Agrobank continues to support and embrace women empowerment by introducing new normal practices gradually into its workforce while introducing new initiatives catered specially for women business owners.
Khadijah Iskandar, Covering President / Chief Executive Officer of Agrobank said, it is the duty of the organisation and employer to create opportunities for women to equally experience career growth without worrying about their children and families by allowing flexible working arrangements and family-friendly practices, which will further improve the productivity of the organisation.
“Agrobank has enforced flexible working hours for employees to clock-in between 8.00 am to 10.00 am since 2020, right after the movement control order (MCO) was enforced by the Government. We realise this would provide comfortable timing for employees with families, especially women to manage their children before comfortably coming in to work. This will give them peace of mind about their children while they are at work.”
“We at Agrobank have a diversity of men and women composition in our workforce. We have embraced women empowerment at the higher management level and the board level as well. Currently, four of 10 of our higher management positions are taken up by women, while as for the board members, the percentage is slightly higher than 40% with three out of seven board members are women,” she said this at a webinar session “Membangun dan Memartabatkan Warga Wanita – Cabaran Norma Baharu” via FB Live Agrobank on Wednesday, held in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2021 celebration.
Khadijah was one of the panellists of the webinar which was also featured another two guest speakers which are Azran Osman-Rani, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Naluri Hidup Sdn Bhd (Naluri) and Dr. Azura Othman, Chief Executive Officer of Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF). The session was moderated by Siti Aishah Md Lassim, Chief Human Resources Officer of Agrobank.
Explaining further on women’s participation in business and economy in general, Khadijah said, Agrobank is mandated to serve all aspects of communities in the agriculture sector, also offers products that specially catered for women.
“As the newly launched savings product Agro Farah-i (a product exclusively for women) includes the element of hibah shared for each account that has been tagged to Agro Farah-i account, either husband or child’s account. Meanwhile, the Agro Nisaa’-i micro-credit product catered for women entrepreneurs who needs that extra support in expanding their businesses,” she added.
Applauding Khadijah’s point of encouraging women to embrace diversity in the workplace, Azran Osman-Rani, said, the organisation and employers need to be proactive by ensuring women are provided with equal space to develop their skills for career growth and they must not be assessed according to personal criteria set by the employers at the management level.
“This is one of the challenges that needed to be looked into. One must not be judged based on their individual success criteria, but the value of diversity and when people come with different style, their communication and decision-making style are also different,” he said.
Meanwhile, talking on what are the new economy tools for women, Dr Azura Othman said, women must equip themselves with digital skills if they would want to stay relevant in the workforce and flourish in their businesses.
“By the year 2024, roles requiring digital skills will increase by 14% and women need to be equipped with digital technology and its use. If you take a look during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are going digital in most of their daily transactions and in the future, there will be less physical branches too.”
“Embracing digital literacy has helped businesses during the pandemic outbreak, where many businesses were badly affected unless they managed to adopt technology into their business operations and transactions by putting up their businesses on digital platforms. The e-commerce platform has saved many businesses during this difficult time and at the same time created new opportunities for newbies,” she further elaborated.