Media company Viacom18 has set new benchmarks in Human Resource policies with the launch of its women centric program titled WAVE or Women at Viacom18. WAVE is a women-friendly work-linked benefits programme, including the increase in paid maternity leave to 36 weeks or nine months, as well as providing additional benefits for new and expectant mothers in Viacom18 along with various initiatives focusing on the overall safety, wellness and career development of female employees of the company. This is an aim of bringing in gender diversity and helping women perform to their full potential at the workplace. The policies have already been put to action across all its offices in the country.
Speaking about WAVE and its significance to the organization, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 said to media, ‘Viacom18 prides itself in being a thought leader on several counts. With WAVE – Women at Viacom18 – we seek to address the importance of gender diversity in a modern-day organisation. At 38%, the representation of women in our organisation is already above the national average. The first phase of WAVE is internally-focused and aimed at institutionalising gender diversity, sensitising our workforce and building equity, over equality, for our women employees. Once we have achieved these goals, WAVE will transform into a larger platform and even surpass Viacom18’s walls.’
As a part of WAVE, Viacom18 is working towards creating a culture of safety which will allow female employees to focus on their work and their career without having to worry about their safety by providing them transportation in case they’re working late. Under the pillar of wellness, the company will be providing healthcare camps for women in the workplace in addition to existing initiatives, which include doctor visits at the office, therapists to help with their emotional well-being and annual health check-ups. For expectant and new mothers and fathers, Viacom18 will be rolling out a whole host of initiatives which are not only at par with industry standards but actually go beyond the set norms. With additional benefits that include post-maternity leave, check-up leaves, paternity leave, an upcoming day-care centre, Viacom18 is on its way to ensuring that women at Viacom18 are not only provided the best career opportunities but are also well cared for.
“Given that we have a large number of women in the workforce; it becomes a critical initiative for us. The focus is on building a culture in the organization,” said Abhinav Chopra, chief human resource officer at Viacom18.
WAVE is an outcome of an in-depth research and one-on-one conversations with their own workforce. It incorporates the insights the media firm drew from an internal employee survey known as ECHOES, suggestions from the in-house counsellor and personal conversations with employees (men and women).
However, while an extended maternity leave is very critical for women, particularly, one challenge for organisations could be to keep these women connected, said Saundarya Rajesh, founder and president of Avtar Career Creators & FLEXI Careers India. She also added, “Companies should also think of a keep in touch policies to help the women get back to the groove,”