Fabulous 15 - Part 1

By understanding and addressing the needs of women, these companies have made the cut as India’s Best Workplaces for Women. Read on to know what they are doing right

Published 5 years ago on Oct 04, 2018 4 minutes Read
Photograph by Deepak G Pawar

American Express IndiaEligibility criteria: Women must form at least 10% of the workforce; minimum 70% of the women, and all employees must share a positive perception of the workplace; and the organisations must meet the minimum qualifying criteria on the assessment of their people practices, evaluated through a proprietary tool. To pick the Top 15, two-third weightage was given to the experience of women employees and one-third weightage to people practices specifically for women employees.

(Listed in alphabetical order)

American Express India

  • Industry: Financial services and insurance
  • India HQ: Gurugram
  • Pradeep Kapur: Senior vice president and general manager, Global Customer Fulfillment Network, Japan Asia Pacific and Global Process Excellence
  • Mark E Benjamin: Vice president and head, HR, India
  • Employee strength: 11,882

American Express’ India arm has started a unique initiative to seamlessly integrate women back into the workforce after their career break. The global service company’s ReNEW hires women for a six-month contractual project. The company hires them as full-time employees if they meet the evaluation criteria after they complete the project. The company has also started a programme to connect senior women leaders of various organisations called Reach Out. American Express has collaborated with five like-minded multinational organisations — PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), PepsiCo, Microsoft, Tata Sons and Reckitt Benckiser — for this. Through the platform, senior women leaders can share, network and learn by connecting with leaders and peers across organisations. The programme also helps organise workshops, focused peer-learning circles and group coaching by executive leaders. The management believes that promoting a conducive work environment for women has helped the company to thrive and survive. “We foster a workplace culture where differences are valued and expressed freely, and all employees have the support they need to take risks, learn and collaborate,” says Pradeep Kapur, SVP, American Express (India).

GE Appliances, a Haier Company

  • Industry: Information technology
  • India HQ: Bengaluru
  • Chandramouli Vijjhala: CIO, India
  • Preet Boparai: Senior manager, HR
  • Employee strength: 319

From providing flexible working hours to giving opportunities to women to take the lead, GE Appliances (a Haier company) is on the front foot when it comes to gender diversity and inclusion. The company, which specialises in home appliances and accessories, believes that diversity in the workforce translates into diversity in perspectives. This is what it tries to highlight through its programme Rendezvous with Leaders, sessions during which three scenarios from their corporate life are enacted in front of an eager audience, who benefit from hearing perspectives and pointers from leaders. GE Appliances also understands that to succeed, a strong will needs to be complemented by skill sets, and therefore they have a programme called Will To Skill. The annual event has sessions and events that encourage learning. The company also encourages diversity in succession plans, by actively promoting women to senior leadership roles. Its diversity ratio currently stands at 35%. That said, hiring and succession is merit based. Employees opine that consistent communication from management and involvement in decision-making are the benefits of working at GE Appliances. The company also invests in the physical wellbeing of their employees by offering events throughout the year in self-defense, women’s health, fitness programmes and more.

HERE Solutions India

  • Industry: Information technology
  • India HQ: Mumbai
  • Edzard Overbeek: Chief executive officer
  • Kelley Steven-Waiss: EVP and chief human resources officer
  • Employee strength: 3,657

Mumbai-based HERE Solutions, which provides mapping, location data and related services, does frequent surveys to understand the needs of its women employees. For instance, the Women’s Initiative Survey, part of their Women’s Initiative Network, is taken by both men and women, and helps understand changing requirements. This is in addition to its quarterly Pulse survey, which has a similar objective. Based on the survey results, the company decides on how to improve learning and development of the staff, as well as help with networking and work-life integration of women employees. To have more women in different job grades, the company also launched the She Matters campaign around International Women’s Day. During this campaign, employees were actively encouraged to refer female talent for various open positions. HERE Solutions also organises activities and workshops to encourage and motivate women. Not surprisingly, employees describe the corporate environment as friendly and encouraging. Of their total workforce of 3,657, the percentage of women in the company has gone up from 28% in 2015 to 40% currently. 

This is Part 1 of a five-part series. You can read Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here and Part 5 here.