Four Companies Score for Gender Inclusion: Aon Hewitt-CII Report

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Aon Hewitt Consulting, along with the Confederation of Indian Industry has released the findings of their gender diversity report and the good news is four companies score ahead.

After surveying around 100 companies, the report highlights four companies (Citibank, Praxair, Proctor and Gamble, and Metro Shoes) which have taken the most measures to improve gender diversity at the workplace.

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The HR heads of these four companies spoke about their practices at the CII conference.

Kripa Krishnamoorthy of Citibank said Citi has a business case for gender inclusion as ‘Diversity is a way of life’ for the company. She said that globally, the percentage of women who work at Citi is 52 per cent.

She said the company has taken a lot of initiatives at all levels of management to ensure that women returning from maternity leave and sabbaticals are at par with other employees. One of the ways they do this is to rate women returning to work on their previous work cycle.

Sonal Roychowdhury claimed that P&G also had a business case for hiring more women, especially because many of the company’s products are targeted at women. The company routinely holds gender diversity conferences, to which men are also invited, and holds events to facilitate networking. An interesting program they run is the ‘Unconscious Bias Training’ for senior managers.

They also include diversity and inclusion issues in their individual and manager training programs.

The case of Metro Shoes is interesting. Sonal Jivangikar, HR, said that though most retail stores have men servicing them, women are the key shoppers. Over the past few years, Jivangikar has tried to break preset notions and hire more women in retail stores, especially for roles in inventory management and cashier services, which may be comfortable for women to take on. Metro has also been hiring more women at the entry and mid level roles.

Praxair is an oil and gas company, and consequently has a harder time retaining and attracting women talent than a consumer company, said its HR head. To that end it has started a Creative Diversity Network, a forum for women.

Here are some other key findings of the report:

  1. 25 per cent of managers are not trained to address gender diversity issues
  2. 50 per cent organisations have on-boarding processes that formally address needs of female employees
  3. Average attrition rate of women employees at all levels is 12 per cent.
  4. 7 per cent of female employees return to work after a career break
  5. Succession pool comprises only 1.3 per cent women at the leadership level

The report says that there is a real business case for gender diversity, and one of the ways to enable women is to provide them with early exposure to the front line and other critical roles, so that they are better prepared for different roles even after a break.