Corporate Citizenship Henkel Poland supports women in re-entering the business world

Through the project On the way to work, Henkel Poland wanted to break the glass ceiling by helping long-term unemployed women in Poland to find a job. The one-year project, which started in October 2013, actively supported 60 women with hands-on training. Twenty-three of them are already employed.

‘Why are there so many other women who are less fortunate than I am and who are simply unable to find work despite a good education and their considerable talents?’ With this question in mind Dorota Strosznajder, Corporate Communications Manager at Henkel Poland, approached the “Fundacja Miejsce Kobiet” (Women’s Place Foundation). Together with the foundation, Strosznajder developed the idea of a comprehensive training program, in which selected instructors as well as female Henkel managers would function as mentors.

Within three groups, the project’s team managed to provide 60 women overall with this training program consisting of psychological workshops, coaching sessions and professional activation courses. Twenty-one female volunteers from Henkel Poland were engaged in building supportive, empowering relations with participants. “The joint workshop idea turned out to be the right way to go. The participants appreciated the chance to get a better understanding of the working environment in an international organization like Henkel”, says Strosznajder. “The Henkel volunteers shared their experiences by being a mentor and role model at once. The most important part, however, was the sense of community and feminine solidarity we all shared.”

“On the way to work became an inspiration for my book, titled “Be the Queen of Your Life”, says Ania Zacharuk, one of the project’s participants. “The idea was to share our experiences and encourage success stories with other women, who might also be in the same situation.”

Social responsibility has been fundamental to Henkel’s corporate culture for decades. In order to contribute to social progress, the company founded the “Make an Impact on Tomorrow” (MIT) program in 1998. Through MIT, Henkel channels donations and sponsorship of social projects employees and retirees are involved in. The project On the way to work is also part of MIT and came first in the MIT 15th anniversary project competition last year.