Gender diversity is high on agenda for the India Inc. Companies realise and accept the paybacks that come along. However, it’s not just the realisation, and the intention, it the practices and policies that makes an organisation a better place to work for a women.
The study ‘Best Companies for Women in India’ (BCWI) in its first edition, conducted a survey amongst 350 employers in the country and ranked the top 100. Here is what makes the top 100 stand out.
Accenture: With approximately 384,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives.
The organisation is proud of the 45,000 plus women representing over 33 per cent of the workforce in India, who contribute to Accenture’s success and to an environment that is rich in diversity. At Accenture, men play an active role as advocates of gender diversity and leaders consistently engage in fostering a culture of inclusion in their businesses by sponsoring and advocating diversity.
Rekha M. Menon, chairman and managing director, Accenture India, says, “Our diversity makes us stronger, smarter and more innovative and we are committed to creating a safe workplace, where professional conduct and respect for every individual is the norm.”
Cummins: At Cummins, diversity is managed through both adequate representation and creating the right working environment. Representation focusses on attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce. Environment entails creating a workplace that is psychologically safe, inclusive, respectful and high performance.
From a mere seven per cent women’s representation in 2005, today women constitute 30 per cent of the total professional workforce at Cummins at all levels. The Growing Women Leaders (GWL) Programme, a breakthrough in encouraging women staff, is spearheaded with a focus on increasing women in leadership roles, through structured initiatives across multiple ranks.
Apart from providing parental leaves and flexible work hours, Cummins has also instituted on-site child care centres across all its plants and offices. Going beyond the workplace, the company has established a scholarship programme, Nurturing Brilliance, to enable young ladies from traditionally economically and socially disadvantaged sections of the society to go to college for undergraduate degrees.
Deloitte: Several strategic initiatives specific to gender inclusion are integrated into the Deloitte’s culture. This includes a sponsorship programme to develop leaders, which is a critical element of Deloitte’s talent strategy of fostering an environment ‘where leaders thrive’. The programme helps high-performing women professionals build their brand, provides opportunities for high-visibility projects and helps them navigate the organisation. This has proven to be effective in the development of a strong women leadership pipeline.
Deloitte offers its professionals (both women and men) solutions and choices that help them balance their personal and professional commitments. These include a formal framework for flexible work options, such as remote work, telecommuting, and flex-time. These formalised programmes strengthen mutual trust and commitment.
In addition, ‘Empowered Well-being’ helps its workforce balance personal and professional commitments while leading healthy and purposeful lives. It not only provides professionals access to tools and resources, but also encourages them to make individual choices that positively impact their personal well-being.
EY: The role of women within the organisation is highly valued. EY constantly endeavours to improve the experience for its women to help them achieve their full potential without having anything to hold them back. To be able to achieve this, EY has in place a robust mechanism of tracking and measuring inclusion of women at different levels and roles.
The host of initiatives at EY include, Career Watch – a career sponsorship programme for high- potential women in the ranks of senior managers and directors; Women’s leadership workshop — a leadership development programme aimed at nurturing a diverse workforce and building a gender- balanced leadership pipe; Women’s Access — a programme dedicated to developing and strengthening the leadership capabilities of women by fostering mentor-mentee relationships between women professionals and leaders; EY Women’s India network; MomEY – an attempt to add to the joy of mothers-to-be and mothers returning to work after maternity or child care. It includes adoption leave, maternity leave, child care facilities, remote or flexible working and telecommuting; paternity leave and gender sensitisation.
“Gender parity at work is no longer a nice discussion topic. EY provides women with a level playing field, helping them realise their full potential and excel in their careers,” says Gwen M Ryan, global operations leader, global delivery services (GDS).
Hindustan Unilever: The company embraces diversity in the workforce. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants and continuous development of all employees, regardless of gender, nationality, race, creed, disability, style or sexuality.
Enhanced Maternity and Paternity Benefits, On site and superior Pre-school/Day care tie ups, Agile Working, Flexi-Location Policy, Flexible return to work option, Career By Choice (CBC) the platform for women returning to the workforce, etc., are all part of creating an inclusive workplace.
The Diversity Council is the apex leadership team that drives the Winning Balance agenda at Hindustan Unilever. “HUL believes that an inclusive workplace, which allows everybody to be the best they can be, has a positive impact on the business,” B P Biddappa, executive director-HR, Hindustan Unilever, says.
The other companies under the best ten organisations for women are IBM, ICICI Bank, Intel Technology India, Mindtree Technologies, Morgan Stanley and People Combine Educational Initiatives. Each of these organisations has also innovated and invested conscious efforts in making the workplace conducive for women.
Day care services, tuition reimbursement and sponsored care are some of the best in class practices adopted by companies in India to retain women in the workforce. The study also shares that 60 per cent of companies rate remote work, flexi-time, partial work and partial pay as the most favoured flexible working arrangements for working mothers.
Commenting on the increasing focus on young mothers at the workplace, Saundarya Rajesh, founder – president, AVTAR Group says, “The 100 Best Companies for Women in India have exemplary policies that can plug the women talent drain. These policies cushion the career paths for women professionals during key life events such as maternity and help in the retention and growth of these women.”
The Best Companies for India study is the first global expansion of Working Mothers’ 100 Best Companies, which has been published in the US for 31 consecutive years.
The selection was based on data of highest order granularity spanning seven key policy clusters, namely, Workforce profile, Flexible work, Women’s recruitment and retention, Benefits, Paid-time, Company culture and Safety and security, as provided by the applicant companies. With two companies scoring exactly the same over all parameters, there has been a tie which is why the inaugural edition of the 100 Best Companies for Women in India lists 11 Companies in the Top 10.