Article: Diversity is a strategic imperative: Rahul Sinha shares Pidilite Industries impactful initiatives


Diversity is a strategic imperative: Rahul Sinha shares Pidilite Industries impactful initiatives

In this interview with Rahul Sinha, discover Pidilite Industries’ zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, inclusive hiring strategies, and commitment to fostering a culture of respect and empowerment.
Diversity is a strategic imperative: Rahul Sinha shares Pidilite Industries impactful initiatives

Rahul Sinha, CHRO at Pidilite Industries Ltd., brings a wealth of experience across diverse domains having transitioned from Sales and Marketing to Human Resources. With a background in leading business teams, Rahul has a unique perspective on driving organisational growth. 

In this insightful conversation with Rahul, we dive deeper into the diversity initiatives at Pidilite Industries, and the company's approach to creating an inclusive workplace.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

As the CHRO, how do you strategically integrate diversity initiatives into Pidilite Industries' overall business strategy, and what impact does this have on the organisation's culture and performance?

At Pidilite, we are always striving to build a work environment that is conducive to our employees’ personal and professional growth, promotes inclusivity and diversity, and prioritises the safety, health and well-being of our people. We take pride in being an equal-opportunity employer that does not differentiate between candidates on the basis of gender, disability, sexual orientation, caste, religion, race, age or any other factor. A zero-tolerance approach is taken to address any concerns of discrimination, and the same is reflected in all our policies and other relevant documents. Furthermore, we acknowledge the right to collective bargaining and do not restrict it amongst our workforce. Our pursuit of DEI is a strategic move. It also forms a core element of our identity, aligning with the broader mission to develop a workplace that is enriched by values and celebrates diversity.

Pidilite Industries operates in a diverse range of sectors. How does the company address industry-specific challenges in fostering diversity, and what opportunities does it present for creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?

Firstly, we implement inclusive hiring practices by actively recruiting from varied backgrounds ensuring we have a diverse talent pool. We believe in providing equal opportunities for advancement and promotions based on merit. We continue to offer diversity training and workshops for employees across important areas like POSH and DEI. Additionally, leadership promotes awareness and understanding of different perspectives. 

Establishing affinity groups has enabled employees to connect and support each other based on shared characteristics or interests. Moreover, it is our continuous endeavour to foster a culture of respect and tolerance where different opinions are valued and encourage diversity of thought. Implementing flexible work policies has helped accommodate diverse needs and lifestyles. We are regularly evaluating diversity metrics and soliciting feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement and measure progress towards diversity goals.

In fact, through our CSR programmes, we also continue to form, nurture, and develop new Self-Help Groups (SHGs) - Mahila Mandals across various parts of the country. Over 6900 women members have been able to benefit from this initiative. These SHGs serve as a platform for women to gain financial freedom, as an option to have a source of credit that can be a stimulus for their income generation activity, and as a buffer to absorb various household financial crises. To make all these SHGs self-sustainable we have helped create a cluster federation of 35 village organisations.

How does the organisational culture at Pidilite Industries contribute to fostering diversity, and how is it embedded in the company's values, impacting the overall employee experience?

At Pidilite, the strategic integration of diversity initiatives into our overall business strategy is a fundamental aspect of our inclusivity principle. It is reflected in our distinctive approach to workplace culture, comprised of PILGLOBIN, our guiding philosophy. PILGLOBIN focuses on key values such as respect, listening, humility, and empowerment, creating an organisational culture that respects the intrinsic differences shaping individual identities. 

To ensure our responsibility, we have also embedded DEI in our ethos and value systems with Pilglobin values. Apart from a robust whistle-blower and prevention of sexual harassment policies, we also have a systematic and well-oiled grievance redressal mechanism. We have an online platform called “My Pidilite”, MD Townhalls, Chairman’s Lunch wherein employees can raise their concerns. These are tracked and reported to the senior management on a monthly and quarterly basis. At our factory locations, we have an open forum called “Khulla Manch” for resolving grievances. 

How does Pidilite Industries ensure diversity in leadership roles, and what strategies are in place to encourage the advancement of individuals from diverse backgrounds into leadership positions?

Inclusive leadership is a guiding mindset and is strategically essential at Pidilite Industries. We recognise that the strength of our leadership lies in the diversity of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that our leaders have been enriched with. Nurturing an environment where every team member, regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, age, or other characteristics, feels valued and heard is integral to our leadership philosophy.

In FY 2022-23, the Board consisted of sixteen directors, including two women directors. We have established a Board diversity policy to ensure a diverse mix of directors inclusive of experience and gender. To ensure diversity in leadership roles, we implement a multifaceted approach: 

  • We are increasing intake at senior levels, upskilling talent to take on challenging roles.
  • With a listening culture comes numerous benefits of having an ear to the ground and providing safe environments for employees to speak up. Women have stepped up and sought non-traditional roles that have helped resolve an inclusive environment while also providing them with the skills to take on higher leadership roles in the long run.

Looking ahead, what are Pidilite Industries' future goals and aspirations in advancing DEI within the organisation? How do you see the role of HR evolving to drive these initiatives?

In advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the organisation, future goals include achieving greater diversity at all levels of the organisation, including leadership positions. Our policies and practices are already geared towards promoting equity in hiring, compensation, and opportunities for advancement. Aspirations could involve embedding DEI considerations into all aspects of business operations, from product development to customer service.

The role of HR in driving these initiatives is pivotal and is likely to evolve significantly. HR will need to take a proactive approach in developing and implementing DEI strategies, collaborating closely with leadership to align these efforts with broader organisational goals. This may involve designing and delivering training programs, implementing inclusive recruitment and promotion practices, and regularly assessing and addressing barriers to inclusion within the organization.

Moreover, HR will increasingly be tasked with measuring and reporting on DEI metrics, not just to comply with regulations but also to drive continuous improvement and accountability. They will need to be adept at fostering a culture of openness and dialogue around DEI issues, providing support and resources for employees from diverse backgrounds, and championing initiatives that promote belonging and equity throughout the organisation. Ultimately, HR's role will be instrumental in shaping the organisational culture and ensuring that DEI is not just a buzzword but a lived reality for all employees.

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Topics: #Culture, Leadership, Diversity, #HRCommunity

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