Best People Practices - Part 6: Supporting Women to remain at Work
Women employees are encouraged to apply for cross-functional roles & leadership positions
Let’s face it: Women are still present in abysmally low numbers in an organization due to a variety of reasons. Currently there are 4.4 lakh women who ‘opted out’ but are willing to return after a hiatus. These women can help foster greater loyalty, better ability to deal with risk, address concerns of customers, employees, shareholders and local community while focusing on long term priorities. In this category, the companies were assessed on how they facilitated the entry and re-entry of women, how they ensured smooth continuity and transitioning from career breaks etc. The featured organizations in this category are: SAP Labs India, American Express India, Intuit Technology Services Pvt. Ltd, Pitney Bowes Software India, and InterGlobe Enterprises.
At American Express, the hiring practices are geared towards building a workforce from different backgrounds and perspectives and gender diversity plays a huge role in that. There is a Diversity Council that monitors the performance of the teams on various parameters of diversity and inclusion and this includes participation of women in the workforce. They have a Summer Flexi Policy, where women employees have the flexibility to schedule their work day during children’s summer vacation months. They also have a Women’s Interest Network that helps women to connect, collaborate and access resources to enable them to advance their careers. Besides on-location medical facilities, they have transport facilities that ensure their safe return home.
At InterGlobe, the focus has been on identifying enablers to support hiring of women in the workforce and jobs with less or no women and also shift the accountability of balanced workforce to the managerial population. In the distribution business, the company offered a higher amount for referring women. Women employees are encouraged to apply for cross-functional roles and also leadership positions. In the aviation business, women are not just part of the support and house-keeping staff, but also engineers and drivers as well. In the case of marriage, a crew member will be transferred to the base of her choice immediately or the first of next month post the leave taken for marriage.
At Intuit, the mission of Women’s Network is to inspire and support women to become compassion-ate leaders and make a difference to the company and their communities. D&I is part of the culture and the Exclusive Women Hiring Employee Referral Event was established with the intent of hiring more women engineers. The interview panel has also has a woman so that the candidates get a first hand view of the company’s work culture and environment. The other activities include hiring fresh women graduate engineers through external events like Grace Hopper Conference, engagement activities such as coding contests, hackathons for women engineers in college campuses. They also have a maternity leave of 84 calendar days. They also get a maternity cover of Rs 50,000 under the health insurance plan.
At Pitney Bowes, managers are given a diversity slate that shows the number of male and female employees. The same is presented to the senior management as well as incentivizing search agencies and referrals for hiring women. Besides female walk-in interviews and employee referral drives, the company partners with local universities to strengthen the local talent pool.
Women who take career breaks are encouraged to constantly upgrade their skills through the Udemy platform. Global Early in Career Program is an 18-month program that helps accelerate the development of women into future leaders. The CEO, Marc Lautenbach, is the global sponsor for the program. Another program that was started this year is We-Glow, a 12 month long learning journey for future women leaders in India, building their capability to think, act, relate & help others.
At SAP, diversity is looked at an holistic angle. Besides gender, they bring on board employees with physical disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Besides women-focused recruitment drive, flexi work and part-time employment, women employees are given strategic projects and assignments in one of the global locations too.