IPM India drives forward the D&I agenda

IPM India, has seen change in the organisational culture as the leadership team has spearheaded a movement to make the workplace more diversified and inclusive.

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IPM India has seen change in the organisational culture as the leadership team has spearheaded a movement to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive.

Having begun its journey in 2015, with the introduction of gender representative KPIs, the organisation set a goal of reaching 40 per cent representation of each gender by 2022. Adopting a transparency approach, the KPIs are shared with the employees in a bi-monthly town hall. Since 2017, the KPIs have been part of the objectives of the managing director and people and culture head, as well as that of the organisation.

Diverse hiring: Creating a diverse workforce is not a piece of cake and requires a lot of continuous effort, which begins with diverse hiring. To ensure minimal bias and maximum objectivity while hiring, the organisation has been conducting regular sensitisation of its hiring partners and people managers. Deserving profiles are shortlisted in consultation with the managers so that there is no dilution of merit in the selection process.

Behavioural interviewing: Following through with a competency-based behavioural interviewing approach, ensures that the right talent with the right skills is selected. Moreover, to achieve diverse hiring based on merit, an HR team member is involved in the interviewing process ensuring objectivity.

Loma Hosne Ara

In a fast-paced landscape, resilience holds the key to success. Women, often, are able to persevere, adapt and move on from a roadblock in a solution oriented manner

Deepa Mohan, marketing director, IPM India, says, “Personally, I am a firm believer of ‘fair share for fair work’, and meritocracy above all. These are the very values I was brought up with. As a woman leader, I believe it is important we encourage and offer women employees the opportunity and guidance to showcase their talents and harness their full potential. In a male-dominated industry, it is encouraging to see the growing ratio of women leaders.”

Flexibility and support: Once diverse talent have been on-boarded, IPM India supports their career development through various facilities within the organisation. To ensure retention, the Company focusses on providing its women employees with facilities, such as remote work, crèche support, half-day leaves to attend personal emergencies, as well as flexible timings of work.

Alexander Reisch

it is differences & diversity, more than likenesses & similarities, which will continue to stimulate business innovation in order to remain successful

Anushree Lakshminarayanan, manager external affairs, IPM India, states, “I believe it is essential for any organisation to make employees feel valued and empowered, while offering growth opportunities, irrespective of gender, culture or ethnicity. This is important to create a level playing field, especially for women and other minority groups in the long term. However, with diversity gaining momentum, there is cynicism that meritocracy may be under threat. It is important that organisations address this early on in their diversity journey.

Professional development opportunities: Employees are encouraged to develop themselves professionally and grow in their careers within IPM India by allowing them to take up challenging assignments and projects early on, with the required guidance. The organisation also facilitates cross-functional mobility for all those employees who wish to make a function change. Since 2015, about 20 per cent of the workforce has experienced cross-functional movement. Out of these, around 40 per cent cross-functional movements involved women employees.

There are also other initiatives carried out in the organisation, which serve to fulfill the diversity and inclusion goals of the Company. A number of training sessions and workshops are conducted on subjects, such as inclusion and diversity, change agents and tackling unconscious bias.

At IPM India, women have lead various functions, such as HR, marketing, information services, corporate affairs, external communications and brand management.

From left to right: Anushree Lakshminarayanan, Manager External Affairs, Deepa Mohan, Marketing Director and Piyal Banerjee, Head – External Communications.

Loma Hosne Ara, Director-People and Culture, IPM India, says, empathy is a key trait amongst successful women leaders, which is instrumental in building strong relationships with employees, and external stakeholders like business partners and customers. It is a critical skill, acquired over time, requiring patience and emotional intelligence. In a fast-paced landscape, resilience holds the key to success. Women, often, are able to persevere, adapt and move on from a roadblock in a solution oriented manner.”

Piyal Banerjee, head – external communications, IPM India, believes, “We at IPM India, aim to be catalysts of positive winds of change. We not only hire women, but also nurture them to be leaders of the future. Womens’ inclination toward a holistic, self-reflective approach to their careers — valuing factors, such as meaning, purpose, connection with co-workers, work-life integration— makes them stand apart and emerge strong. Our goal is to improve the gender balance of our leadership to reflect our 21st century collective talent and market realities – in creating a more collaborative, empathetic, consumer-centric, and higher performing organisation.”

From 18 per cent in 2015, to 40 per cent by 2022, IPM India continues to drive its diversity agenda. The organisation attributes its success to introducing measurable KPIs to bring about the desired cultural change.

Alexander Reisch, Managing Director, IPM India, concludes “Equal contribution of women and men for deep economic and societal transformation is pivotal. And this target, isn’t just a number on a paper, we are walking the talk. We have a straight forward philosophy at Philip Morris, which flows right from the top, as it does ground up – it is differences & diversity, more than likenesses & similarities, which will continue to stimulate business innovation in order to remain successful. These are exciting, transformational times for the organisation, and I am looking forward to partner with my colleagues in achieving that magic figure of 40% by 2022.