The competitiveness of economies and organizations in the 21st century is determined by the skills and productivity of the workforce; this, in turn, is directly influenced by the diversity of thought, experiences and perspectives at the workplace. The case for active participation by women in the nation’s economy is today stronger than ever before, with recent studies indicating that India can increase its 2025 GDP between 16% to 60%, simply by bridging the gender gap in the workforce. Despite universal acknowledgment of the importance of gender balance in the workforce, women continue to be under-represented in leadership cadres globally.
The Mahindra Group values the uniqueness of every individual and is fostering an environment of inclusion and empowerment that will enable people and communities to Rise. Gender Diversity is thus a key focus area for the Group, which is committed to creating an inclusive ecosystem that supports and encourages women to reach senior leadership positions within the organisation.
Recognizing that the mid-career stage is when many women veer off a leadership track due to work-life concerns, perceived lack of fit or other factors, the Group Diversity Council at Mahindra Group is introducing its first Women Leaders Program (WLP). The WLP is focused on advancement of women in the workforce and will look to encourage and support women employees in the middle management cadre. The WLP proposes a unique professional development journey spanning 18 months and has been specially designed to help participants develop competencies needed to advance into future leadership positions. The program encompasses:
- Classroom learning in collaboration between Academy of Leadership Development under the aegis of Mahindra Leadership University and SP Jain Institute of Management & Research
- Access to mentors and coaches, for personalized guidance and development
- Instructor-led training, webinars and e-learning modules as interventions to supplement class room learning
- Mentor orientation, manager sensitization and coach alignment workshops to connect and align the education and experience journey
- Networking opportunities with internal and external role models including women leaders
- Business simulation exercises
- Leadership challenge projects
Anita Arjundas, President, Real Estate Sector and Chairperson, Group Diversity Council, Mahindra Group., said, “Diversity of thought, ideas and viewpoints is core to the Mahindra Group’s DNA. Flowing from this philosophy, the Women Leaders Program is a strategic component of our efforts to create a diverse and balanced workforce that will truly represent the increasingly varied communities and markets we serve.”
Dr. Prince Augustin, EVP, Group Human Capital and Leadership Development, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., added, “Only when we create an inclusive ecosystem that brings in people with wide-ranging backgrounds and perspectives into all parts of the organization can we drive holistic, positive change. The Women Leaders Program will help talented women in the organisation transcend perceived limitations and achieve their full potential.’
Dr Ranjan Banerjee, Director, S P Jain Institute of Management & Research, shared that the “WLP is a distinctive and path breaking initiative between SP Jain and Academy of Leadership Development of Mahindra Leadership University (MLU). The result of this creative collaboration in developing Talent Pool of Women leaders within the Mahindra Group has reached a distinctive milestone in Industry-Academia partnership. The program is unique and distinguishes itself from other similar programs in synthesizing current contemporary tools integrating knowledge with real time life experience to build competencies in managing life, teams and business challenges in an ever changing VUCA environment.”
The Group Diversity Council (GDC) was established in 2012, as part of a structured, conscious approach to enhancing diversity within the organization, while maintaining a strong business connect with measurable outcomes. Gender diversity is a key focus area for the GDC, which is committed to creating an inclusive ecosystem that supports and encourages women to reach senior leadership positions across Mahindra Group companies. The Mahindra Group Diversity Council has representation from different sectors within the Group, different generations and leadership levels.