Article: Diversity beyond the finish line: Piyush Khattar on Decathlon Sports India's commitment to inclusivity


Diversity beyond the finish line: Piyush Khattar on Decathlon Sports India's commitment to inclusivity

In this exciting conversation with Piyush Khattar of Decathlon Sports India, we uncover their impactful policies that make the organisation a leader in promoting equality, workplace satisfaction, and women's participation in sports.
Diversity beyond the finish line: Piyush Khattar on Decathlon Sports India's commitment to inclusivity

Piyush Khattar currently serves as the Country People Leader at Decathlon Sports India, leading a diverse team of over 5000 members across various functions, including retail, digital, production, IT, sports supply, marketing, finance, legal, logistics, operations, and HR. In this role, he acts as a strategic partner to the business, defining the direction and intentions of the country while championing initiatives that align with the organisation's overarching goals.

With a passion for sports, Piyush firmly believes that it can be a great teacher and provider of life skills with the power to influence people’s lives positively by promoting better health and healthier connections. In this exclusive interview, we explore Decathlon's policies, campaigns, and programs aimed at fostering an inclusive culture, advancing gender equality in sports, and promoting professional growth through unique trajectories.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

Could you provide us with an overview of how Decathlon's commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion aligns with its broader mission and values? Could you share examples of programs or policies that have been particularly successful in promoting diversity and inclusion at Decathlon?

At Decathlon, our commitment towards diversity and inclusion is deeply ingrained in our ethos. We believe in moving people through the transformative power of sport, while simultaneously fostering a culture of inclusivity and balanced leadership. Our dedication to building diverse teams drives innovation and enhances both human and economic growth for the organisation.

In alignment with these principles, we prioritise equitable compensation and opportunities for all team members, regardless of background or role. From our stores to our product development process, we strive to meet the diverse needs of our customers, including women, by co-building inclusive products and implementing comprehensive policies that support work-life balance for all, such as our maternity and paternity policies. 

Additionally, we have implemented various programs such as the Inclusive Mindset Workshop, Emotional Intelligence sessions, and Gender Dialogue sessions for our in-house team members. These initiatives are designed to facilitate open conversations and enhance understanding of the importance of inclusion, thereby improving the overall well-being of our team. By championing diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our operations and providing resources for personal and professional growth, we not only fulfil our mission but also contribute to a more inclusive and vibrant sporting community.

When it comes to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce, how does Decathlon approach employee engagement and ensure high levels of satisfaction among its teammates? Are there specific measures or initiatives in place to address the diverse needs and preferences of employees?

At Decathlon, we prioritise employee engagement and satisfaction through a multifaceted approach tailored to meet the diverse needs and preferences of our teammates.

We conduct semi-annual assessments of teammate satisfaction using a comprehensive happiness barometer. Following each survey, we transparently share the results and empower leaders to collaboratively devise and implement strategic actions aimed at enhancing overall teammate satisfaction. 

We're proud to offer the 'HERoes' Program, a leadership development initiative tailored for women at Decathlon. This holistic program enables women teammates to progress in their careers, take on greater responsibilities, and assume leadership roles within the organisation.

We have already concluded two cohorts of our women's leadership development program (HERoes) at Decathlon India with over 50 women participating. We work with women leaders who are ambitious and innovative to enable them to amplify themselves to the pathway of success. Our HERoes program has helped to develop some critical skills in women which not only helps to advance in their careers but also address the challenges faced by rising women leaders. 

Shifting the focus to sports, how is Decathlon actively contributing to promoting women's participation in sports and advancing gender equality within the sports industry?

In pursuit of promoting women's participation in sports and advancing gender equality within the sports industry, Decathlon has undertaken a series of strategic initiatives aimed at fostering inclusivity and empowerment. At the forefront of these efforts is our commitment to leveraging technology through our sports app, Dplay, to inspire and engage women in sports across various communities. This dedication is rooted in our belief in the transformative power of sports in enhancing individual well-being and fostering a sense of unity.

In 2023, through Dplay we have touched 1.2 million users and 29% women.

As we uphold our company's mission of 'Moving people through the wonder of sports', we strive to support women's involvement in both leisure and professional sports. Through tailored product offerings and targeted engagement activities, we endeavour to address the specific needs of women in sports, thus contributing to a more inclusive and equitable sports landscape.

Transitioning to professional development, can you elaborate on how Decathlon's zig-zag trajectory programs contribute to the growth and skill enhancement of its employees? How does Decathlon ensure these programs align with the diverse career aspirations and trajectories of its workforce?

Decathlon's Zig-Zag trajectory programs are pivotal in fostering the growth and skill enhancement of our employees, while also ensuring alignment with their diverse career aspirations and trajectories. These programs epitomise our commitment to embracing diverse experiences and skill sets, moving away from traditional approaches to job roles. Meticulously designed to foster professional development, enhance skill sets, and promote a deeper understanding of different facets of our operations, through these initiatives, employees have the opportunity to explore roles and projects across departments, gaining valuable insights into how different functions collaborate and contribute to our overarching goals. For instance, textile engineers have transitioned into successful city leaders in retail, while IT graduates have excelled as store leaders and management graduates have traversed various roles across our value chain.

Looking ahead, what are the future goals and aspirations for Decathlon in terms of fostering diversity, inclusion, and a supportive workplace culture?

Our future goals and aspirations revolve around establishing ourselves as the foremost supporter of diversity, and inclusion and encouraging workplace culture on a global scale. Moving towards the goal of being ‘The most inclusive employer in the world,’ we are taking proactive steps to enhance gender diversity within our workforce, particularly in leadership and decision-making roles. Currently, we’re at 27% Gender Diversity in our overall teams and 21% in leadership roles. In India, we are intensifying our efforts to increase the representation of women across all levels of our organisation. Our goal is to have 50% gender diversity in overall teams in 2026 and 40% in leadership. 

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Topics: Diversity, Leadership, Culture

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