On International Women’s Day, recognizing the importance of maternity policies and facilities to help mothers return to work, IT industry body, The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) launched a report titled ‘Facilitating Returnships: Providing Infrastructure to Returning Mothers’, in partnership with MERCER, a human resources consulting firm, to showcase the IT-BPM industry’s readiness to support new mothers who want to return to their careers, focusing on the impact of child care provision at the workplace.
“We often see women employees leaving after the birth of a child due to lack of a supportive environment, where balancing professional development and childcare becomes strenuous. With this report, we aim to analyze and address the drivers of female participation, that should be used to maximize the engagement and productivity of all diverse segments of workforce,” said Ashok Pamidi, Sr. director, diversity & inclusion initiatives, NASSCOM.
The report was curated based on a survey and discussions with 100+ companies who have child care practices; according to the findings, organisations in the sector are striving to provide a conducive environment to returning mothers, either through extending maternity benefit leave, onsite crèches or shared services facilities and flexi timings. The report also states that the industry is already trying to offer maternity leave benefit which are much above the Indian Statutory requirements of 12 weeks, showcasing that companies are more proactive in parental support by not waiting for the act to change.
Further the report states that, significant research has been done over the past two decades linking higher female representation in the workplace with a variety of business performance measures, including better financial performance; higher return on sales, equity and invested capital; higher operating results and better stock growth. Underutilization of female talent is a critical business issue and research reveals that organizations with diverse management teams make better decisions, as they are less prone to “group think” and able to see issues from many angles.
To ensure more representation from the women in the workforce, the report highlights 6 action points for companies to focus on:
Passionate Leadership: Organizations with leaders who are actively engaged in D&I have more women at the top, and they hire, promote, and retain women at higher rates relative to men.
Personal Commitment: Organizations where men are actively driving D&I efforts have made more progress on improving gender diversity than those where men are not engaged.
Perseverance: Organizations should focus on systematic, supporting practices to build the female talent pipeline that will sustain gender equality in long term rather than just acquiring diverse talent at top
Proof: Leave and Flexibility programs can either help or hurt gender diversity, depending on who uses them and how well they are managed. Women also thrive when their unique competencies are leveraged in high Business impact roles.
Processes: Women thrive when there is diligent Pay equity process built on a robust statistical approach and regular focus on equity in performance evaluation and advancement opportunity.
Programs: Female representation increases when organizations understand and support women’s unique health needs.
“We believe that it is the need of the hour and bring back some of the best employees who otherwise choose to stay at home due to personal commitments,” said Mansee Singhal, principal, talent, Mercer.
Global studies indicate that corporations with at least 10% women on boards have 2.5%-5% higher returns on equity; firms where women are at least 30% of C-Suite have 15% higher profitability than others; and gender diverse teams perform significantly better than more homogenous teams.
The report observes that those making the greatest strides not only possess a belief in equality, but also recognize the complete value diversity brings to their organizations – from driving growth and shareholder value to catalyzing innovation; supporting employee engagement & retention, and also enhancing their connection with diverse customers and suppliers.