When Mindtree's VP and Travel, Transportation & Hospitality Industry Group Head, Joelle Smith, received the 2016 “Women Worth Watching” award by Profiles in Diversity Journal, EE Times India called on the India operations to find out how well Mindtree promotes equal opportunity in India.
The following is from an email Q&A with Chitra Byregowda, Head of Sustainability & Diversity–another woman leading a group at Mindtree.
What is the proportion of women vs. men working as engineers in Mindtree’s India offices? Byregowda: Gender diversity and inclusivity initiatives at Mindtree are committed towards building a sustainable and growing social business network which mentors women leaders, enables a culture of environmental sensitivity, contributes towards business growth and overall development of the society.
Of our entire talent pool, 30% of engineers based out of India are women. Also we have 52% of women in the recent batch of freshers that we’ve hired. We are also proud to see a 100% of women returning to work after maternity leave. 82% are still engaged with us even after a year.
Does your company undertake any recruitment or CSR programs to encourage women taking up engineering as a career? Byregowda: Deepening our agenda for gender diversity is an important part of our future plans. We want to push the overall gender ratio at our workplace up from the current level and improve it across the lifecycle of a woman’s career and we have a combination of policies, benefits and support systems that play an important role in retaining women employees.
Policies support women in technology
Byregowda also outlined certain policies and benefits that help in encouraging gender diversity:
Flexi work, part-time work, work-from-home and compensatory offs. The options Mindtree offers are a step to bring about better balance between work and life.
Special Needs leave of 365 days without pay. This leave can be used after a minimum tenure of one year, in a block period of six years and needs to be used for a minimum duration of 90 calendar days.
Rehiring former Lady Minds. Byregowda said this has been successful in bringing back female talent. "26% of our re-joiners are women. We also conduct a by-invite talent acquisition event to get women on break into the Mindtree world," she added.
Back to Work. This is a campaign that targets women who have taken a break from work to raise a child or care for ageing family members. The company offers support mechanisms, such as child care crèches, Baby’s Day Out facility and ensuring safety and security during transport. New mothers can also avail the option of reduced work hours, half day/half work week.
Giving Incentives for Women Employee Referrals. The payout under the employee referral program gives an additional 50% referral bonus to referrers of successful women joiners. According to Byregowda, they also announced increased vendor fees for women talent acquisition.
Leadership Initiative. The company conducts benchmarking studies on gender diversity and uses the analysis to shape interventions and programmes. Byregowda said that special emphasis is placed on the mid-rungs for developing women talent upwards with exclusive leadership programmes that include mentoring and coaching components. "For this we have launched Exuberance, an exclusive women leadership development journey, to strengthen the movement of our women leaders from middle to senior levels," she added.