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Diversity and Inclusion: Everybody’s responsibility

Thursday January 13, 2022, By Diversity Digest

Inclusion and diversity is a continuous journey. But what makes the program effective at ANZ Bengaluru is that it’s not just an ‘HR initiative’ but has become the ‘fabric’ of the organization. This has been possible as our employees make it their goal to create a vibrant, diverse and inclusive workforce where the backgrounds, perspectives and life experiences of people help us to forge strong connections. At ANZ Bengaluru we have created groups and networks that help bring the diversity and inclusion agenda to life.

We have Employee Resource Groups that volunteer towards this cause: a network called PRIDE that aims to be a voice, contact point and support mechanism for LGBTIQ+, and a FORWARD Network that champions gender equality, inclusion & recognition based on merit.

We also put on the lenses of diversity & inclusion and apply it to every element of the employee lifecycle – be it Recruitment, Performance Management, Gender Equality reviews, Leadership Training, Executive Coaching, Sponsorship, Promotion, Talent Programs, Succession Planning, and Job Rotation, to call out a few.

Below are some of the ways we foster diversity and inclusion in our workplace: did not help that I ticked all 3 boxes!

Gender balance

At ANZ Bengaluru, we have been successful in driving the gender balance agenda in almost all aspects of the employee life cycle – be it attracting and recruiting women, promoting women in management & leadership roles, well-being, engagement and overall career development and retention and through supportive and inclusive policies, practices and programs.

Our representation of Women in Management (WIM) stands at 28%, a 6% increase over the last 3 years. Of the total women population, more than 30% have more than 5 years tenure and are thriving well in their career, and 40% of total promoted staff are women, a reflection of the work we have done to reduce systemic bias in our promotion processes.

Promoting women and having an equal representation of women and men in our leadership teams is more than just an issue of gender equality – it’s about accessing the talent, markets and economic opportunities that gender equality brings.

To drive this, we’ve put a great deal of focus on our flexibility offerings to encourage women to thrive at work. Flexibility, in fact, is an enabler for all D&I interventions. It is key for people with disabilities, for those from the LGBTIQ+ community, for those having health issues, etc. It is relevant to everyone, at heart.

Seeing the need, we have taken flexibility much further than anyone else in the industry – and we now offer 8 different types of flexibility:

  • Part time (variation to normal working hours, salary, entitlements, pro-rated accordingly)
  • Flexible place (flexible location – working from home, or different office)
  • Informal flexibility (short-term or occasional flexibility arrangements between an employee and line manager: no formal processes involved)
  • Flexible hours (working contracted hours, in a flexible way)
  • Breaks from work (paid and unpaid breaks from work)
  • Our space (encourages collaboration and creation of flexible work environments)
  • Flexible scheduling (offered in those business units that employ rostered staff)
  • Other leave (leave and support provided in special circumstances)

Specifically on gender initiatives, FORWARD is an ANZ staff volunteer network set up in 2018 in Bengaluru to champion gender equality, inclusion and recognition based on merit. It has more than 100 members (both men and women) as of today. The key focus areas are: Well Being, Flexibility, Career Advancement and Upskilling.

A particular group the Forward Network are focusing on are ‘returning mothers’. After becoming mothers, women particularly in India, tend to put their careers on the backburner in order to fulfill their increased responsibilities at home.

Research by the AVTAR Group (Viewpoint 2018, a 360o view on Maternity Management in Corporate India) has proved this. Companies face a high female attrition rate as new mothers come back to careers with a whole new identity. The assumption that the exact same person is returning, is wrong. She comes with the added motherhood responsibilities, being the primary care taker of a young child.

Added to that are the societal expectations, which haven’t changed much for women in India. As per the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 (released by the World Economic Forum), women still tend to perform the majority of unpaid tasks (i.e. housework, household care and other unpaid activities). Of the 29 countries where data is available women spend, on average, twice as much time on these activities than men, in India that rises to five to one!

My keen desire is to work closely with the FORWARD Network and see how we can make a greater connect with the wider community to tackle this bias at the household level, to understand how we can help change society and ease some of the pressures women face at home to fulfill a large chunk of the domestic and child-raising duties. Till we tackle this, we will struggle to achieve the gender balance we seek at the workplace. Hence, this outreach will be our next building block.

Whilst we can’t change society overnight, we can do what’s in our control to better the situation for our returning mothers.

People with Disabilities (PWD)

In the PWD space too, we have endeavoured to make inclusion a part of the fabric of our culture. We run sensitisation workshops for hiring managers so that they are well-prepared to deal with, and care for, our PWD hires, and are equipped to make them feel comfortable with us. We ensure that all their resources – be it laptops, computers, or wheelchairs – are available for use from the day they join us.

We started our PWD journey with 6 people in 2010. Today, we have nearly 100, and we hope to continue to grow these numbers in time by providing even more opportunities and amenities.

Over the last 7-8 years, we have worked hard to build a strong network of people with disabilities, and the recruitment team and hiring managers across our Service Centres regularly connect, to continuously increase hiring in this space.


The PRIDE network was launched in 2017 and is the latest addition to our diversity and inclusion story. Our focus is creating an environment where people feel safe to bring their whole selves to work. We have over 100 members now, and over the past 6 months, we have added 6 PRIDE hires to the ANZ Bengaluru family.

We believe we go far beyond policy and regulation. We truly believe and act. It’s not just modern speak. Launching our PRIDE network even before Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was ruled unconstitutional (with regards to homosexuality) by the Supreme Court of India, is just one example. We did what we felt was the right thing to do.

In summary, inclusion is the cornerstone of our culture. We seek to go beyond standard programs and practices and look at ways to truly bring context, voice and understanding to our employee situations. We know our employees value this; our employee engagement surveys tell us time and again how much: our scores for D&I questions range in the 90s, indicating that we have made significant inroads.

But, whilst we are advanced on the maturity curve, we still have more to do, and until we have gender-balanced work environments where age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, community, nationality – or any other diversity measure for that matter – doesn’t determine one’s outcome at work, we will keep focusing on this.

We’re committed to building a workplace that reflects the communities in which we operate by investing in a diverse and inclusive workforce and providing opportunities to under-represented groups.

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Diversity Digest
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