Case 1: A housing finance company recently shortlisted a woman for accounts job. However, when the appointment was sent for confirmation to a senior executive, he objected to it strongly. His concern: with cases of sexual harassment at work place cropping up every other day, how can a firm employ any woman?.
Case 2: A 29-year-old woman executive employed with a leading automobile firm in Indore was facing tough time commuting between home and office after delivering a baby three months ago. Her joy knew no bounds when she learnt that her company had offered her an option to choose work time as per her convenience.
The cases of sexual harassment at workplace that have hogged the limelight in recent days seem to have made companies adopt a cautious and ‘careful’ approach towards women both who are employees and those who are seeking jobs.
While HR policies of companies aim to provide women employees a comfortable work environment that helps them maintain balance between work and home, an unwritten rule is also being put into practice by some--- don’t hire women at all and avoid ‘troublesome issues’. The silver lining, however, is most of corporate houses in Indore have started introducing pro-women policies to nurture women staff and workforce diversity.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel (MP&CG) has introduced series of initiatives to help employees balance their responsibilities towards work, family and education. These include: variable hours (select your work hours at least 9), part time working - Can be considered for a minimum duration of three months and maximum of 12 and teleworking - flexibility in working location and hours. The group also holds fitness, de-stressing and social activities for women employees.
“Our women-friendly policies help working mothers maintain a work-life balance and ensure that they don’t have to choose between their family and career. This also helps us retain talent and maintain gender diversity,” said Manoj Garg, Head HR, B2C Market Operations.
Cummins Technologies, which has manufacturing plants at Dewas and Pithampur, provides various maternity leave options which include extended five month leave, work from home, flexible timing, work for few days of week etc for its employees.
To minimise on gender bias, the company offers women an opportunity to work in areas like marketing and manufacturing. “We also provide higher education and training initiatives for women,” said Arun Ramchandran, India Country Business leader Cummins.
Hotel Radisson Blu in Indore too thrives for gender parity at workplace. “In our organisation, the responsibilities, salary and work allotted to women are same as their counterparts. While stressing on safety, we provide every possible facility to women employees like dropping at doorsteps when working at odd times. We have a special committee to resolve all the issues and problems faced by women in our organisation,” said Timson VJ, HR head, Radisson Blu Indore.