Fostering Growth: Advancing Gender Diversity at the Core of Our Inclusive Vision

Mehernosh Mehta, Over two decades in the HR function, he is an industry veteran and influencer all geared to mark a difference through translating visions, and strategies into actionable and value-added goals. With a vast experience in multiple industry verticals from the consumer, to pharmaceutical, logistics to engineering, he has worked with brands like Asian Paints, Sanofi, Tata Group, and Mahindra Logistics.

In conversation with Charulatha, Correspondent, Silicon- india Magazine. Mehernosh discussed the impact of gender diversity initiatives on company performance and culture, highlighting widespread support for women's professional growth.

According to you, how has the gender diversity initiative impacted the company's overall performance and culture? What steps has the company taken to promote diversity and inclusion beyond this program?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has emerged as the crucial element for growth across industries and the logistics and supply chain industry is no exception to that. A shift in perspective regarding how we boost women’s participation in the logistics workforce will act as a force multiplier. At All cargo Group diversity is our strength. We endeavour to achieve levels of gender diversity even in our other group companies.

Gati, an All cargo group company, has set up a policy framework and conducive work environment to offer women professionals confidence as well as equal opportunities and career growth avenues. Increasing the percentage of women working in our group is at the core of our vision of diversity and inclusion.

At Gati, the gender diversity initiative has led to higher productivity, improved innovation, attracting top talent, creating a positive culture and employer brand. Gati has also introduced all-women shifts at its 13 facilities across the country to encourage more women professionals to join the workforce. Gati's women referral program is another key initiative that encourages a better gender diversity ratio by benefitting women who refer other women to the organization.

How do we measure the effectiveness of the gender diversity initiative and the Business Development Executive Trainee Program?
Gender diversity initiatives must be measured to determine their impact, opportunities for improvement, and alignment with our organization's goals and values. Clearly defined goals help evaluate a gender diversity project. Assess gender demographics, wage equity, turnover, and promotion rates. Monitoring gender diversity at all levels ensures fair compensation for equal labour. Gati's D&I Council (composed of chiefs/Functional Heads from all functions) reviews the progress on Gender diversity ratio and initiatives every quarter, where new projects, obstacles, and the route forward are monitored and debated. Zones/CO, Levels, and Roles are examined for gender disparity metrics.

Women who wish to advance their career in sales can take advantage of the BDET (Business Development Executive Trainee) programme. Under the watchful eye of Managers, BDETs undergo a comprehensive 90-day training programme in Sales, Operations, and Customer Service. After an initial 90-day training period, BDETs are placed in sales roles catering to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) or retail customers.

Promoting women's professional progression in the organisation requires equal remuneration and addressing leadership gender gaps

How does a firm ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce, particularly in terms of hiring candidates from Tier II and III cities?
Several tactics might help a company hire diverse and inclusive individuals from Tier II and III cities. First, they should aggressively encourage diversity and inclusion in their organisational culture to make all employees feel valued. Second, the company should remove prejudices from job descriptions and ensure diverse interview panels. Thirdly, they can work with Tier II and III educational institutions and community organisations to find and engage talented applicants. Remote employment and flexible work arrangements can also attract applicants from these regions, bridging geographical disparities. Finally, diversity and inclusion training and data analytics are necessary to sustain and improve diversity efforts.

How does the firm promote a work environment that fosters diversity and inclusion? What measures are taken to ensure that the Business Development Executive Program remains inclusive and supportive for all participants?
At Gati, we want everyone to feel valued, respected, and heard at work. We hire diversely to ensure a rich tapestry of backgrounds, experiences, and opinions. We encourage open communication and unconscious bias training to foster an inclusive workplace where employees can freely express their opinions. We built our main learning and development initiative under NEEV. NEEV encourages inclusive participation from all Gati employees, business associates, and handlers PAN India. Every month, unit-wise representatives from different functions meet to discuss and implement ideas on productivity, process, cost savings, L&D, employee engagement, infrastructure, and hygiene. NEEV allows our employees to display their talents and make system adjustments, allowing them to participate in realtime decision making.

In what ways does most of the organization encourage and support the professional growth and development of women within the organization?
Most companies assist women's professional development through various programmes. They regularly connect female staff with senior supervisors for mentorship. Companies also offer job training and leadership development for women. Work-life balance is often accomplished through flexible work arrangements, including remote work. Organisations can also create diversity and inclusion committees to represent women and promote gender equality. Promoting women's professional progression in the organisation requires equal remuneration and addressing leadership gender gaps. Also at Gati we conduct a Women’s Safety training program which is conducted by an external agency. We ensure that our organisation is a safer workplace for all our employees and workers.

How does the Business Development Executive Program align with the company's broader commitment to diversity and inclusion?
To reach the Organization's desired gender diversity ratio, the All Women BDET programme plays a crucial role. In other words, it's a place where women may go to advance their sales careers. Under the watchful eye of Managers, BDETs undergo a comprehensive 90-day training programme in Sales, Operations, and Customer Service. The creation of BDET would empower women to make their own decisions about their careers, and the shift in thinking about how Gati might increase women's participation in the logistics sector would have a multiplier effect on the value offered to employers.