Top 5 Trends in Gender Diversity that could help companies change the game in 2017
Gender diversity has been one of the most discussed topics across corporate India in the recent years. A recent survey conducted by ProEves, a Gender Diversity & Maternity Support firm, reveals that overall woman participation in India Inc. is stuck at around 20%. We wonder despite urban India reporting a gender ratio of 93% (929 women for every 1000 men) why is the workforce ratio still stuck at 20% for the last 3 years. Many companies have picked up the diversity agenda and implemented extended maternity leave and Back to Work programs in the last three years, but the needle on gender diversity is yet to move.
A recent survey done by HSE in UK, shows that women suffer more from work related stress, anxiety and depression when compared to men. If a similar survey was to be done in India the findings would have been no different.
To validate this, we reached out to a community of 4000 Indian mothers to understand the factors causing stress at work, most women mentioned workload, work-life balance, lack of managerial or organization support, unreliable childcare arrangements as the top reasons for stress. This means that the diversity initiatives need to go beyond recruitment and reboot programs, HR & diversity professionals need to think of new ways & a rounded approach to manage & support the working mother.
This also has a financial saving, as with the implementation of the amended maternity benefit bill, the cost of POST MATERNITY Employee loss(paid maternity leave, medical benefit, rehiring cost) for Indian corporates would be one of the highest in the world.
5 top trends listed by ProEves that could help companies in their Diversity Journey in 2017
Activate Women counselling/support groups – It’s time for us to accept that women are more stressed at work than men as they are also the primary care givers. As organizations it’s important to support the working primary care giver by way of parental support initiatives/parental concierge services or counselling groups. Based on our research the cost of such an initiative will not be more 1% of the cost of post maternity employee loss.
Build Anxiety breakers- New mothers go through three most common anxieties – breastfeeding, separation from child and leaving a sick child. As organizations we can put simple practices in place that can help a new mother reduce such anxieties. The law requires for all organizations to have adequate breastfeeding/pumping provisions, companies can go an extra step and make it a secure & soothing experience for the mother. For new mothers, companies could also look at babywearing at work when the child is sick (the small child can sleep in the baby carrier while the mother does her work). These provisions have no real cost impact but go a long way in showing the organization support.
Create credible Childcare/Daycare support – The daycare arrangement would soon become mandatory for all offices of all organizations after the amended maternity benefit law is passed by the Lok Sabha. This benefit if done right can be a great help to a working parent.
It’s important for all organizations to use the time available to understand the parental need/preferences, identify liabilities, understand the childcare industry and then prepare a strategy that works for all their offices across India. Having a benefit that has low utilization is worse than having no benefit.
Provide Maternity lifecycle support –Almost 91% of women who take a maternity break in India want to come back to work, but only 58 % are able to rejoin full time work & even from those some give up after joining back cites the CTI survey. This means that while working mothers want to join back, the employer connect during maternity leave and post maternity is not sufficient. Beyond tangible support like maternity leave, medical entitlement, there is a need to provide maternity support/resources/ onboarding/ online tools & app to expecting & new mothers throughout the maternity lifecycle so that the post maternity integration to work is smooth.
Engage & support line managers – More than 70% of line managers are men who need to understand the compelling need for gender balanced workforce. Despite designing good practices, we all know that implementation is key and therefore tools & practices for line manager engagement are critical. Using technology to support line manager, providing regular resource updates to help the line manager understand the diversity cause/actions, Involving and recognizing line managers who walk the talk on diversity flexibility and inclusion will help move the needle. Companies need to involve male managers in having open and honest conversations on diversity with their business teams.
Lets make a difference in 2017!