Monday, Aug 19, 2019 | Last Update : 03:34 AM IST

Working with diversity

THE ASIAN AGE. | SEONA SHAJI
Published : Jan 19, 2019, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Jan 19, 2019, 12:00 am IST

Taking a cue from international companies, workplaces in the country are working towards a more diverse workforce and environment.

A file photograph used for representational purposes only
 A file photograph used for representational purposes only

Moving towards a more accepting culture, companies in the country are making a change in their inclusion and diversity policies; ensuring that the workspace is as friendly for women, people from the LGBTQ community and the physically/mentally challenged.

A study run by McKinsey earlier had found that diverse boards perform better than less diverse boards. They were 53 per cent higher in performance, on average, than the companies in the bottom line of diversity.

In a conversation with companies, we find out how diverse 2019 is, and how employees and diversity seems on track to progressive changes.

Jyotsna Pattabiraman, owner of Growfit, says, “A lot of sacrifices have to be made if you are a woman who has chosen your career; in terms of family, relationships or way of life. As far as diversity and inclusion is concerned, I think it is only the companies in the top levels who are even making an effort to bring about a change and that is sad. Because you are restricting yourself from a lot more talent and quality work based on a bias that is not sensible.”

Neena Raine, head of diversity and inclusion, Hinduja Global Solutions, having moved their gender diversity ratio from  27:73 to 42:58 (women:men), says, “AGRIMA, our unique development programme for women below team lead level, focuses on building their self-belief and helps them unleash their true potential. Some of our women employees in the middle manager bracket are undergoing the WWRT (women wizards rule tech) programme with Nasscom. As we now focus on improving our diversity in the PwD and LGBT+ space, along with continued efforts on gender diversity, we are making specific changes in infrastructure such as gender neutral/PwD friendly washrooms and wheel chairs at the entrance, as well as providing sensitisation training to the recruitment teams/personnel, training to our emergency response team etc. On the anvil is the launch of a new D&I Policy focusing on equal opportunity, making all our policies gender neutral.”

Moving away from the pattern of showing a cold shoulder towards expectant women, Accenture is not only being supportive of their careers but also ensuring their growth!

Rohit Thakur, managing director and lead human resources at Accenture, says, “To help high performing women balance their careers with personal needs, we have implemented industry leading policies such as equalised maternity, adoption and surrogacy leave. We introduced an 18 month programme called High-Tech Women programme, to help women build long term careers, where we identify high-performing women support them through exclusive training and mentorship. We also have a Returning Mothers Program which is designed to provide new mothers with support of an experienced woman executive who has successfully made the transition from maternity leave and has returned to work and to a successful career. ”

The percentage of women in the management committee at L’Oreal has increased from 11 per cent to 30 per cent since the year 2016.

Roshni Wadhwa, director, human resources, L’Oréal India, says, “Our diversity strategy focuses on three pillars — gender, disability and social ethnic origins. The company has hired over 30 per cent women in the year 2018 in India. L’Oréal also plans to increase women in the leadership roles from the current 30 per cent to 50 per cent ratio in the next three years. To further support expectant women employees, L’Oréal has introduced pre and post natal programmes. The Little Steps Program provides a structured pregnancy education program with antenatal, labour preparation, post-partum consultation. We offer maternity leave of 26 weeks and a structured reintegration to work in partnership with reporting manager and HR which offers counselling, career conversation, flexible working for two weeks, child care allowance and creche support.”

In supporting people with disabilities, she says, “Project RIDE (Recruitment Initiative for Disabled Enablement) supports acceleration in awareness and recruitment of people with disabilities.”

The year 2019 seems to be full of promises, potential and growth without a bias!

Tags: diversity, lgbtq community