How Volvo India’s ‘ExcelHer’ initiative gives women professionals a second chance

The programme allows women professionals who have been on a career break, to restart their careers

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Global automobile manufacturer, Volvo, in a bid to further its diversity and inclusion agenda in India, has announced an initiative to include women restarting their careers in its workforce.

With the second batch of the ExcelHer initiative, Volvo India has included 33 women as interns, who will work with the Company in the upcoming nine months.

This is the second batch of women employed by Volvo who are making a professional comeback after a significant gap. The first batch, which will conclude by the end of November, saw 26 women with a career gap of more than a year, work as interns at Volvo. The second batch comprises 33 women who have been taken on by the Company.

Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo India, tells HRKatha while discussing the idea behind the initiative, “Women who have to leave their professional lives, for whatever reason, find it difficult to re-enter their field of work after a period of time. It is hard for them to get a break. However, they constitute a talent pool that is hardly tapped.”

He elaborates that these women would be working in all the areas that Volvo is functioning in. Roles for them range from tech and manufacturing to human resources, among others.

“Women part of this programme will serve as a ready talent pool for whatever full-time vacancies that we have after the nine-month period. However, they would be skilled enough to take on roles in the industry, whether with Volvo or beyond”

Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo India

During the nine-month internship period, the women are trained in multiple facets in order to ensure that they are ready to take on full-time roles in the future. Sharma says that they are reskilled in current technological trends, imparted a structured training to enhance soft skills and also assigned mentors to help them understand the working of the organisation better.

Further, leadership connect programmes throughout the training period help inculcate a sense of confidence in these women who are eager to make a professional comeback.

The fact that Volvo India’s leadership is highly committed to the programme is clearly demonstrated by the presence of its managing director and other country management team members to welcome them on their first day. Sharma tells us that women with a career gap of as much as 10 years are a part of the second batch of ExcelHer.

“With the continuous process of upskilling and reskilling for these women, we can safely say that they will be ready to take on any assignment in the industry in their respective fields,” declares Sharma confidently.

Regarding full-time employment for these women with Volvo, Sharma says,” They serve as a ready talent pool for whatever full-time vacancies that we have after the nine-month period. However, they would be skilled enough to take on roles in the industry, whether with Volvo or beyond.”

In a bid to eliminate any questions pertaining to pay disparity, Volvo India offers these interns remuneration at par with what employees working in similar skills are paid.

Regarding the recruitment process, Sharma says that the key component for engaging with potential talent for this initiative has been social media. Specific posts targeting this particular talent pool were created. Further, they also interacted with candidates referred by Volvo employees themselves. The Company also tied up with specific women-hiring agencies to tap talent.

In order to gauge the progress of the interns in terms of learning, Volvo conducts quarterly engagement checks with their managers as well as the interns themselves. Sharma explains that the engagement score for the first batch has been around 90 per cent till now. He is optimistic about the latest batch also faring well.

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