characterised by intensive pressure and long working hours, the factory’s general manager is a female leader and 19 per cent of factory employees are also women, 31 per cent of whom are in leadership positions.

Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
Women professionals at GE are treated equally and provided with opportunities for growth

GE and GE Vietnam operate with diversity. Nguyen Hoai Thu, production manager of the factory, shared that integrity, open and transparency are crucial values at GE and female employees receive the same amount of trust and encouragement to show their best. In addition, training courses and international bubble assignments allow GE Vietnam’s female employees to further improve their expertise and skills.

Besides, GE also supports gender equality through its various communities such as LGBTQ+ or the Women’s Network, among others. These efforts hearten workplace equality that help foster meaningful impacts for GE.

Diversity: a picture of a thousand hues

With nearly 2,000 employees from all regions across the country working in power, renewable energy, healthcare and aviation, GE’s working environment is a picture of a thousand colourful mosaics of different genders, identities, backgrounds, and experiences. The engineers of GE Vietnam hail from provinces and countries, finding a welcoming home that looks beyond age or sexual orientation and focuses on what truly matters – capability, experiences and skills.

Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
Four primary businesses of GE

“At GE Vietnam, we keep a close eye on the strengths of individuals and how they fit with the skill sets of the team. We are constantly building an inclusive culture where everyone feels empowered to be creative and try new things because that is how they can deliver the best results,” said Nguyen Hoai Phuong, Country Human Resources manager of GE Vietnam.

For example, GE Vietnam has a “flexible working arrangement” policy in which work efficacy is more important than the time spent in office. GE employees can be flexible with work depending on their situation to maximise productivity.

The employees can either choose to work in a “Hybrid” mode – work at home and at the office simultaneously; or “Work from home” mode – full-time remote work. Working hours will be adjusted according to the individual as long as tasks are delivered on time. All GE employees are equipped with a laptop so they can work effectively on their terms anywhere, anytime.

Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
GE Culture Day

GE’s transparent policies put up no barriers to employee progression – anyone with the requisite competence and sufficient ambition can rise higher.

“It is absolutely normal for anyone on our teams to put forward ideas or to express their opinion to their line manager or higher at any time at GE and GE Vietnam. GE takes special care to make sure our opinions are received with understanding and compassion – and that they receive due consideration,” said said Nguyen Anh Quan, Turnkey Proposal lead who is in charge of wind power projects in Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries. “GE considers employees are the company’s greatest resource, our individual contributions are crucial. Healthy, open dialogue between team members, as well as between managers and team members is vital to enhancing personal growth and performance.”

While welcoming all as they come, GE also encourages individuals to find diversity within themselves. GE encourages and creates an environment for employees to thrive themselves at different businesses and positions and it is not surprising when a GE employee moves from the energy business to healthcare or from production to maintenance work.

“Diversity encourages us to explore further, step forward and overcome our limits. It also opens up new horizons for all of us to find personal growth and fulfillment in our careers,” said Anh Quan.

Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
Nguyen Anh Quan, Turnkey Proposal lead, GE Renewable Energy Vietnam

GE has also successfully implemented its localisation policy. Currently, at GE Vietnam, all leaders at key management positions from middle to senior level in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are Vietnamese.

GE encourages and creates an environment for employees to thrive themselves at different businesses and positions.

As one of the most advanced production facilities globally, the wind turbine facility in Haiphong employs several mid-level foreign leaders to support a predominantly Vietnamese leadership. This localisation policy has opened up opportunities for local workers to work at a professional international environment.

A push towards the future

In a speech about diversity, Lawrence Culp, GE chairman and CEO affirmed: “At GE, we are committed to building a more diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace by focusing on transparency, accountability and community.” In fact, this has been the lodestar of GE’s human resources strategy in the past 129 years of continuous growth during which GE has become a world-leading multi-industry corporation in aviation, energy, and healthcare, empowered by a group of talented individuals across the globe. Diversity connects the company’s tremendous workforce, allowing them to support each other without regard to distance, be it geographical or cultural.

Combining this spirit with the “local” factors, the culture at GE is filled with diversity and colours. “At GE, I feel completely unfettered to express myself and my ‘locality’, and I believe my colleagues feel the same. This also brings GE closer to our customers and the domestic market. GE creates an environment underpinned with very clear policies to support our employees’ freedom and creativity to empower them to succeed,” said Nguyen Hoai Phuong, Human Resources manager of GE Vietnam.

Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
Embracing the differences: A push to step forward at GE Vietnam
Nguyen Hoai Phuong and her colleagues at GE Haiphong

She added that diversity and inclusion also motivate GE’s people to constantly strive for improvement and self-growth.

“At GE, leadership is not about giving orders but guiding, understanding, encouraging, inspiring, and always learning. We believe that the results you achieve are yours alone, earned through your efforts and have nothing to do with skin colour or gender. Fairness in this regard will ensure transparency and impartiality in all respects, which will help us all to grow,” she explained.

It is not easy to ensure diversity in management and operations, but once achieved, it is a solid foundation for GE Vietnam to keep moving forward. Embracing the individual gives free rein to the creative spirit and pushes employees to discover the outer limits of their potential in a safe environment. More new ideas arise when there is no fear of rejection, leading to better outcomes and pushing GE to step forward.

By Anh Duc

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