The Economic Times: To bridge gender gap, companies going big on innovation
BENGALURU: Going beyond providing material amenities, Indian companies are launching new initiatives to reinforce their commitment to hiring and retaining more women employees.
EY India recently organised six rounds of walk-in interviews for women aspirants across its three offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. This was part of the accounting firm’s efforts to bridge the gender gap at the workplace, a trend that is fast catching on, with companies across sectors striving to increase the proportion of female employees, particularly at the mid level to below manager levels.
Several other companies are similarly organising walk-in interviews for women while PwC has introduced an innovative “retain your rating” policy for high-performing women employees who need to take extended leave.
British retailer Tesco’s India unit, on the other hand, now has a policy not to hold any business meeting (beyond three people) unless there is female representation on every team attending the meeting.
“This will not only mean that teams will give equal opportunity to women colleagues in decision-making but also ensure teams that are currently not inclusive will have to look at changing that as a business imperative,” CEO Sumit Mitra told ET.
According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, From Intention to Impact: Bridging the Diversity Gap in the Workplace, which covered 1,500 employees across 25 large Indian companies, women account for just about 27% of the workforce.
EY India’s human resources head Sandeep Kohli said the company succeeded in hiring 10% of the 3,500 women candidates who turned up for the walk-in interviews, conducted under the larger programme, Recruit Her at EY. Offers are given the same day to the candidates who are selected under this programme.
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, on its part, offers anytime walk-in interviews to women candidates who aspire to be associated with the company.
Gurgaon-headquartered startup PolicyBazaar also expanded its walk-in interview timings from 8am to 8pm following feedback from previous women candidates. “We have found that this works well for many women, especially those who have work from-home jobs or family responsibilities— they can complete those and then come to interview with us,” said Puneet Khurana, HR head at PolicyBazaar.
The company has made a commitment to complete each woman candidate’s interview within two hours and speed up the process of giving offer letters. As a result, it has seen an almost 20% increase in the number of women candidates and nearly 350 women have been hired.
At CashKaro, which currently has a 35% female workforce, co-founder Swati Bhargava said the company has put in place a new strategy to increase the number of women employees by looking specifically at those who want to return to work after a break.
The company has also put in place two teams—customer relations and content—which look specifically at recruiting more women. These teams, which offer more flexible terms to attract women candidates, also go to some women’s colleges in Delhi as part of the drive to bridge the gender gap in the company.