Friday, June 10, 2016  

MUMBAI: Zensar Technologies is looking to double the proportion of women in middle management and above to 50% in four years. The digital solutions and technology services company aims to ensure balanced representation of men and women in decision-making roles. Zensar has more than 8,300 employees. 
 
The company's diversity thrust includes attracting diverse talent right at recruitment, both from campuses and lateral hiring, incentives to search consultants for identifying high-potential women candidates, flexible hours, work-from-home policy and time-off scheme. 
 
"We deal with customers who develop products for end consumers, a large section of which is women and, hence, there is a pure business case to have a balanced representation of men and women," said Prameela Kalive, executive vice-president, Zensar Technologies. 
 
The company's women executive board (WEB) is focused on identifying and raising women leaders from within existing associates. The WEB drives organisational initiatives for attracting diverse women talent and nurturing their growth at every step of their respective careers. It is composed of female and male representatives from various functions and geographies. Kalive said Zensar is in the process of identifying 200-300 female executives in the company who can be potential leaders and part of the management committee.
 
"We will invest in mentoring these women, get industry leaders to mentor them to help them play to their strength," said Kalive. "We are also working with our learning and development team to design an in-house LDP for women, because there are areas such as networking, business leadership, etc., where women need specific inputs," she said. These initiatives are a part of the company's 'Vision 2020' programme. 
 
Saundarya Rajesh, president at Avtar Career Creators & Flexi Careers India, said, "It is only when organisations grow women from within that you have true inclusion happening." At Zensar, women make up 50% of the staff at the entry level. The company plans to increase it to 60% this fiscal. 
 
In the middle-management level and above, women account for 29% of the workforce, which Zensar plans to increase to 50% by 2020. The company has 13% women at the vice-president level and 10% at the top-management level. "There is a big difference I am seeing in the attitude and approach of organisations in India towards gender inclusion. 
 
They are becoming very generous, long-term and strategic," said Saundarya. Three-four years ago, most companies focused on tactical and short-term aspects of gender inclusion, such as celebrating women's day, etc., but off late organisations are becoming more long term and strategic in their gender diversity drives. 
 
Zensar offers paid maternity leave of three months with the option of extending it by up to another 12 months under a time-off scheme without pay. It offers in-house managed daycare centre for workers with children in the age group from 4 months to 10 years. 
 
The company is also benchmarking its diversity strategies with the global best. It is partnering with audit firms to do a gender audit so that a third party can assess the existing growth opportunities for women, pay parity, etc., and identify the blind spots. 
 
"While all diversity dimensions are important, it is increasingly being recognised that women do bring substantive diversity to the organisation in terms of skill sets and experiences, in turn bringing in differential styles of leadership," said Kalive. "Our gender diversity strategy aims to deliver balanced leadership through balanced gender distribution across all levels," she said. 
 
In the last few years, the company claims to have moved mid-level women managers' retention from 88.5% to 94%, reduced voluntary attrition of women from 17 % to 10%, increased percentage of women returning from maternity leave from 85% to 100%, increased percentage of women at entry level from 33% to 50%, developed women leaders and increased the number of women function heads from 5 to 16.
 

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