While corporates across the world are working to create a more inclusive workplace, there is still a certain amount of gender-based discrimination that exists, especially in male-dominated sectors. While corporates across the world are of the strong opinion that equality in the workplace is solely a women’s issue, it is an important factor that can impact the internal workings of organisations on a macro level.
Fostering an inclusive workspace doesn’t just mean celebrating women’s day, but rather enforcing policies and programs to ensure that women get equal opportunities for growth and professional development. Isthara has made active efforts to ensure that the ratio of men and women in the workplace is well maintained, especially considering how male-dominated both the real estate and hospitality industries tend to be.
According to a recent report, women comprise only 36 % of the total workforce within the real estate industry. The number is as low as 9 % in the hospitality industry. Isthara however, remains one of the few companies breaking this norm, as over 40 % of the company’s management positions – like CFO, GMs and VPs – are held by women.
However, across its two vertices – co-living and student living, the company’s current overall employee diversity ratio is 35:65 for an employee count of 1000. Isthara also aims to increase this ratio to approximately 50:50 in the coming year and plans to increase the employee number to a total of 2000.
While this was not a strict mandate, it was the result of choosing qualified individuals that were right for the job, irrespective of their gender. Finding strong leaders to run the various departments within the company was essential for Isthara’s smooth functioning, and women who were qualified for these management positions proved to bring a unique skill set that would aid them in leading their departments. Being an all-inclusive, gender-neutral, equal-pay company, Isthara employs a diverse set of people, who have delivered the highest quality of living standards for our customers. The hiring approach of choosing individuals based on the unique skill set that they can bring has helped Isthara maintain a healthy gender balance within the organization.
A study conducted in 2022 by the Center for Creative Leadership outlined how Fortune 500 companies with a higher representation of women on their boards tend to perform financially better. The same study also showcased how women in leadership roles contribute to better job satisfaction for their employees, and also help decrease burnout.
In India, women from a young age are taught to perform certain tasks within the home. These unique skill sets can be applied in the workplace, making women more efficient leaders in a broader context. For example, women have grown up with the idea of being empathetic and perceptive towards other people’s needs in their homes from a young age, which makes them more receptive towards people and enables them to be strong team players. Women also tend to multitask better, because of which they manage their time better and can perform multiple roles within an organization without being overwhelmed.
A study conducted in 2022 by the Center for Creative Leadership outlined how Fortune 500 companies with a higher representation of women on their boards tend to perform financially better. The same study also showcased how women in leadership roles contribute to better job satisfaction for their employees, and also help decrease burnout. With Isthara employing almost 40 % of women within the organization, the company has been able to foster a healthier work environment, contributing to better outcomes for Isthara on a financial and organizational level.
Need of the hour
For customer-focused businesses especially, the need of the hour is to bring women into the strategic decision-making process, irrespective of experience, as they bring in a diverse set of views and opinions. Isthara also places a special focus on inclusivity and diversity, and showcased support through the establishment of the Anannya property, which provides housing solutions to members of the transgender community. The individuals residing in these properties are provided with vocational training and employment opportunities within Isthara.
As a significant focus is on millennials and young working professionals, we believe that our women employees have enabled us to understand our customers better. Keeping in mind that a lot of women employees might be starting their careers with Isthara, we regularly conduct vocational training and upskilling programs. We also conduct regular sensitivity training programs to ensure that we inculcate a positive and nurturing workspace that is free from any kind of bias, especially since our properties are open to people from different backgrounds, orientations, and genders.
Tips and training to be inclusive
Organizations within the real estate and hospitality industry need to start carrying out programs to support women, and provide them with the necessary training, to be able to carry out the functions within different roles. In addition, organisations within the hospitality and real estate industry should also look to host gender sensitivity training programs and workshops for all its employees to ensure that women have a safe and hospitable environment to work in, away from gender-based discrimination.
In the future, we aim to continue our goal of employing women within leadership positions and also plan to work towards empowering women, mainly through our training and skill development programs, to provide them with the skill sets that they need to progress in their careers.
Author: Krishna Kumar comes with over 25 years of International Hospitality experience holding key positions in the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, and South-West Asia.
Year of Incorporation: 2017
Number of Employees: 1500
Founders: Gilbert James (Managing Director) and Vijayan Krishna Kumar (CEO)
Kripa Lakshmi – Director of Finance
Ligouri Godwin – CTO
Raam Kumar – Executive Director
Business Line: To solve the most basic issues of urban millennials in an effort to pioneer the tech-enabled LivTech segment.
Key HR Factors:
Inclusive work culture
Diverse hiring for people belonging to varied backgrounds
Special DE& I initiatives to encourage greater participation of women and marginalized communities within the real estate and hospitality industry.