Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not just nurturing...rooting for gender diversity!!

A couple of weeks back a young and upcoming leader at the mid management level in my organization did something that most people would probably hesitate doing – she wrote to the CEO, myself and a group of senior leaders in the company about a personal experience very close to her heart.

Her note referred to International Women’s Day and started off talking about all the media hype around the event, which tends to focus on the position of women today, workplace issues etc. …. with an underlying tone of the need for being treated equal. Probably like most of the others marked on the mail, I assumed this was either a congratulatory note to to applaud our gender diversity efforts or she was suggesting new ways to beef it up further.

But the note wasn’t about that. It was about sharing a very personal experience she had going back eight years and what it meant for her!! She referred to the time she was called for an interview with Genpact and how she was convinced she'd be rejected at the first level – why? Because of her 8 month baby bump! To her amazement her experience was very different… and I quote: “To my surprise, my impending motherhood did not deter the hiring team from taking me on… they were focused on the capability that I would bring to the organization! I have come to realize that in our organization, opportunities are assigned always based on capability." She then went on to describe how our flexible culture and meritocracy driven environment has played a significant role in her staying on with the company and how many people probably take this culture for granted.

Her note, while flattering to the culture we have fostered and built, also made a very important point – the fact that many women assume that pregnancy and motherhood comes in the way of building a career -- ironic since she was actually starting the journey of a long fruitful career during her pregnancy.

The question in my mind has always been how do you create and sustain an environment where you can tap the best talent available, drive a strong performance culture, allow people to dream and attain their full potential over time and yet be able to allow them to go through life’s many milestones. We're obviously doing something that's working that must be replicated sustained and encouraged everywhere in the world.

All of us in our leadership roles in organizations strive for business performance that’s admired by our stakeholders, customers, investors, employees etc. We drive hard to find a motivated workforce... but in the end it’s the fact that we can actually create an environment that makes one write what she wrote, allow her to fulfill her ambition while going through other pulls and pressures of life...is what makes everything else pale into insignificance in comparison. WWish we could all create more environments across the world like this!!!


  1. Tiger - The empowerment of women at ALL levels within Genpact with a target of COMPLETE GENDER EQUITY i.e. 50 - 50 presence AT EACH & EVERY MANAGEMENT LEVEL within Genpact will lead to a sustainable competitive advantage that will be impossible for any other company to replicate. I wish Genpact and you the very best in this endeavour. Ricky

  2. Hi Tiger,

    Congratulations on getting back into the hot seat! I wish you all the best in your role as CEO!


  3. Very interesting. This is an issue which almost all women face and especially in India. Though in my experience Iv seen women who have been focused in their outlook and have been supported by men (post marriage) towards exploring their passions have risen upto the challenges and done well.

    Good to know team Genpact.

    *Also congratulations on your new role Mr. CEO, wish you luck!

  4. But at the end business point of view wins....

  5. The most significant development of the post liberalization period has been the rapid increase in the Indian middle class. I’m not sure if there has been any study conducted on the attitude of children from these families towards education, career and life.

    Every organization rooting for gender diversity has to keep in mind that the target group comes from the families I mentioned above. Today’s women have more confidence, freedom, exposure, job at a younger age and financial independence but the flip side is the lack of importance given to formal education beyond graduation.

    I believe organizations should have more bottom-up approach towards gender diversity and women empowerment and the programs should clearly identify the expectations of modern women from organization, job, society and life.

  6. It is wonderful to know that there are some organizations out there , with no gender disparities . No matter how much an organization talks about being an equal opportunity employer, but in my career ( 5 years) ,I have seen, ( at some level) such issues are very much there. It was good reading your post.
    best, Bella

  7. It was good to catch the tone at the end of your blog.

    Recently, I was frustrated by an article published in the Times of India. Titled "Sacked for being preggers", everything from the choice of 'preggers' to refer to that holy state; and the attitude of that article offended me. I wanted to write to Press Council of India to make TOI tender a public apology but seeing that general public does not share my views, I didn't proceed.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and that experience. I would like to share your blog post with my friends on facebook.

  8. Hi Tiger,

    No New Posts after you have taken over the new role . Change/ Update your position in "About Me".World is watching you . :).
    Best Wishes,

  9. @Mr.Tyagarajan: Maybe eight years back the hiring team of Genpact considered capabilities of a person sir, but I think times have changed, I recently got a letter of intent from Genpact to join as a Process associate but when I told them I am diabetic and have to take insulin they suddenly became sceptical as to how will I work, then finally they sent a negative feedback to my consultancy with no reason specified for rejection. When I called to know the reason the manager says its because of your medical condition. I had dreamed of a career with the company never did I think that me being a diabetic could actually hinder the possibility.

    I don't know about gender disparities sir, but I have not been treated fairly in genpact and I am very disappointed.

  10. Nice write up. When you are at top of the mountain, things look really small;to get a better view you either get a binocular or get down a little.

    I'm a current female employee with genpact, and im really sorry for crashing the party, but truth be told things are far from you have written. Mere hiring female employees isnt the end of job for Genpact. Managers frown upon having girls in their team especially in software coe...cuz we are apparently not flexible, cuz we say we have to get home before 11pm, cuz if we call any senior to ask for an update we are suddenly the outlaws. Now this might come as a personal rant and you might think of this as a one off incident but thats cuz this maybe the first time u r hearing it. But you are even 1% serious about what u wrote, u should think about it. And since eevryone needs data points and need 'where to begin'; visa team @ software coe hyd might be a good case study for you all. The spike in rejections has to be more than just a coincident.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Genpact Employee

  11. This was interesting to know and heartening to read as well. Its good to be a trendsetter for the right values.

  12. Dear 'Anonymous',

    Thanks for raising this...I am deeply concerned about the issues you have raised and want to underscore the fact that Genpact has a strong culture of encouraging diversity including gender diversity and we have built in a bunch of practices to foster a women-friendly culture at Genpact. These practices account for our famously low turnover rate and show our women employees, and also the highly educated women we hope to attract, that we’re an organization committed to supporting them so they can fulfill their ambition and potential. As an employee you may already know that we regularly invite spouses and parents to come into our office and meet with our senior management, where they can hear just how invaluable their wives and daughters are to the firm. Having said that, I acknowledge the fact that there may be gaps in instilling this culture within every individual of our organization and we will work harder towards this. At the same time please note that there may be projects that require stretching for a specific period of time and by consulting with your manager you can work around making the timelines more flexible.

    The other issue you have raised is around visa rejections. This is the prerogative of the specific country's consulate and is not influenced by individual work relationships. In general, there has been an increase in visa rejections lately and has hit the industry as a whole, including Genpact. Our teams are working on an alternative strategy to increase acceptances.

  13. Hi Kavitha,

    Thank you for bringing to my attention your unpleasant experience. We do not discriminate based on medical condition of candidates that apply to Genpact. However, based on your experience it appears that some of our managers need to be sensitized to this. Based on your feedback & our own internal review of the process we call pre-hire orientation, we are re-iterating our guidelines for “fair grounds” for rejection. We hope you are still keen to join Genpact and if so, please provide your contact details so that we can get in touch with you.

  14. Wonderful... That sounds awesome, even in the US it is so difficult for moms who have been displacedcuz of motherhood to get back into workforce. There is so much hoopla about feminism and women's rights but something as basic as providing support and training for women to get back to work is missing in our communities, even lack of mentoring is frustrating, among many other services.