Anupama’s professional achievement is a reflection of her being a thought leader in HR & a contributor of value. She is a strong and enterprising Human Resource leader with an extensive HR experience of more than 20 years. Anupama’s inputs on different trending topics of HR are a reflection of her dedication, passion, and tenacity to make a difference in the HR fraternity.
What’s the key to creating a diverse workplace? Programs and policies? Equal Pay? Or a balanced approach that not only helps the organisation to manage the gender ratio but also makes the workplace more engaging for women employees. We asked Anupama Pillai, Director HR, at Diebold Nixdorf, and here’s what she thinks.
As a woman Human Resources professional, I am often asked about diversity and inclusion programs, work-life balance issues, gender pay practices, and most recently on how to go about building a gender-neutral environment which enables equal opportunities to one and all employees irrespective of their gender. Diversity in the workplace has always been one of the hottest topics in the HR industry, but in the recent few years, it has become a major goal for many companies. I would like to highlight some of the key drivers that not only will help the organisation to manage the gender ratio but will also make the workplace more engaging for women employees —
1. Sensitize and Educate Employees
It’s not very difficult to let employees know if the organisation has decided to diversify the workplace and make it more inclusive and engaging for Women. Review your existing workplace policies with a diversity lens. Develop and implement diversity-friendly and inclusive workplace policies. Offer flexible schedules, leave options, meal choices, recreational activities, etc. Socialize diversity agenda by introducing women-specific policies in the HR policy manual. Let all managers go through a specially designed diversity training program entailing the importance of gender equality, communicating effectively without gender bias, and ensuring zero gender discrimination. According to a Glassdoor survey, a full two-thirds (67 percent) of active and passive job seekers think that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. So workplace diversity also in a way helps attract and retain top talent.
2. Make Them Heard
There have been ample situations where women don’t get their due credit for their work and often go unheard.
Blame it on our culture or the upbringing but many times, women employees do not care much about others walking away with their hard work and effort especially if they are settled and happy in their jobs. Hence it’s important to cultivate a culture of equal opportunity to speak and contribute actively in a discussion.
Also, encourage them to voice out freely against situations which make them uncomfortable e.g. abusive surroundings, discriminative behaviour, hostile remarks, etc. and take strong corrective actions against such instances which will help not only discourage such behaviours but send across a strong message that we have zero tolerance for such behaviours.
3. Make Them Feel Special and Valued
Most of the time it’s seen that it’s the woman who is juggling with multiple roles trying to balance the personal and the professional lives. So it becomes essential for companies to know the balancing factors which help them in meeting needs on both the fronts. For eg: corporates having crèche facilities are proving to be a great help for the young working moms who can give their undivided attention to work not having to worry about whether their toddlers are in safe hands or not.
Another such instance would be of women employees resuming back from long breaks such as maternity leave etc. They feel disengaged, neglected and sidelined and stratified in the lower ratings due to their absence from work. Organisations should have greater responsibilities to tackle these kinds of challenges.
Women resuming office after such long leave due to biological/medical reasons should be welcomed back with due respect. They should be appraised based on their past performance taking cognizance of their earlier contributions making them feel that they are still valued and as an organisation, we look forward to their long association.
Designing specific training programs to help them come up to speed with the current industry practices will also help them sharpen their skills and perform better. organisations can also run Women-centric events/drives and let them speak about the company’s value, culture, people on Social and Digital Media, Company Websites, etc. Such initiatives will not only help in establishing a positive brand reputation for the organisation but also boost the morale of Women employees yielding better business outcomes.
Embracing diversity in the workplace is not just the right thing to do – it is a smart thing to do. While your company’s reputation and workplace inclusion are definitely important goals worth pursuing, workplace diversity has many other immediate and tangible benefits related directly to your company’s bottom line too.
Companies with inclusive work culture are not only perceived as more socially responsible but also considered as more desirable employers.