The company realises the extreme importance of women as partners in the organisation’s journey of growth.
Celebrated author, Stephen R. Covey says, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Diversity — which is about uniqueness of gender, thoughts, race, ethnicities and ideas, also sits well only in environments designed to accept these differences. In line with the idea, the home loan and housing finance company, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL), launched a gender diversity drive in mid-May this year, and called it ‘Better Together’.
Any organisation in current times is concerned about its governance and decision-making processes, and more so when it is a male-dominated organisation. A workforce with a poor gender ratio certainly reflects the imbalance in the perspectives, attitudes, work environment and decisions of the business. DHFL realises that it is extremely important to have women as partners in the journey of leading the organisation towards growth.
Talking of christening the diversity-boosting drive as ‘Better Together’, Rajendra Mehta, chief people officer, DHFL says, “The journey of the organisation towards growth, and its aspirations, are better achieved by being together. Hence, while we were deliberating on various other names for the initiative, ‘Better Together’ emerged as the best one. We can associate with it and it spreads the message of the core purpose behind the idea.”
Mehta tells HRKatha that there were two elements behind conceiving ‘Better Together’. First, the organisation realised that the ability to decide from a balanced perspective comes only when there’s a combination of ideas, from both men and women in the workplace. This is because, they bring in differences of thought that make the decision-making process more mature and creative. Second, the organisation was concerned about its governance in terms of having more women across levels and locations.
‘Having a balanced team also improves customer-centricity for a business,” says Mehta. In addition, it also enhances the employer brand statement for an organisation. Having said that, in order to encourage diversity, DHFL has a few significant initiatives under the ‘Better Together’ campaign – one of which is a strong separate referral policy for women candidates.
It is a platform, where employees can refer women candidates for various skills and positions, irrespective of the positions available. That adds to the talent pool, such that recruiters at DHFL have a ready pool of women candidates as and when a vacancy occurs. About 150 women have been referred so far, in a short span of a month and a half. Out of these, five have been hired for different roles. The employees who refer a woman candidate, on the other hand, enjoy monetary benefits if their respective candidates are hired.
With an aim to provide a conducive work environment for women, DHFL has nominated a few BT Champs across various locations, who help support the initiative with deeper insights into the specific requirements.
This ensures internal hygiene and inclusive attitude at the workplace. That is not all—the company organises sensitisation sessions for managers to be able to deal better with their women colleagues.Mehta shares that all the remaining referred candidates are also under consideration as it is an on-going initiative. In addition, the company has mandated its hiring teams to have at least one woman candidate amongst those shortlisted for any position being hired for.
With an aim to provide a conducive work environment for women, DHFL has nominated a few BT Champs across various locations, who help support the initiative with deeper insights into the specific requirements. This ensures internal hygiene and inclusive attitude at the workplace. That is not all—the company organises sensitisation sessions for managers to be able to deal better with their women colleagues.
To celebrate and further empower its talented woman staff, DHFL has another unique initiative under the ‘Better Together’ campaign—RACE. Short for Recognising and Celebrating Excellence, it is a programme that aims to reward employees, who deliver exceptional results. It has a separate award for women achievers. A quarterly initiative that converges into an annual award programme, DHFL will organise the first RACE programme across various locations, on July 21.
Furthermore, DHFL has 351 branches across the nation and is well cognizant of the challenges in getting women into front-end roles in smaller towns. Hence, it focusses on encouraging and celebrating women talent from such locations, for which it even invites their families, parents and spouses to the office during RACE, to let them experience the work culture. For instance, Mehta shares that they have a star woman employee in Dehradun, who crossed the highest revenue ever achieved across locations. The company celebrated her achievement by acknowledging it and sharing it with the entire workforce, and inviting her family and felicitating them.
With a total headcount of 7,200, the current male female ratio at DHFL is 91:9, and Mehta says that their target is to take it to 80:20 in the 2017–18 fiscal and then to 60:40 by the next fiscal. With ‘Better Together’ in place, it seems the organisation may soon be able to achieve its target.