The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Monica Patra, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Women form half the Indian population and corporates want them represented at the top of Indian business to make success more comprehensive. However, part of the challenge organisations face is to retain women employees at mid-and senior levels, as they get tied down to domestic responsibilities. Companies are now rolling out women-friendly initiatives — from the option of working from home to relaxation rooms — to arrest this trend.
While the entry-level inflow of women has been as high as 40-50% in many organisations like Wipro, the number has been steadily decreasing towards the middle and the top, driving organisations to do some ground-level work to figure out why women were leaving midway. With the pool having shrunk, there aren’t too many high performers left to manage the top levels. Wipro conducted a survey in 2008 which suggested most women who left and did not return were in the 5-10 years’ experience bracket. That was after they got married and relocated, had children and were deeply engaged in their personal lives
Companies have taken many measures to retain women. These include adoption leave, which enables employees to avail of three months’ paid leave when they adopt a child. They are also increasingly offering employees the opportunity to work part time or from home under special circumstances. Other options are telecommuting, which allows staffers to work for one or two days a week from home, a special relaxation room, lactation room and car parking for moms-to-be.
TCS does not break the service record of women who discontinue work due to family commitments and return at a later stage. The company also allows flexibility of roles through job rotations across businesses, practices and functions. The company has launched DAWN (Diversity and Women’s Network), which offers a framework for the professional growth of women associates, focused on encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workforce. PepsiCo, which has 15% women in 5,000 of its Indian workforce, has 30% women in its core senior leadership of 15 members. The company set up a Female Talent Council, an initiative that helps women come together, share experiences, problems and solutions.
But all these efforts have come over a good deal of time, and not everyone’s been so fortunate as they had already quit their jobs before these policies were instutionalized. Some organizations and their women friendly policies are as below:
Women also have access to extended maternity leave, part time/flexible working hours, work from home options and option to take a short-term break in careers.
Women’s empowerment is another focus area. Google offers academic scholarships to future leaders in technology and supporting employee resource groups like Women@Google.
American Express India:
Amex designed a unique gender diversity initiative in 2014 called ‘Reach Out’. This program in collaboration with 4 other leading companies – PepsiCo, PwC and Tata Sons – to set a partnership which enables us to leverage each other’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). The program provided a development platform for senior women leaders to ‘Share, Network and Learn’ from leaders and peers across these organizations, to enable greater career success.
SAP Labs India:
Maternity Leave Policy: Women employees are entitled to twenty weeks of paid maternity leave with an additional sixteen weeks of extended maternity leave with loss of pay or a part time work option. Women are offered with cab transportation during and post pregnancy.
Run Mummier: It is a maternity return program that focuses on ensuring the return of a female employee after her maternity leave as smooth as possible. ‘Part work from home’ after the birth of a child implies that male employees, apart from paternity leave, have the flexibility to work for four hours at office and the rest from home.
SAPlings in-house creche: This creche caters to 250 children in the age group of nine months to six years. Under this program children are provided with day care, Montessori education, summer camps as well as other activities.
Business Women Network: This is a forum which strives to foster a diverse workplace at SAP by inspiring women employees through the creation of role models and sharing of inspirational stories of successful women in leadership positions.
Work From Home Policy
Employees can work from home for four days in a month or one day a week.
Temporary Part Time Work
This benefit allows employees to work part–time for a maximum period of four months. One can work on 50, 60 or 80 percent of regular work load based on the agreement with the manager.
Godrej Consumer Products :
Diversity & Inclusion programme
There are resource groups for working women (Godrej alliance for women) and parents (Godrej alliance for parents) with cross-company leadership networks. Both these networks are supported with periodic trainings, external speakers and workshops to address the particular issues that each group may encounter. The company conducts workshops and trainings on professional development.
The company’s maternity policy offers full pay for six months. They endeavor to create an open and inclusive environment for our women talent, who return to work post an extended break. Flexi work and part time work options are also available to help make this balance along with other facilities at their offices. A robust talent management process to groom high potential women talent.
They have Toddlers Park, a day-care centre, and an infrastructural facility, called Baby’s Day Out, from where mothers can work while taking care of their child. For cases of extended maternity, accompanying their spouse on travel, or caring for dependent family members, special leaves can be claimed.
They have a formal community of women employees, called Vahini, to bring about inclusiveness in the organisation, and make them good parents, empowered citizens and fine financial planners. Expecting mothers can enjoy regular visits by a gynaecologist and special cabs for their smooth travel. There is also a dedicated 24×7 emergency helpline for women.
EY Global Shared Services (Gss), Business Advisory:
A prominent feature is their creche, called Ashray. Employees can also choose to work from home on a full-time or part-time basis. A security guard escorts women employees who use late-evening transport. Half their employees are women.
It is the first Indian company to set up a dedicated office for gender sensitivity, called Infosys Women Inclusivity Initiative (IWIN). Women employees can avail 24×7 counselling facilities and nursing stations. For new mothers, there are satellite offices where they can stay close to home and work. They can take upto a year’s leave for their family and continue to be on the rolls.