Article: How to build an inclusive & thriving workplace? Pilgrim’s VP of HR Shreya Kejriwal shares insights

Diversity

How to build an inclusive & thriving workplace? Pilgrim’s VP of HR Shreya Kejriwal shares insights

DEI is one of the core skills within Shreya's extensive HR leadership expertise, and she shares effective strategies for building successful workplaces by focusing on it.
How to build an inclusive & thriving workplace? Pilgrim’s VP of HR Shreya Kejriwal shares insights

Today, diversity and inclusion are core values in modern workplaces. As dynamics change, focusing on these two elements can strengthen the foundation of a thriving culture in any organisation. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Shreya Kejriwal, Pilgrim's newly appointed Vice President of HR, shares insights into her focus for 2024, which includes diversity, talent development, engagement, and more.

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:

DEI at Pilgrim: The big picture 

I strongly believe that promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is a fundamental value that enriches the company culture and overall employee experience. At Pilgrim, we have a comprehensive plan to promote DEI through various key initiatives. This includes fostering diversity by actively hiring employees across genders, age-groups, and diverse industry backgrounds, bringing a wealth of perspectives and talents to the table. We will also ensure equity by designing benefits and policies that provide equal opportunities for all, including flexible work arrangements and fair promotion pathways to all employees irrespective of their backgrounds. Inclusion, which is the cornerstone of our DEI efforts, goes beyond merely extending an invitation to the diversity party—it's about ensuring everyone is dancing and thriving together. To achieve this, we will regularly tap into the pulse of our employees through surveys, feedback sessions, and engagement initiatives to understand their needs and experiences. Based on this feedback, we will implement micro-action plans alongside broader strategies to ensure that every employee in the ‘Pilgrim Tribe’ as we like to call ourselves, feels valued, heard, and included in our workplace culture.

Examples of successful initiatives I've led in previous roles include a deliberate focus on developing women talent and increasing their visibility within the organisation especially to the leadership team. Success stories of women who excelled and were promoted to senior roles were shared with everyone in the organisation, encouraging others to aim high. These initiatives not only increased gender diversity but also created a more inclusive and supportive work environment for everyone. By implementing similar strategies at Pilgrim and continuously measuring our progress and impact, I am confident that we can create a workplace where diversity is celebrated, equity is ensured, and inclusion is the norm, ultimately enhancing the overall employee experience and driving business success.

Promoting women in leadership roles.. 

Strategic initiatives will be implemented to foster diversity and empower women in leadership roles. As part of this effort, a mentorship programme will be launched, where women mentors will support and guide women employees in leadership positions, fostering professional development and career growth. Additionally, a dedicated diversity council will also be established of women employees to address specific challenges and opportunities for women in leadership, ensuring their voices are heard and valued. Through intentional hiring practices at leadership levels, we will reinforce our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone has an equal chance to succeed and contribute to our company's success.

How do you support women returning to work?

Supporting women who are returning to work after a career break is paramount, and I strongly feel it begins with understanding and addressing their unique circumstances. Organisations need to prioritise personalised measures to ensure these women feel included, valued, and can seamlessly transition back into the workforce. This includes offering flexible work arrangements, mentorship programmes, and tailored support to enhance their productivity and confidence. Blanket one-size-fits-all programmes are no longer sufficient in meeting the diverse needs of today’s workforce. Instead, focus should be  on customised L&D initiatives that align with individual career goals and aspirations. This approach not only fosters equal representation in career progression but also translates into tangible results and a more inclusive workplace culture

Talent development priorities

Our top talent development priorities revolve around personalised learning and leveraging technology to drive employee growth. This includes conducting skill-gap analysis to identify improvement areas and creating customised learning plans for each employee. We also aim to implement micro-learning initiatives and gamification in training programmes to ensure progress in learning agendas and retention of concepts. These initiatives are pivotal in nurturing talent, fostering career advancement, and significantly contributing to Pilgrim’s success.

Bolstering employee engagement for creating positive work environment

An engaging workplace is more than just a physical space—it's where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. I look forward to enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction through a variety of strategies. First, building meaningful connections through frequent interactions is crucial. Second, fostering a culture of open communication and transparency strengthens trust and collaboration. Third, recognising and celebrating achievements based on merit boosts morale and motivation. Last of all, consistently reinforcing our shared values guides us as a team towards a common purpose. In previous roles, these approaches have proven effective in creating a positive and motivating work environment, driving productivity and fostering a sense of belonging among employees.

DEI in 2024: What does it look like?

Looking ahead, several emerging trends are poised to shape the future of workplaces in promoting diversity and inclusivity. Among these, flexibility in work arrangements stands out as a crucial factor. According to a survey by Indeed, 71% of Indian professionals value flexibility as the top parameter while on the job. This includes offering remote work options, flexible hours, and adaptable policies that accommodate diverse needs and lifestyles. Employee sensitisation and awareness are also key trends. Organisations are increasingly prioritising training and education programmes to foster understanding, empathy, and respect among employees, creating a more inclusive and harmonious work environment. Lastly, having the right infrastructure and support systems in place is essential. This includes technological tools for communication and collaboration, accessible facilities for employees with disabilities, and policies that actively promote diversity hiring and advancement opportunities. By embracing these trends and implementing strategies that prioritise flexibility, employee sensitisation, and supportive infrastructure, workplaces can truly live the values of diversity and inclusion, fostering a culture of belonging and empowerment for all employees.c

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Topics: Diversity, #Culture, #EmployeeExperience, #HRCommunity

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