How has the perspective towards a more gender diverse workforce changed over time?
Accelerating diversity is not just about hiring a diverse workforce, but it is also about empowering them to reach their full potential so that both the individual and organisation reap the benefits.
Keeping this in mind, we evaluated ourselves on the following grounds:
i) Do we provide a safe environment for women?
ii) Do we have the right policies in place?
iii) Is there any unconscious bias in the way that our organisational processes and systems are set up?
iv) Is the balance of power in the organisation equal?
By periodically asking ourselves relevant questions, we have been able to move the needle faster in the last few years.
What role has technology played in opening up avenues for diversity and inclusion?
Though the change in mindset holds the key, technology has been playing its role as an enabler in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. From helping organisations to find talent to creating learning & training modules, technology has been a difference-maker.
One of the technology-driven initiatives at HDFC ERGO is the employee recognition portal called ‘Kudos’. Establishing this recognition mechanism has helped us instill a sense of belonging among the diverse workforce.
Could you highlight some of the D&I initiatives undertaken by your organization?
Of multiple interventions that we have instituted, some of our recent and most ambitious projects are Shakti, Purple, Re-vibe, and Nari Shakti.
Project Shakti is aimed at attracting and hiring women talent and building an organisational culture that encourages and supports women in the workforce in a big way. Since the launch of this initiative in 2021, there has been a 5 percentage points increase in women representation across the organisation. Our philosophy is based on three pillars – Improving gender representation in the workforce, building an inclusive performance culture & becoming a gender-balanced organisation.
Project Purple is an initiative aimed at creating opportunities and opening a career path for people with special abilities. The purpose is to create an inclusive space in the form of infrastructural, operational, and mindset changes that make the workplace inclusive and welcoming.
Re-vibe is a first-of-its-kind gender-neutral second-career program that provides opportunities for people with a career break to return to work. The program provides 360º support to identify, groom and nurture talent and help them revive their professional careers.
Nari Shakti is our audacious effort to employ women as in-house surveyors for vehicle inspections, a role that has been long dominated by men. We have curated a 3-phase training program to help them get market-ready. It is not just initiating but also empowering them with the knowledge to do it.
Our motto for D&I is :
– Celebrate the similarities
– Respect the differences
What challenges have you faced towards implementing D&I and what are your key learnings?
Implementing Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace will yield the best results when it comes from a collaborative team effort. One person means one perspective, one experience, one set of values, one background, one brain, and one voice. For how much we can say the power of the single matters, the power of plural voices and the intention of many will make the difference.
Working on D&I, for that matter on anything, we sometimes find ourselves either only learning, only discussing, or just acting. While it’s fundamental to do all three, we should always set our sights on progress.
Ms. Sudakshina Bhattacharya, CHRO, HDFC ERGO, General Insurance Company, Ltd.