Why Your Company Should Hire More Women Returnees

  • Priya Desai
  • in
  • Women-friendly Companies, AccelHERate
  • |
  • 04 Jan 2018

When JobsForHer hosted its flagship conference RestartHer in September 2017, 3000+ women flocked to the event in Bangalore for a chance to restart their careers.

And companies lined up to welcome them back to work with open arms.

Why Hire Women Returnees?

The kind of energy that women bring to the table is unmatched.

Ashish Sinha, Country Head, Epsilon said as much at RestartHer; that it would be foolish for companies not to tap into this talent pool that’s raring to go. He went on to endorse this talent pool of women returnees by saying that because these women were so eager to return to work from career breaks, they would likely work harder than others to prove themselves.

In building a diverse workforce, it is imperative to have the support of male and female leaders from within your company. Senior management should truly believe that achieving gender diversity is the right thing to do.

Vaishali Kasture, ‎Managing Director and India Country Head at ‎Experian, reinforces this message by asserting that every individual, male or female, needs to reach their full intellectual, economic and social potential, and there are different aspects to life. Women take career breaks for all the right reasons - marriage, motherhood, elder care, etc.. But when they don’t come back to work, Vaishali truly believes that they aren’t reaching their true all-round potential.

Being a corporate head herself, Vaishali’s job is to run a successful commercial enterprise. In order to do so, she underpins how diversity is a business differentiator because it leads to better outcomes.

A diverse team leads to better results in terms of the way deals are pitched; it results in better successes, better engagement and eventually better market share and profitability. She is on the same page as Ashish when she says that companies would be really naive to ignore the benefits of diversity, which isn’t just about men and women - it’s about looking at diversity from all aspects. There is infinite research to prove that diverse teams perform better and have better employee engagement.

While a lot is being done to improve gender diversity across the board, Ashish says that there is still a lack of tools and techniques that enable companies to bring women seamlessly back into the workforce. Hiring 5 or 10 women returnees is just the beginning of a long journey for any company; this needs to be followed up with on boarding, understanding the role that the candidate has been hired for, and performance management. Companies of all kinds and sizes must realise that there is work to be done after the women returnee is hired, to retain her in the long run.

Once They’re Hired, What’s Next?

CA Technologies is an IT firm striving hard to make a difference in the gender diversity space. Sharmila Khan, Director and People Business Partner at CA Technologies sat down with us to explain how they’re going the extra mile to attract and retain women returnees.

Flexibility is key to women employees, particularly those returning to work from career breaks. Sharmila explains how CA Technologies doesn’t track employees, in terms of what time they come to work and what time they leave, or even how much time they’ve spent in office. Fundamentally, they follow an approach of tracking productivity from employees and not availability.

CA Technologies supports employees who want to work from home, extending them the flexibility of starting and ending their days on their own time. This helps employees achieve the work-life balance that is increasingly becoming more important in today’s fast paced world.

In implementing these kinds of policies, it is important to build a sense of accountability from within the organisation. As long as employees demonstrate accountability in everything they do, they don’t need to be micromanaged. This empowers employees to be creative and think out of the box, and managers need to be trained to improve this sense of accountability from their teams.

Helping Companies Build A Diverse Workforce

Catalyst is a 55 year old non profit organisation working with 80+ companies to help improve gender diversity, focussing on retention and development. Shachi Irde, Executive Director and Vice President rightly says that “diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice”, and that in today’s increasingly globalised world, diversity just cannot be ignored.

Leveraging differences can transform corporate work culture, and this can only happen when intentional leaders take action and lead from the front. “Having a team that is tasked with the responsibility of increasing gender diversity in the organisation through various initiatives and actions proves to be beneficial,” according to Catalyst’s research.

JobsForHer works with companies of all sizes to bring more women back to work in India. From jobs and events to mentoring and reskilling, we’ve come a long way in 3 years. So write to TODAY to learn how your company can benefit from hiring qualified and experienced women!