Lead Story

India’s best workplaces for women

Outlook Business and Great Place to Work® bring you the second annual listing of India’s Best Workplaces For Women. Read on to know what these admirable companies are doing right

Published 5 years ago on Oct 01, 2019 13 minutes Read

Headquartered in Bengaluru, [24]7.ai strives to be a springboard for future leaders. The company specialises in gauging consumer intent and delivering customer-experience solutions to its clients. It also actively works to create new experiences for its employees everyday, focusing especially on building holistic leaders in every domain through its numerous employee-friendly practices. Its Womenable programme is designed to create women leaders in mid-level management for the organisation. Women get selected into this programme based on their performance. Their improvement is then tracked through various parameters. [24]7.ai works to ensure that the employees are treated as family and are well looked after.

Creative technology giant Adobe believes in driving a passion for technology through excellent employee care. Opportunities to explore other departments and movement between teams is encouraged. Adobe focuses on empowering its women employees. It also organises CodHERS, India’s first ever women only hackathon. The event is to inspire women to join the industry and to identify the best developers and coders in India. The top 20 are offered internships and full-time positions. Its Women Leadership Circle is a year-long programme that mentors talented women employees and provides them with skills to become strong leaders. The programme combines structured education, experiential learning and access to Adobe Leaders.

Anand CY Myutec Automotive is an early adopter of women-friendly workplace practices. Headquartered in Delhi, the company makes auto parts for passenger vehicles. Its corporate culture is built on rewarding teamwork and leadership. The organisation is at the forefront of women-centric policies and has been empowering women to take on managerial roles since the 1970s, when they started hiring women on the shop floor. It closely tracks the ratio of women to men employees. Another initiative is providing hostel facilities for women working in Anand Group companies, which guarantees their safety and fosters camaraderie.

Aspire Systems is a global service provider that specialises in product engineering, enterprise transformation, independent testing services and IT infra support. The management ensures that the employees have a work-life balance and the freedom to take ownership of their tasks. Making its offices safe and friendly for women is a priority. To facilitate this, it has two practices in place. The first is its all-women association to build a mentor network. It also awards the best performing women with the Golden Aviator award every year on Women’s Day. Its second initiative is leadership training. The organisation scouts for external summits and conferences by industry veterans for women to participate in, so that they can equip themselves with relevant skills to grow.

A young and innovative real-estate company, Bharti Realty Holdings prides itself in fostering a close-knit community of employees. They are provided with opportunities to contribute and take up new initiatives while working on their strengths and weaknesses. The company’s most impressive practices include DIVAS and Women Safety. DIVAS is its gender-diversity programme — a network to create a learning environment, tailored to the needs of a woman. It also acts as a support system that facilitates dialogue between women employees, to share their experiences within the organisation and to understand their goals and aspirations. The Women Safety initiative mandates sessions on personal protection while travelling. The organisation provides pepper sprays for its women employees to keep in their bags at all times to protect themselves from unforeseen situations.

As global leaders in the medical device industry, Boston Scientific aims to transform the lives of patients worldwide through its wide range of products. Currently headquartered in Gurugram, the organisation also works to empower its women employees by providing support structures that will allow them to improve their career trajectory. Women are offered several benefits that ensure personal and professional development while maintaining a work-life balance. Its best practices, however, are daycare facilities and diversity initiatives. In an attempt to retain women employees, the organisation has tied up with daycare services and preschools to help young and new mothers. Its diversity programme NARI is an employee resource group (ERG) that works towards improving inclusivity, retaining and attracting women employees.

Over nearly two decades of operation, Cairn Oil & Gas has made a name for itself globally. The organisation produces a diversified range of natural resources and is headquartered in Gurugram. To its employees, it offers a wide range of benefits and great infrastructure. It has several development programmes that cover all aspects of an individual’s growth, both personal and professional. It makes sure that the employees are heard and their suggestions are taken into account. Seminars to educate employees about appropriate workplace practices to make the environment safe for women are also conducted regularly. The company also recognises the role of its women in its day-to-day functioning by celebrating Women’s Day with sessions by health experts, discussion by an external panel on women’s issues and a session by a senior female leader sharing her personal journey.

A global leader for mobility solutions, Comviva Technologies is headquartered in Gurugram and services nearly two billion people in 95 countries every year. In its offices, it works to foster a community that supports everyone, even as its employee policies aim to promote a sound work-life balance. A multitude of learning opportunities are given to employees through training seminars, challenging assignments and the use of advanced technologies. Support is especially provided to new mothers. The organisation covers nanny charges for up to two years to retain women while ensuring that their children are taken care of. It also provides crèche facilities besides flexible working hours for new mothers so that they can spend more time at home with their babies or in case they have a medical condition that mandates rest.

Headquartered in Chennai, Doyen Systems provides Oracle technology solutions across several industries. It strives to maintain this diversity in its offices as well. Doyen Systems prioritises an inclusive and supportive environment. It provides employees with certifications to encourage them to improve their skillset and overall qualifications. It also promotes participation in various international and national events. The organisation also offers flexible working hours in addition to an option to work from home to women, so that they can maintain a work-life balance.

Across all departments, DHL Express India has policies that have employees at the centre and that work to promote their engagement with each other and the management. DHL places special focus on the safety of its women employees. They have initiated a Connect programme, in association with the local police to foster a relationship between local authorities and women employees so that they can reach out to them without hesitation in times of need. The organisation also has a network that connects women employees across all DHL companies in India. The women in this forum support each other and are also involved in driving CSR initiatives with NGOs such as Teach for India, SOS Villages and Akshay Patra.

Serving as a global in-house centre for parent company First American Corporation, provides back office and knowledge-processing operations to meet the parent organisation’s business requirement. The organisation has developed a corporate culture that encourages learning. It provides resources for differently-abled people and pregnant women. Recognising the need to support working mothers, the organisation has programmes such as Yoga for Moms and Young Mothers Coming Back To Work. First American conducts yoga sessions for expecting and new mothers for their physical and mental well-being. Its second initiative is an awareness programme that provides information related to motherhood and nutrition.

As the name suggests, Happiest Minds focuses on ‘being mindful’ and ‘doing mindful’. In order to ensure that, weekly sessions are conducted in teaching appropriate practices. It provides employees with the flexibility of doing their job at a pace that suits them. People are encouraged to greet each other and share their feelings without any hesitation. It has policy initiatives aimed to make the office a better place for women. AURA — the Women’s Network is a platform that facilitates the exchange of ideas and tips amongst women employees. This platform also consolidates feedback about policies and infrastructure, and works to foster leadership talent. It also actively works to recruit women and has a council that handles their housekeeping needs. Taichi classes are held to teach women self-defense. The organisation also has special units dedicated to female hygiene care.

For HERE Technologies, creating an inspiring workplace is as important as retaining its leadership in mapping and location technology. It has a slew of policies to create a conducive work environment for its female employees. The Women’s Initiative Network, run by a group of passionate and creative women encourages them to pursue their professional goals and foster an environment to enable discussion towards the fulfillment of their professional needs. It organises training programmes and conducts regular exchange between regional and global teams. A day-long global conference — HERE WITness — highlights the work, experience and perspective of HERE female employees. Absence of micro-management and building a platform where employees, irrespective of designation, can share their ideas and execute them are other ways in which the company channels creativity and boosts productivity of its employees.

Besides a strong product basket and consistent quality, HP also focuses on creating a supportive work environment. The management especially believes in having a strong support system for expecting and new mothers, hence the policy called Reboot. This policy helps them transition to their working life comfortably through various programmes including crèche tie-ups, work from home option, part-time work schedules, medical/lactation room facilities and special transport arrangements. The company also has a TigerMom - Empowering Mothers initiative, which celebrates women who balance being the best at work and at home.

While Ingersoll-Rand Technologies and Services is one of the oldest American FDI firms in the country, its policies are truly modern and in line with changing times. Employees at all levels are systematically encouraged to consider how they upgrade their knowledge and skills through thoughtful and well-defined supportive programmes. Gender diversity is a key priority at the company, which has set itself a notable target of 85% gender diverse slate. This is despite the fact that it has to go the extra mile to source gender diverse candidates for roles such as mechanical engineers, plant roles and industrial selling roles. Another policy for women is the Women’s Leadership Programme for high potential women employees. This provides them with the necessary skills and abilities to grow their careers with the help of business mentors, and online and in-room classes.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Intuit’s culture is driven by the philosophy of OneIntuit, which means oneness, collaboration and looking towards the larger good. To ensure that no event, like maternity, or any unsavoury news, serves as a roadblock in career progression, leaders at Intuit work on building a prejudice-free environment. As a result, employees have achieved significant growth during their days of expectancies and broken the stereotypical notion around pregnancy being a career break. Intuit also allows female employees to ask for lighter workload for a month prior to the six weeks sabbatical they can avail before their expected delivery date. The breaks as well as lighter work option are offered without any deduction in salary.

From a world-class facility in Pune, this global in-house engineering centre of John Deere Global supports design activities and other product and line-related services in Americas, Europe and other regions. At the same time, the company has engineered a range of policies for its women employees. These include speed-mentoring sessions with WoMentor — a two-hour mentoring session that connects over 60 mentees with 19 John Deere India Leaders. Broadly, the mentoring topics include discussions around development plans, career progression, strategic leadership, grooming oneself for technical leadership and innovation to name a few. For the past six years, the company’s Society of Women Engineers has also been hosting the annual Wow! That’s Engineering Day. This event focuses on encouraging tech-savvy thinking and attracting more female students for STEM-related fields.

The data investment management division of WPP offers a host of services, ranging from data collection software and end-to-end solutions to workflow and estimation tools. Kantar has a holistic approach when it comes to servicing its own workforce. The company goes the extra mile to provide comfort and convenience to expecting mothers, which includes providing footrests and cushions at the workplace! Interestingly, this was a suggestion made by employees and was immediately implemented, reiterating the fact that they listen and care. The company also fosters a friendly environment with no dress code, work from home option and barrier-free communication with seniors for grievance redressal.

Friendly, fun-filled and safe are the three words that best describe the work environment at Mahle Anand. Right from the recruitment stage, the company lays emphasis on hiring women in both the staff category as well as on the shop floor. In fact, it has mandated a 30% women workforce on the shop floor. The company also has a flexible work from home policy for expecting mothers, as well as for women returning to the workforce after maternity break. A women’s committee, which meets once in two months with the collaboration of an NGO, is also an attempt by the company to sensitise its workforce. One female employee from each line, two to three staff members and the unit HR are generally a part of this meeting where various topics, including harassment, are discussed. The company also invests in self-defense training.


The only retail firm on this list, METRO Cash & Carry India, is a self-help wholesale company with a unique business model. It caters to a core group including hotels, caterers, restaurants, traders, companies and offices. With the motto of Care and Share, the company boasts of a list of initiatives for women, including trade support and partnership programme, encouraging women entrepreneurship and hiring interventions. The company also organised self-defense workshops this Women’s Day.Elementary skills to safeguard themselves against potential risks were imparted at this session. The success of this session prompted the company to organise advanced sessions, under which ten women were taught how to strengthen core muscles, the basics of taekwondo and punches to defend themselves.

At Hyderabad-based Pegasystems, programmes and policies are deeply rooted in the company’s value system. Accordingly, it has put in place key initiatives for its women employees. The first is diversity referral, under which Pega encourages employees to refer applicants for all open positions within the company. The Women Referral Programme encourages employees to refer quality women applicants for the published positions and offers referral bonuses. It has also built a nursing/lactation room for new mothers, drawing from suggestions received from employees. What’s more, to help new hires blend easily into the system, Pega also has the Pega Woman Ambassadors, a team of women that take on the responsibility of interacting with newcomers even before joining and guiding them through the integration process by playing the role of a buddy.

Establishing an inclusive, flexible and continuous learning culture is the cornerstone of success at SAP Labs, the leading IT service provider that serves over 282,000 customers worldwide. Right from conceptualisation to execution, the company ensures team play. Among its successful policies are the Business Women Network, which enables networking among like-minded women, which helps them spot business and career opportunities. This is done through support, mentoring and education programmes. The company also recognises a crucial problem of working women: many highly qualified and experienced women have had to take a step back from their career to focus on personal commitments. To help those who are interested in resuming their career, it has initiated a Back To Work programme that offers project-based assignments and practical assistance to potential candidates for a period of six months.

SAS Research and Development (India), which offers analytics, business intelligence, and data management software and services, has built its largest R&D centre outside the US in Pune. Establishing a workplace environment that excels in almost every area of employee experience has always been a top priority. Policies such as the Women’s Initiative Network are efforts in this direction. The aim of the initiative is to celebrate women technologists, leaders and professionals within SAS. It also develops leadership capabilities among women workers, helps them expand internal and external professional networks and affiliations and, organises events to attract young women to careers in science and technology. For women at the middle and senior level, SAS also organises several upskilling workshops.

It is no exaggeration to say that the people policies at SEWA Rural can be included in HR textbooks. Here, an employee’s inputs and ideas are valued as much as the physical hours worked. The voluntary development organisation has been involved in health and developmental activities in Jhagadia, a rural area of south Gujarat since 1980. And saying that it offers special privileges to its women employees will be an understatement. Besides the option of working part-time for up to a year, it also provides a crèche/daycare facility staffed with trained attendants on campus. While the part-time option allows women to take care of their domestic duties, the daycare arrangement lets a mother work without being too stressed about leaving the child. SEWA also boasts of maternity benefits such as antenatal care and 26 weeks paid leave post delivery.

Diversity and inclusion are the core principles at Synchrony Financial. To ensure a favourable work environment for women, Synchrony offers drop-off and pick-up service for expectant mothers. At present, female employees make 41% of the workforce at Synchrony Hyderabad and the company believes that its initiatives must support the development of women in the community as well. The YODEE - Women on Wheels initiative focuses on training and inducting 10 women drivers into the Synchrony cab fleet. They can then drive the women employees during the day. The company also runs a prison inmate welfare initiative at the Chanchalguda Women’s Prison, to ensure effective rehabilitation of the prisoners through necessary education and counselling, and providing them with skill training and certification courses to empower them financially.