Fabulous 15 - Part 5 | Outlook Business
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Deepak G Pawar

Feature

Fabulous 15 - Part 5
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

Eligibility 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)

Engagement and productivity are directly proportional, believes the team at SAP Labs India. Dilipkumar Khandelwal, CEO, says that most ‘engaged’ companies enjoy higher efficiency and revenue, are better at attracting and retaining talent and create a strong army of employee brand ambassadors. And the policies at SAP Labs are in line with his observation. One of the most interesting programmes is Speed Mentoring. Unlike the traditional mentoring sessions which occur between a single mentor and mentee, Speed Mentoring allows a single mentee to meet different mentors.  Each of the mentoring session is two hours long and each mentoring slot is for 15 minutes. In this duration, a mentee can meet up to three different mentors. The mentors, who are from the senior management team, help women colleagues gain insight into important work-based topics. The company also runs a programme called Strive to Lead. Spanning a six-month time period, it involves intense training, and helps build leadership skills in women. Similarly, Headway has been launched to build leadership skills in women when they are at the cusp of choosing career paths. Ample support is also  given to women employees who have to go on a maternity break and then return to work. A concept called Run Mummier buddies has been introduced, under which, SAP employees volunteer to stay in touch with the new mothers, so they don’t feel out of place during and after their break.

Based out of Bharuch, SEWA Rural is a voluntary development organisation that is involved in health and developmental activities in the rural tribal area of south Gujarat at Jhagadia since 1980. The company, established on ideals of Swami Vivekananda and Gandhiji, believes that “the best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” They implement this idea at their workplace. Their flexible approach to timing and leave, proximity to place of residence (Jhagadia being a small place) and other support structure  have resulted in female employees taking on higher responsibilities. The company also runs a career-progression programme, where women employees at senior-management level can take a one-year fully paid sabbatical for further studies. Examples of progression at SEWA Rural include women who have moved from positions such as nursing trainee to nursing supervisors. They also have a few women who joined as junior employees and are now holding positions in the board of trustees. Communication is key for sensitising employees to the needs of women, for which SEWA organises the Nav Dampati Mela. Here, newly married employees are invited to discuss various aspects of married life: saving, child planning and caring for each other, and are more focused on the needs of female employees or the male employee’s spouse.

When working on policies to make the organisation more favourable for women, Tata Communications came across some interesting facts. For instance, women feel out of place when joining work after a long break, or that managers worry about recruiting more women out of the fear that work will suffer in their absence on paid leave. And one by one, they started tackling these issues with structured policies. Be it hiring replacements for women who have gone on paid leave or incorporating a phased rejoining for women after a long leave, Tata Communications does it all. The company also provides a platform for women who wish to make a comeback to full-time employment through the TATA Second Career Internship Programme (SCIP). It offers them many career options to choose from so that they can work when they want, where they want, on the project they want and at the pace they want. The annual programme, initiated in 2014, targets women managers with experience of seven to 15 years. Tata Communications also runs the Reach Out programme, through which senior women leaders can share, network and learn by connecting with leaders and peers from various other like-minded organisations. The company also honours exceptional women employees through the Role Model series. The career graph and aspirations of women employees are put together as interviews and published in the company newsletter, Yammer and Linkedin, among others. 

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

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