January 4, 2018 — Below is a blog from our Catalyst CEO Champions For Change storytelling series, "Spotlight Stories." Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing these stories to show what’s working at Catalyst Champion companies that help to advance women into leadership.
Genpact President and CEO NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan firmly believes a couple of things when it comes to gender diversity in a corporate setting. First, that diversity is a “secret sauce” in terms of adding value at all levels of an organization, and second, that it is the responsibility of a company’s senior leaders to champion diversity efforts. At Genpact, Tyagarajan has done just that, driving a suite of progressive practices and programs with the goal of achieving gender diversity, which Genpact defines simply as a workforce of 50% women. The company’s flagship program, Career 2.0—focused on recruiting and retaining mid-level women who have taken a career break—is among the most innovative. On being a champion for gender diversity, Tyagarajan had this to say:
At Genpact, our data shows that business verticals with more than 10% women in leadership roles grew significantly faster than those with the least women. On talent retention, vertical businesses with a higher percentage of women in leadership roles did a better job of retaining other women compared to businesses with fewer women. Diversity is connected positively with innovation, and an increase in women has been linked to a group’s effectiveness in solving difficult problems. It is for these reasons and many more that we drive gender diversity as a business-critical mission.
While Genpact has made progress in its operations globally—three out of 11 members of the board (27%) are women, 39% of the total workforce is composed of women, and representation of women at the entry level is a strong 46%—the issue is that those figures drop substantially at some of the most critical career levels. Women hold only 26% of mid-level management roles, and just 18% of positions at the executive level. Thus in 2015, Career 2.0 was born out of the company’s desire to reinforce the pipeline at these important leadership junctures by tapping into an often-overlooked group: former career women in the midst of a leave from the corporate world.
Through their research, Genpact learned that a large number of experienced and high-potential women take mid-career breaks for a variety of reasons—whether to spend time with children, start their own ventures, or because a previous employer didn’t allow the flexibility they needed to balance work and life—but regardless of why they left, they frequently wish to return to the workforce down the line, a move that can be daunting for candidates and employers alike. Genpact Career 2.0 focuses on recruiting and re-employing these women, providing a strong organizational support system and the flexibility required to successfully contribute to personal and professional goals. Piyush Mehta, SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, had this to say about the process:
In the course of talking to women who have made, or are attempting to make, a career comeback, we've realized that we have to be sensitive and tread carefully, because each woman has a set of requirements and constraints that are unique to her and that need to be addressed. They ask questions and raise concerns that may not apply during the standard hiring process—and we need to be finely tuned in to what those are.
The impact of Career 2.0’s global launch, following a highly successful pilot in India, far exceeded the company’s expectations. The campaign, which runs solely on social media, caused a significant spike in social engagement, created a sharp increase in job applications, and, most critically, resulted in a sizeable crop of new hires. In all, 82 women have been hired through the program since its inception. The Career 2.0 program leads report that the effort has also generated another highly valuable result: tremendous positive sentiment, which has served to raise brand awareness and strengthen Genpact’s position as an organization deeply committed to gender diversity.
Many of Genpact Career 2.0’s staunchest advocates have been the program’s own alumnae. Ruchira Bhatia, Vice President, Lean Digital Transformation Team, is one of those advocates. Bhatia took a five-year break from the corporate world to start and grow her own successful e-commerce venture. Shortly after becoming a new mother, she opted to make a comeback with Genpact through Career 2.0. About the program, Bhatia says:
Just to know that Genpact was so forward-thinking that they would actually help create a role for me was a novel idea, and it helped build my confidence. Career 2.0 worked so well for me because it didn't put me on the defensive, it allowed me to be open about my constraints and it gave me the flexibility I needed to perform to the best of my ability.
Of course, Career 2.0 is just one of the programs Genpact has in place to help women thrive over the course of their careers. The company has a robust “Returning Moms” program, including flexible hours, work-from-home options, “stork” parking, and daycare assistance. The company is also working to give the next generation of women leaders a leg up through classes and mentorship programs at Genpact’s Centre for Women’s Leadership at Ashoka University in India. And Genpact’s leadership team has widely implemented unconscious bias training throughout the organization so that men and women alike have a better sense of the underlying prejudices that impede productivity and teamwork.
Shalu Manan, VP of Capability Development at Genpact, has this to say about being a woman at such a progressive company:
Genpact gives you the flexibility to play all the roles in your life and in your work, with equal importance. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, you need to bring your best, and it will be only merit that determines how far you can go.
For Tyagarajan and Genpact, gender diversity is clearly not just a “check the box” activity. The company sees achieving a diverse workforce as critical to its overall success, and has invested time, resources, and careful consideration in order to achieve that goal. In so doing, Genpact has also helped elevate the careers of talented women around the world—including some who previously saw opting-out as their best choice.