Gender diversity is crucial for any workplace, and India Inc has stepped up in recent years to how well it has worked for economies across the world. Not only is diverse workforce a praiseworthy move for any organisation, but it also makes perfect bottom-line business sense for a company.
Men and women have different approaches, viewpoints, ideas and market insights that they bring to the table, which enable better problem solving and innovation in the workplace. We have recently seen many organisations appointing women in leadership roles. This trend is bound to take center stage over the coming years to hire and retain woman across various levels, in order to promote gender inclusivity.
A report by the McKinsey Global Institute titled “The Power of Parity” notes that pushing for women’s equality in the workplace can bump up global business growth by a whopping $12 trillion. The report also states that India has a larger relative economic value at stake from advancing equality than any of the 10 regions analysed in the study.
The government has been and continues to roll out woman friendly policies and initiatives, which are empowering them with financial, technological and infrastructural support, helping them actively contribute to the country’s economy.
Around 50 per cent of the current potential workforce is female. No institute can hope to become globally competitive by ignoring such a sizeable number. As per a report by PWC, 83 per cent of women want to have careers with businesses that demonstrate strong records of diversity and equality. An inclusive workforce adds employee satisfaction levels, thereby increasing performance and work efficiency. Mainstreaming gender diversity in people-led processes can help an organisation to grow, innovate and progress.
Many companies are actively training and grooming women in order to build a talent pipeline for the future.
A diverse and gender neutral workforce goes a long way in making an organisation innovative, supple, flexible and attuned to the needs of the customer. Reputation, overall productivity and employee satisfaction index shoots up, which in turn helps to scale up its bottom line and revenue. Many companies, mostly in the IT and the BPO sector, have put in place strategic policies regarding flexible working arrangements for women. India Inc now views them as a significant, hitherto untapped economic growth engine, and rightfully so.
Mindtree, which showcases a 30 per cent female workforce, avers that women who return to work after a break bring more expertise to the table, owing to their experience and knowledge. They can also tackle a crisis situation better, when compared to a fresh grad. They also multitask easily, and can adjust faster to a new environment.
Woman have proved themselves time and again in their superior levels of loyalty and commitment, soft skills of punctuality, flexibility and good communication better than their male counterparts, naturally seeking affinity, common ground and consensus. Studies have also rated woman leaders higher in areas such as energising, designing and aligning, outside orientation, and tenacity.
Companies with more women on their board of directors performed better than companies with less number of women on three fronts like return on equity, sales and invested capital. Women directors also impact the recruitment in entry level and middle management roles, a key need in organisations today. Gender equal teams perform better than male-dominated teams. Performance peaks when the team is 55 per cent female.
The study also revealed that women score more in the domains of taking initiative, self-development, integrity and honesty, and driven by results. Several global case studies prove how corporate India would benefit exponentially from hiring women at all levels. Already in India, several companies are augmenting their employee mix and hiring women in key roles to improve their bottom line.
(The writer is co-founder and chief excutive officer of the Jobsforher)