Eaton’s Vice President of Human Resources for Europe, Middle East & Africa spoke with Where Women Work about her career, diversity, workplace culture, wellbeing and working for Eaton


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Ebru Katip, VP of HR for EMEA, says its a great time to join Eaton

Ebru Katip, VP of HR for EMEA, says it's a great time to join Eaton

 November 25, 2020

Where Women Work spoke with Ebru Katip - Eaton’s Vice President of Human Resources for EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) - about the company’s growth priorities and its focus on diversity, as well as how her own career development has panned out and her first impression of Eaton as an employer.

Ebru Katip is passionate about enabling talented people to reach their full potential. Her impressive global career experience and broad background in human resources (HR) has given Ebru a strong foundation for her current role at Eaton.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have landed in the perfect job,” explains Ebru, who joined Eaton in July 2019. “I’m grateful every day because I can pursue one of my real passions - helping others develop”.

An impressive first encounter

Ebru recalls how impressed she was when first interviewing with Eaton for her current role. Having been through various interviews and assessments over the years, Ebru found the Eaton recruiting experience unusually engaging and informative. “When I was approached by Eaton’s talent acquisition team, I was given Eaton’s leadership attributes in addition to the job requirements. That immediate focus on values really stood out to me”.

At Eaton, attributes like being ethical, passionate, accountable, efficient, transparent, and ready to learn are vital – and these principals are consistently reflected in Ebru’s work. “My own personal values really line up with Eaton’s approach to leadership. In particular, I am always eager to learn - it’s one of my fundamental motivations,” says Ebru. “In my role, curiosity is a big advantage. You need to be interested in people and in business. I am also very motivated to keep exploring new ways of collaborating as a company. By working together better, we can do things more efficiently”.

In terms of Eaton’s workplace culture, Ebru also recalls the incredibly positive experience she had when first joining the company. “Straight away, I felt very welcome. My first impression of Eaton was generous offers of support from across the business. I asked lots of questions and everyone took the time to explain the world of Eaton to me – and this is what makes us strong as a company. Eaton’s focus on people and values are key strengths when it comes to attracting new talent”.

Adapting to the new normal

In HR, priorities are often set by the business context and current global megatrends. Today, one of Ebru’s biggest goals is ensuring that all Eaton employees remain safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, both physically and mentally. “Right now, employee engagement, mental health, and well-being are key priorities - as are flexible working solutions,” says Ebru.

In focusing on mental health, Eaton ensures its support exists well beyond Mental Health Day and is available throughout the year. “There are a lot of things on our employees’ minds at the moment,” continues Ebru. “Working parents, for example, are facing considerable challenges. To help, we have built a supportive Yammer community dedicated to well-being. There, employees can discuss concerns, offer advice, access coaching, and take part in different activities”.

Due to COVID-19, Ebru also believes that the biases towards different ways of working have been challenged and that new norms for productivity and inclusivity are emerging. “The world is thinking very differently than it was a year ago,” says Ebru. “We need to embrace these changes as a society; it would be a wasted opportunity to fall back into old habits”. According to Ebru, even traditional models of mentoring have been revised - and ‘reverse mentoring’ now sees younger generations sometimes teaching older colleagues. “Gen Y and Z have lots to teach us about the digital world and that’s critical right now,” she adds.

Of course, there is a lot to consider in the new normal. “Some jobs can easily be done from home, but it’s much harder in other roles, such as manufacturing,” explains Ebru. “We need to think about how to create and maintain team spirit virtually too. Factors like the number of participants online, reduced eye contact, not being able to read body language, who’s using a camera versus just voice, and more, can all come into play and influence the success of virtual teams,” says Ebru.

The energy transition and digital transformation

Just one of the global megatrends driving progress at Eaton is the fast-paced energy transition. “The energy sector is changing incredibly quickly today, as we move to renewable power, end-to-end electrification, and ubiquitous digital capabilities,” says Ebru. 

“As a company dedicated to improving people’s lives and the environment with power management technologies that are more reliable, efficient, safe and sustainable, this is an area where we must help lead the way,” Ebru adds. “We have an ambitious vision. By unlocking a low-carbon future and reducing the need for fossil fuels, we can help address climate change, air pollution, reliable access to power, and much more”.

To achieve this goal, Eaton has put enabling the energy transition at the heart of everything it does. “It's exciting and challenging to keep pace with emerging trends like this,” says Ebru. “In HR, we need to help our business win in the market with appropriate and flawlessly executed human capital strategies that keep us as competitive as possible. To achieve that, we need to continually adapt, evolve, and improve”. But this isn’t just a question of business success. “Sustainability is a crucial value for Eaton,” Ebru continues. “We believe our success as a company should be measured by more than financial results - it should also be defined by our commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and strong governance. Enabling the energy transition plays an important part in fulfilling that vision”.

Market growth and simplification

Simplification is another focus area for Eaton. With 92,000 employees worldwide, Eaton is playing to win across many divisions, business units, and product lines. “We need to be continuously differentiating ourselves from competitors,” says Ebru. “As a multi-billion-dollar business, streamlining how we work internally and with customers is a critical part of that. In HR, we look at what digital tools and processes we need to simplify how we work - and we want our customers to feel that simplification too and have a great experience doing business with us”.

With Eaton investing heavily to support the energy transition and digital innovation, there are also more traditional HR challenges Ebru must face. “Recruiting the right talent is a major focus for us right now,” Ebru continues, “whether that’s through new hiring, repurposing people internally, external collaborations, or corporate mergers and acquisitions”.

The Power of One

EATON - Ebru Katip - WhereWomenWork

To keep pace with the market, collaboration is vital. For Eaton, that means harnessing the ‘Power of One’. “It’s a core part of our culture,” says Ebru, “which is all about uniting as one team, shattering siloes, and joining forces on our shared beliefs to create bigger and better opportunities for each other and our global business. As author Ken Blanchard says, ‘none of us is as smart as all of us.’ The most powerful initiatives always engage all levels of the organisation – from enthusiastic junior employees, to senior regional and global leaders”.

According to Ebru, the ‘Power of One’ encompasses three key values. “We’re devoted to making Eaton a great place to work, to being active stewards of the environment, and to strengthening our local communities. That’s what brings us together every day and inspires us to make what matters work”.

Diversity is Eaton’s north star

As a global company, collaboration at Eaton also brings the opportunity to work with diverse people from varied backgrounds and different parts of the world. “One of our key aspirations is to be a role model for inclusion and diversity in our industry,” states Ebru. “This is often reinforced by Craig Arnold, our chairman and chief executive officer, and is really the guiding force, or North Star, for our business”.

For Ebru and Eaton, diversity is an essential ingredient in business success. “Diversity is a business case, not just a nice-to-have,” explains Ebru. “When we embrace the different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds that make each of us unique, we - as individuals and as a company - are stronger. We can attract and retain top talent, enable higher-performing teams, and innovate faster in our key markets. By valuing different ways of thinking and working, we can come up with more creative and customer-centric solutions”.

In recognition of Eaton being a leading employer for its diversity, the Financial Times recognised the company as one of Europe’s most inclusive companies via its annual Diversity Leaders ranking. In 2020, Eaton ranked at an impressive 33rd out of 850 companies, up from 114th out of 700 companies in the previous year. 

As well as making sure Eaton is a great place to work for a diverse range of employees, the company also unites around protecting the environment. “We’re helping our customers use power more efficiently, but also reducing the impact of our own operations,” says Ebru. “We’re striving to prevent pollution, to reduce emissions, and to conserve resources. For instance, more than half of our sites have now achieved zero waste-to-landfill status”.

Alongside safeguarding the environment, Eaton and its employees also take great pride in supporting their local regions. “Strengthening our communities wherever we operate is crucial for us,” continues Ebru. “When we’re part of a more vibrant community, our business, employees, customers, and other stakeholders all benefit. In particular, our employees get a great deal of meaning from donating their time, money, or expertise to valuable community projects”.

A highly engaged workforce

EATON - Craig Arnold - diversity leadership

Eaton’s focus on values keeps its employees enormously engaged. In 2019, 81% of employees surveyed said they are proud to work at Eaton. With around 24,000 employees across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions, this is an impressive result and reflects the empathy and professionalism of Eaton’s leaders, managers, and supervisors in the field. “In HR, we’re always asking how we can take the pulse of our employees regularly and respond more quickly to their needs,” says Ebru.

Eaton often sees positive press coverage and award wins for its successful employee engagement. Fortune magazine named Eaton one of the ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’. Eaton was also chosen as a Top 50 employer by Women Engineer magazine in 2020, as well as being cited as one of the leading companies in Europe for diversity and inclusion in the Financial Times’ Diversity Leaders ranking since its inception.

When it comes to supporting early career development, Eaton’s focus on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) plays a significant role. “We love nurturing young talent, such as university graduates, as they begin their careers,” comments Ebru. “We hope people will learn, develop, and grow with us”.

“Our people always have great opportunities to develop their skills and push forward in their careers,” continues Ebru. “Eaton University has more than 5,000 modules available, including virtual learning and instructor-led activities”. In 2019, Eaton employees completed more than 500,000 such courses.

To help women starting out in an engineering career, Eaton also supports school outreach programs, university career days, site tours, virtual events and more. In addition, the company actively partners with organizations like the Society of Women Engineers to promote career opportunities as they come up.

“We want everyone to have the same ability to contribute, to grow, and to succeed,” says Ebru. “To help, we’re always striving to create a productive dialogue within the organisation, and we want to hear everyone’s opinions. We enable leaders and employees to come together to talk about challenges and how to address them. In EMEA, we’re also launching a network for both men and women to collaborate on what more we can do to support all our people”.

This process is further backed by Eaton’s eight inclusion resource groups worldwide, which have 10,300 members to date. One example is Women Adding Value at Eaton (WAVE), which provides training, mentoring, networking, business opportunities, and more, to help women at all levels develop their careers. 

Soft skills and hard technical knowledge

EATON - jobs & careers - female talent

In Ebru’s own career development journey, she has participated in both Wharton's Executive Leadership Development Program and IMD Business School's Executive Leadership Series. When asked about what she gained from these experiences, Ebru says she learnt both important soft skills, as well as deeper technical knowledge. “I was able to meet executives from other companies and this let me hear different views and approaches, as well as how others are dealing with similar problems. It definitely helped me hone my approach,” explains Ebru, who also believes the experience taught her important lessons about adapting to new environments, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and focusing on continuous improvement. “As a graduate, I can connect with other alumni too. I’m still part of a LinkedIn group where I can ask questions, exchange ideas, and brainstorm with others - that’s extremely valuable”.

“From a technical perspective, the programs definitely increased my understanding of both HR and business management,” adds Ebru. “I’m also now Six Sigma Black Belt certified in sales and marketing. Knowledge really does make all the difference for HR professionals; the more you know, the more approaches you have to solving problems,” she explains.

Advice for women who want to join Eaton 

Ebru encourages women interested in a career at Eaton to visit the company’s website. “Online you can find out more about our culture and values, how we operate, and what opportunities are available,” she says.

Specifically, Ebru highlights Eaton’s focus on the energy transition, sustainability, and digital transformation as key hiring areas, alongside broader disciplines like engineering, finance, HR, sales, and so forth.

“This is an exciting time for our business,” says Ebru. “No matter what commercial background you have, you’ll be able to find an area in Eaton where you can grow professionally - and you will be able to take control of your own career development. We have opportunities worldwide too, so there is also the potential to move around and experience different cultures”.

Succeeding personally and professionally 

In her personal time, Ebru loves spending time with her husband and seven year old daughter. Ebru enjoys cooking and trying new recipes, as well as the visual arts - especially painting and black and white photography, both of which she finds extremely relaxing. When feeling more active, she also never misses the chance for a fun tennis match! “I definitely like to make the most of my free time,” concludes Ebru. “We all need to remember that growth and development doesn’t just apply to our careers. From social events to healthy living, we aim to help all our employees succeed personally as well as professionally”.

Join the talented women who choose to work for Eaton

If you are inspired by Eaton’s strong commitment to supporting and advancing talented women, why not explore some of the company’s rewarding career opportunities around the world?

 

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