Lila Group, a Partner of LEAD Network, is committed to increase the number of female leaders in the company and to contribute to their professional development. We are creating a participatory environment in which all employees can work in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Under the umbrella of Diversity and Inclusion we address the challenges that women encounter in Turkish business life. Together with LEAD Network we raise awareness for D&I and introduce successful practices.
The combination of Lila Group and LEAD Network creates synergies. I signed the CEO Pledge. Our executive team expresses the benefits of diversity on every occasion. We took a substantial step forward when we asked our female colleagues for their ideas to improve gender equality.
I wish hope that the our activities we carry out towards women as Lila Group together with LEAD Network will be an example for other corporations.”
Interview with Alp Öğücü, CEO, Lila Group
Can you tell us a bit about your organization and your role?
Lila Group was established in 2006 in Çorlu with hundred percent Turkish capital. A year later, Lila Tissue started manufacturing world-class hygienic tissue paper. In 2012 we doubled capacity to 150 thousand tons.
We have a strong position in the FMCG sector with an extensive range of products such as toilette paper, paper towels, paper napkins and tissue paper with our Sofia, Maylo and Berrak brands. Nua Professional is for the away-from-home market.
Lila Group has an overall share of 12% of the domestic market today. We concluded 2018 with a turnover of approximately TRY 900 million (an increase of over 30% over 2017) thanks to new investments and increasing export figures. In 2019, we aim to grow a further 30%.
Lila Group has the biggest integrated manufacturing facility in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. We are tripling our manufacturing capacity and doubling our staff in response to growing exports and domestic market share. That will make our corporation the second largest fully integrated actor.
My role in the corporation is that of General Manager.
Why is diversity, and specifically the advancement of women, so important to your organization?
Research reveals that the success rate of decisions from a group of men-only is 53%. If we include women, the success rate increases to 73 percent. If we diversify with age, the figure goes to 80%, and if we include cultural diversity, the rate goes up to 87 percent. Every organization makes numerous investments to increase the efficiency of their operations, however, diversity is one of the main factors to improve efficiency.
At Lila Group, we see the benefits of collaborating with an organization such as LEAD Network. In 2017, we became a corporate member of LEAD Network Turkey Chapter. We want to take firm and sound steps to advance the subject of “women” in Turkey under the umbrella of Diversity and Inclusion. We believe that increasing the share of women employees in the economy will have a positive impact on our Group and on our country.
Which diversity initiatives do you have in your organization?
We currently employ 1,000 people. Thirty-eight percent of our managerial staff consists of women. Our objective is to increase the number of female blue-collar employees, currently at 25%.
We see that departments with women and men working together achieve better results. We want to see women not only in executive and white-collar positions but at all levels and in all positions. We organize ‘values’ meetings on a regular basis to evaluate and respond to requests and suggestions from our employees .
We reviewed our job postings to avoid discrimination and inequality in the recruitment process. We removed images and words that promote discrimination and we updated our recruitment policy accordingly. If a Director makes a request for a candidate and states a gender, we challenge that the position is not gender-dependent.
Most important for us is not gender but performance and competency. We manage our recruitment and promotion processes based on these criteria.
What role does LEAD Network play in reaching your organization’s diversity goals?
There are many studies about the participation of women in the Turkish economy and the challenges and difficulties women encounter in business life. Unfortunately, the outcome of these studies is not promising. Only 34% of women in Turkey are employed, the lowest percentage among OECD countries.
We believe in gender equality, and we will continue to do so. We will do our best to increase the participation of women in the economy and in business life. We signed the LEAD Network CEO Pledge to increase the number of our female employees by 5 percent by the year 2023.
We pursue a balance of women/men among our white-collar employees. On the manufacturing side, we have to make greater strides to achieve a better balance. Our number of women employees has increased and we want to keep up the same pace.
What would you like your employees to take away from the LEAD Network?
Since we joined in 2017, LEAD Network has shared information and practices to help achieve our goals. LEAD Network provides webinars, benchmarks and role models that serve as examples. LEAD’s career and success stories encourage and inspire our employees. LEAD contributes to the advancement and development of our employees both in their professional and private lives.
Alp Öğücü, CEO, Lila Group