Determined to Drive, Diversity & Inclusion at HCCB
The more diverse the group, the higher the probability of getting things right – is an agenda that HCCB has been driving. From building a factory at Sananda, which employs 40% women to employing the world’s first lady operator of the Plasmax (a state-of-the-art) machine, HCCB has come a long way. The focus now is on minimising the unconscious biases or prejudices that sometime creep in.
On International Women’s Day, Poornima Kamath, Chief Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Officer, shares her thoughts on different dimensions of D&I efforts at HCCB.
1) On the meaning and definition of Diversity & Inclusion at HCCB
Diversity and Inclusion are clearly two separate but interrelated things. While diversity is aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented groups across gender, age, religion, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, and abilities, our efforts in the arena of inclusion are to ensure that people irrespective of their background bring their ideas to the table. Working with diverse people helps promote creativity, faster decision making and innovative problem-solving. The key, however, is to allow them to be themselves and ensure everyone gets a fair go.
2) On Diversity & Inclusion goals
Our goal is to create a conducive environment for all forms of diversity at the workplace. The focus, is on shifting mindsets, building holistic infrastructure and improving the employer brand from Diversity and Inclusion standpoint. In other words, our endeavour is to make Diversity & Inclusion a way of life at HCCB.
3) On the key hiring decisions that HCCB has taken in this regard
To begin with, we have started creating JDs which are gender-neutral. As a next step, we have mandated diverse interview panels comprising members from different functions including the ones from the underrepresented groups. This is an effort to deepen our commitment to respect differing views and opinions - a great signal to candidates that we value diversity. With the help of leaders at different levels in the organisation, we have started training managers on diverse hiring. Besides, we are building programs that will help us provide the right experience to people in different phases of employee life-cycle such as attracting talents, smooth onboarding, building community, talent mapping and supporting career growth. Building on our initial success, we are exploring the option of blind hiring to further deepen our commitment to the cause.
4) On the priority areas for Diversity & Inclusion
At HCCB, our current priority is to further improve women representation in our workforce. The gender balance, we believe, will inspire confidence among our leaders to continue with the D&I journey. In addition to this, we are making efforts to broaden the spectrum of diversity by way of strengthening our D&I capability among senior leaders and managers at all levels so that they can role model desired behaviours and facilitate requisite decision-making.
5) On the key D&I programmes and policies
In our effort to improve our gender balance at the workplace, we have recently added 3 more initiatives to our existing programmes - ‘Maternity Support Programme for both Men and Women Employees’, ‘Back to Work Programme for Women’ and ‘Women's Network’ to commemorate the women’s day. Besides, we have started a mentorship programme for women to help them address specific issues that they face on the personal and professional front. Expanding the scope of our D&I initiatives, we also plan to carry out an Accessibility Audit to ensure we have an accessible friendly infrastructure. We also provide career development offerings for diverse talent and plan to expand the focus on diversity dimensions that are unique to the business. Not leaving the matter of such critical importance to chance, we have started training managers on inclusive hiring to tap diverse talent pool for the organization. Our approach, however, is to create a workplace where everyone is valued and has an opportunity to reach his/ her full potential.
6) On whether D&I initiatives are the sole responsibility of HR
I am happy to say that Diversity & Inclusion is no longer an HR driven initiative at HCCB. It’s a business-driven agenda which is jointly shared by leaders across all levels. Majority of the D&I programmes are led and executed by a strong D&I council with an equal representation of men and women and business groups within the organisation.