Unlocking competitive advantage with a people-first mindset

Employee performance and organisational contribution are motivated by the culture of the company.
The focus of today’s organisations is on how women may advance an organization’s status and reach new heights.  Likewise, firms are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to supporting women’s career advancement.

One of the most remarkable economic developments around the globe has been the growth of the female workforce. Women have recently become increasingly influential in creating work cultures by fostering teamwork and bringing in fierce competition, which has helped an organisation develop and reach its full potential. More and more businesses are encouraging female leadership and gender equality in the workplace. Women make up at least 40% of the workforce in most nations. Runa Dhawan, People Director, GHQ India, AB InBev GCC shares her views on the numerous efforts taken by the firm as they are racing towards an inclusive future.



Q. How have your diversity and inclusion policies evolved over time?

A: At AB InBev GCC, we believe that our greatest strength is our people. We are consistently enhancing our DE&I agenda based on feedback from our employees and industry benchmarks. Our Continuous Listening flywheel enables us to gather and act on employee feedback throughout the year via focus group meetings; Amber – our AI engagement chatbot; and our quarterly engagement survey. We strive to build an inclusive and equitable culture where employees are given opportunities to learn and apply their skills, enabling AB InBev GCC to deliver strong business results.

Q: How has having a more gender-diverse workforce unlocked value for your business?

A: With our #PeopleFirst mindset, we are committed to supporting our employees as they fulfil their unique potential. Our comprehensive physical and mental health programs are designed to ensure holistic wellbeing across four pillars: physical, behavioural, financial, and social. We offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) comprising comprehensive wellness solutions to help deal with personal challenges like stress, anxiety, work-life balance, relationships, and parenting among others. Professional counselling services are offered to employees and their family members.

How has the perspective towards a more gender-diverse workforce changed over time?We are amongst the pioneers in the benefits market in India and provide flexible benefits to employees, where they can choose from a catalogue of 28 benefits programs for different needs in line with their life stage and family situation.

Our family-friendly policies for parents to provide adequate time for their new-borns include initiatives like flexible return policy for new mothers giving them the option to choose their work hours and enabling them to manage both work and home. We also have an adoption leave policy, allowing new parents to take 3 months off to ease into parenthood.

We strive to maintain gender-balanced teams to enable diverse viewpoints and ideas, fostering innovative thinking and enabling holistic growth. Our initiatives, like ACE, a leadership program for women employees at different levels, aim to create a strong and diverse leadership pipeline. In 2022, we pioneered a campus hiring program focused on Women in Tech – AleGoRhythm – a unique program aimed to attract and improve the hiring numbers of women tech talent from engineering campuses. This unique 13-day initiative gave students from 52 campuses a glimpse of working with us and gave campus hires an opportunity to be a part of a first-hand problem-solving session with our leaders.

Q: How has the perspective towards a more gender-diverse workforce changed over time?

A: A gender-diverse workforce promotes open communication and collaboration, where employees bring different perspectives and innovative ideas that generate better outcomes for the business. Following our principle to hire people better than us, we recognize that diversity in our pipeline will come through better and more inclusive hiring practices. To this end, our recruitment process maintains a 50:50 gender diversity CV submission ratio. A strong focus on diversity and inclusion has boosted business results and paved the way for innovative practices at AB InBev GCC.

Our people are our competitive advantage. The objective is to move the needle on gender parity in the industry by providing greater breakthroughs for women. Our innovation journey has only just begun, and we look forward to continuing to deliver the best employee experience, driving profitable growth through intelligent operations fueled by our #PeopleFirst mindset.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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