understand the seasons, celebrations and important milestones in
their customers’ journeys, the better they can create products and
services that will meet customers’ needs.
For example, celebrating Diwali is important to many of Western
Union’s South Asian and Indian customers. Understanding the
significance of the celebration enables WU to educate customers
living in Canada about ways the company can help them connect
with their friends and family abroad to mark the occasion.
The better WU understands their customers, the more oppor-tunities
they have to connect with them. How do they do this? By
having a diverse workforce.
“At one time my team had 14 languages spoken among us,” said
David. “And if you look at their technical skills, gender, ages and
workstyles, they were just as diverse.”
What better way to understand the importance of Diwali, Eid
al-Fitr or Chinese New Year than to have a team that can explain
the significance and help direct messaging around it firsthand?
Another example of this is recognizing that women are increas-ingly
the decision makers when it comes to sending money.
According to the United Nations Capital Development Fund,
remittances are a high-volume driver for financial inclusion, espe-cially
when accessed through digital channels. In fact, more than
half of those who sent money and more than 65 per cent of those
who received funds through Western Union’s transfer service in
2016 were women.
How do they ensure that they are addressing this important
demographic? Through a gender-diverse employee base – women
represent more than half of Western Union’s 10,000 employees.
Indeed, women make different choices and WU acknowledges
that they must listen to the way women use their product
DIVERSITY DRIVES INSPIRATION INTERNALLY
From an internal perspective, championing diversity shapes and
defines a company’s culture.
As the world becomes more borderless and global, you don’t
need to go too far to experience different cultures. Investing in
diversity helps to embrace the differences between cultures, which
can make a difference at both an individual level and at an organi-zational
Since WU has such a significant global footprint, diversity
is a prime consideration for employees seeking mentorship. In
fact, employees often look beyond their office walls to colleagues
in other places around the world for mentorship opportunities.
Learning how to work with both sexes as well as different cultures
is beneficial. According to David, having mentors from around the
world has helped her look at diversity in the broad sense and learn
“It’s been extremely beneficial in helping me progress my mind-set
and my career,” David said. “I’d encourage anyone to not just
look for a mentor in Toronto – find someone in India. Make
new connections and learn all you can. That’s where inspiration
DIVERSITY STARTS AT THE BEGINNING,
NOT THE MIDDLE
In order to maintain and strengthen their workforce and provide
the best products and services for its global customers, Western
Union’s attention to diversity must start at the hiring stage.
At Western Union, a conscious effort is made to build diverse
teams of employees. In order to mirror their customers through
a diversified employee base and lead in product innovation, they
know that they can’t limit their selves to bringing on employees
of homogenous backgrounds. They also regularly take advantage
of the diversity across Western Union’s global regions, importing
and exporting talent across borders and sharing best practices and
diverse viewpoints along the way.
Paying attention to – and educating hiring managers on – issues
like unconscious bias, WU strives to hire the best people across all
roles. The more they can celebrate diversity and encourage inclu-siveness
and collaboration, the better it is for their workforce,
customers and overall business.
Building a diverse workforce internally sets Western Union up
for success. n
Janice Williams is the head of human resources in Canada for
Western Union and serves as the HR business partner for all
Canadian business units and the North American Payments business
within Western Union.
FROM AN INTERNAL
SHAPES AND DEFINES A
Members of the Western Union Canada
50 ❚ DECEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL