Article: Accelerating diversity and inclusion in auto industry: The Tata Motors' roadmap


Accelerating diversity and inclusion in auto industry: The Tata Motors' roadmap

Tata Motors' Chief Diversity Officer emphasises inclusive leadership and ergonomically inclusive workspaces as catalysts for fostering diversity and inclusion in organisations.
Accelerating diversity and inclusion in auto industry: The Tata Motors' roadmap

Inclusive leadership, at all levels, and ergonomically inclusive workspaces are key factors in promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) within organisations.

Tata Motors' Chief Diversity Officer Anuradha Das, in a recent interview to People Matters, emphasised the need for interventions across multiple levels to yield the desired outcomes, citing its innovative steps, such as contracting machinery tailored to women's physiology, to create an all-women assembly line at their PV plant in Pune.

Das also highlighted the importance of embedding inclusivity in hiring processes through sensitisation programmes and inclusive interview panels, and underscored the need for upskilling in an industry facing talent availability challenges.

Edited Excerpts

How does Tata Motors define D&I, and what is the company's approach to promoting it?

Tata Motors defines D&I as establishing an environment where diversity is embraced as a natural and integral part of the organisation. We believe and have witnessed that a gender-balanced workforce leads to increased productivity, better decisions, enhanced collaboration, and more innovative ideas.

To promote D&I within the organisation, we have adopted a comprehensive approach with the following strategic focus areas:

Strategic workforce planning: We have designed a process for workforce planning that focuses on increasing gender diversity across different levels and segments of the organisation. With this process, we are able to proactively anticipate current and future hiring needs and align them to driving more gender balanced hiring.

Culture transformation: We believe in creating a culture wherein there are equal opportunities for all and no individual has a preferential advantage over the others. Our leaders have an inclusive style of communication. We are working towards creating an inclusive workplace culture through our policies and processes. The company organises sensitisation and awareness campaigns to help create an open mind and culture to leverage diversity at the workplace.

Our Diversity Council, at apex and unit levels, is tasked with increasing gender diversity in the organisation through various initiatives and actions. “Project EVE” a specially curated, comprehensive development platform for high potential women employees has also been introduced.

Employees involved in this programme work on challenging projects sponsored and mentored by the Tata Motors Executive Committee. The Second Career Initiative Programme (SCIP) is a platform that encourages women, who put their career on pause to restart it with interesting opportunities. We also introduced paternity Leave and adoption Leave to support parenthood.

Business integration: We recognise that a diverse workforce enables us to better understand and serve our customers and intend to embed D&I into our business operations covering all aspects – business strategy, people or operations. We conceptualise product designs that are inclusive and cater to a diversified customer base. We encourage our suppliers to adopt gender diversity at their end too.

Partnership & external impact: We aim to create opportunities in all dimensions of diversity by partnering with specialists and NGOs to support local communities. We are committed to working with our external partners, such as suppliers and customers, to promote diversity and inclusion across the industry.

How does Tata Motors ensure that D&I are embedded in the company's hiring practices and talent development programmes?

Our strategic workforce planning initiative is designed to enhance gender representation at all levels and segments of the organisation. By offering various skilling and talent development programmes, Tata Motors identifies and nurtures diverse talent within the company.

To embed D&I in hiring practices, Tata Motors actively addresses unconscious bias in recruitment and promotion processes. Leadership connect sessions sensitise leaders about the significance of D&I. Focused group discussions with hiring managers help identify areas for improvement, while sensitisation and awareness sessions involve all relevant employees and stakeholders.

Promoting diverse talent externally is a focus for Tata Motors. The company aims for a diverse slate of candidates in lateral recruitment and provides differential referral bonuses to employees who refer to gender-diverse candidates. Additionally, Tata Motors collaborates with recruitment partners to source diverse profiles for vacant positions.

We believe that promoting D&I is not just a matter of compliance, but a strategic imperative that drives innovation and business success.

What is Tata Motors doing to create a culture of inclusion, where all employees feel valued, respected, and heard?

We strive to create a conducive work environment where there are no biases. The company has implemented various programmes and initiatives at both the group and unit levels to foster inclusivity.

  • One such initiative is the Diversity Council, which operates at the apex and unit levels. The council is dedicated to increasing gender diversity within the organisation and takes various actions and initiatives towards this goal.
  • For instance, we have a development programme called Gear-Up, specifically designed for eligible women employees. This programme provides training and mentorship based on each employee's strengths and areas for improvement. It offers opportunities to work with different teams, participate in quality circles, GEMS projects, and innovation projects through the Imagineering platform. These initiatives enable employees to contribute their ideas and perspectives, fostering a culture that celebrates and values diversity.
  • CXO Workshops – These one-day workshops are aimed at senior leadership teams and emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion. Participants gain insights into unconscious biases and their manifestations in the workplace
  • Middle management is targeted through POIM (Power of Inclusive Management) workshops. These workshops provide practical advice on becoming inclusive managers, enabling them to create an inclusive work environment.
  • We also offer a platform called Reach Out, which is specifically designed for senior women leaders. It connects them with their peers from other organisations, allowing them to share experiences, network, and learn best practices.
  • The GEMS Project (Going Extra Miles) encourages managers to publish their proposed projects on a shared platform, regardless of their function. This initiative promotes collaboration among different teams and allows managers to explore their other areas of interest.

How does Tata Motors measure the success of its D&I  initiatives? What metrics does the company use to track progress?

Tata Motors utilises various metrics to measure the success of its D&I initiatives. These metrics focus on different stages of the employee's journey from hiring to retirement (H2R). 

We track the gender diversity of its new hires to ensure that a balanced representation is maintained throughout the recruitment process.

Attrition rates: The company closely monitors the attrition rates of women employees and analyses the reasons behind their departure.

Performance appraisal normalisation: We compare the performance appraisal ratings of women employees with those of men employees, function-wise or business unit-wise. This analysis ensures that there are no biases in the evaluation process and that women employees receive fair and equitable performance assessments.

We employ a robust review mechanism known as the Individual Development Plan (IDP) to track the career development of women employees. The success of this plan is measured by identifying and developing a pipeline of women managers who can potentially assume senior leadership roles in the future.

What are the key challenges Tata Motors faces in promoting D&I  within the organisation, and how is the company addressing these challenges?

The availability of talent and skill in the market for the automobile sector is a major challenge. To address this challenge, we have launched the "Kaushalya" programme, which focuses on two areas: skill development and supervisory capability development.

We hire 12th pass women, diploma apprentice trainees (DATs), NTTFs and ITIs for designated operations and skill requirements. We focus on training them on the shop floor while they earn stipends. We assist the women working on the shop floor fully in their journey of gaining valuable, industry-relevant skills that help them sustain their livelihoods.

We train them while they earn stipends and enhance their employability so that they can aspire for a longer and successful career. Graduate apprentice trainees are also hired under this programme and specifically trained for supervisory roles.

How does Tata Motors engage with external partners, such as suppliers and customers, to promote D&I across the industry?

We have a dedicated team in our ‘Purchasing and Supply Quality’ function that works very closely with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) function to source suppliers who are eager to work on improving/ enhancing the gender diversity within their organisations.

We also handhold them and induct them to work with a team that is more diverse.

In our Pune PV plant where our TCF assembly line is entirely managed by women employees, we have recently started an all women canteen at women in our Pune plant. This was done in association with an outsourced catering partner/vendor for canteen management.

What role does training and education play in promoting D&I within the company?

Training is a tool that helps generate awareness on the significance of diversity. Training also helps align the workforce to develop skills and foster changes in attitude and behaviours. We hold various sensitisation programmes for employees internally as well as for our vendor partners.

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Topics: Diversity, Talent Management, Employee Engagement, #DEIB

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