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Being the best: Five Signature traits of a Best Company

Ria is a quintessential Indian Woman Professional (IWP). At 29, Ria, a new mom is a Team lead with a Tech Consultancy major. It was a month back that she joined after her maternity leave. Her company has a well-structured phase-back programme, during which her schedule stays flexible. As Ria was welcomed back to work, she was also connected to Jessy – her buddy mother (who is a high-pot woman from another team, who also happened to have managed her maternity return very effectively, two years back.). In this short span of time, Jessy has become a close confidante for Ria – motherhood has indeed forged a strong bond between them! Ria is working on the certification plan her manager has given her for the next six months. With their next project roll being four months away, Ria vows to invest her best efforts in this up-skilling plan.

Ria is a quintessential Indian Woman Professional (IWP). At 29, Ria, a new mom is a Team lead with a Tech Consultancy major. It was a month back that she joined after her maternity leave. Her company has a well-structured phase-back programme, during which her schedule stays flexible. As Ria was welcomed back to work, she was also connected to Jessy – her buddy mother (who is a high-pot woman from another team, who also happened to have managed her maternity return very effectively, two years back.). In this short span of time, Jessy has become a close confidante for Ria – motherhood has indeed forged a strong bond between them! Ria is working on the certification plan her manager has given her for the next six months. With their next project roll being four months away, Ria vows to invest her best efforts in this up-skilling plan.

This brings us to a bigger question - are there organizational traits that are characteristic of a Best Company? What do they do differently to be the ‘Best’? In our observations of the several diversity-intent companies that were part of the 100 Best Listing over the years, these are the five signature traits of a Best Company. To list:

1. Leadership conviction on D&I

The Diversity & Inclusion commitment at every best company has strong leadership conviction backing it. The socio-economic-business case for having a diverse employee base and an inclusive work culture, has strong buy-in amongst leaders across verticals, across functions.

2. Shared ownership & accountability of the D&I agenda

At a Best Company, ownership of the D&I agenda is not limited to a team or a council. While the D&I initiatives might be spearheaded by one such team or council, D&I commitment is part of the organizational DNA. Inclusive behaviour is the norm, not merely an expectation.

3. Male Ally Culture

Women continue to be under-represented across the talent pipeline in organizations. Giving this workplace reality its due, best companies have a very strong male ally culture. Men are an integral part of diversity strategy conversations and there are several male advocates who champion the cause of gender inclusion mentoring & sponsoring women’s rise to leadership.

4. Innovative solutions for Inclusion

We saw how a structured phase-back program that offered personalised hand holding for maternity returners was a best practice at a 100 Best company. For the record, the maternity retention rate (the rate at which women employees joined back work after company provided maternity leave) was 88% at the 100 Best Companies in 2018. This is huge considering that India’s biggest female talent drain happens at the altar of motherhood. There are several such innovative practices at a Best Company that makes its journey towards gender balance purposeful.

5. D&I Discipline

Initiatives aimed at improving diversity & ensuring inclusion are not carried out in isolation in Best Companies. There is strong organizational discipline associated with them and they are part of a larger, strategic D&I blue-print. Implementation is monitored, utilization is tracked, gender gaps are understood and managed!

This year the best companies study expands its canvas even further. Working Mother & Avtar, under the BCWI umbrella launch the ‘Most Inclusive Companies in India’ (MICI) study for the very time in 2019. MICI will look deeper into the inclusion commitment of a company through the lens of several strands of diversity like People with disabilities (PwD), LGBTQ, culture and generation. This study will help companies gauge the effectiveness of their overall inclusion efforts. And like BCWI, MICI will help Corporate India identify, share, showcase & celebrate the most innovative solutions on inclusion! Together let us calibrate our organizational balances for a better future!

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Editorial Team.

Editor:

Dr. Saundarya Rajesh

Associate Editor:

Rashmi T R

Editorial Board:

Karthik Ekambaram, Nisha
Chandran, Anju Rakesh.

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