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Our Leadership Team is Actually Balanced on Gender Diversity

Sangeeta Lala is Senior Vice President & Co-founder at TeamLease Services Private Ltd, India’s largest and foremost people supply chain and HR Services Company. In an email interview with Aamir H Kaki, of People & Management magazine, she share her views on gender diversity, role of women in leadership, work-life balance and challenges women face at workplace.

What in your view are the major challenges women faces in today’s workplace?

Participation of women in the Indian workforce has made advances in the last decade but this is just the beginning of a long journey. We will see a multi-fold growth in the numbers of women entering the workforce in the next decades to come. This would come with its share of challenges that corporate India would have to overcome to fully reap the benefi ts of this workforce.

Today’s challenges at one level are generic to the gender, like safety measures, secure environment, an overall pay scale gap, hurdles to joining the workforce after a child or family break. Many are specific to the sector of employment, eg white collar vs blue collar jobs have a different set of challenges.

Please share some specifi c issues that organisations don’t seem to adequately address.

Flexibility in timings, child benefits, childcare allowances and policies which can address the above, review mechanisms to keep gender diversity as a focus area.

Women become increasingly underrepresented at the senior levels. From your perspective, what training do working women seem to need most to reach that level?

I don’t think there is a magic bullet which can make anybody, women or men, reach the upper echelons of an organisation. It is diffi cult to pinpoint specifi c training that can really move the needle and ‘make’ successful women at the top. It is an ongoing process which needs to start at the bottom, with training, exposure, mentoring and learning programmes equally suited to employees. Women need to be encouraged or exposed to challenging assignment/ roles, and they need specifi c mentoring which plays up their strengths and works on their weaknesses.

Has your company been able to offer any training opportunities?

Our leadership team at TeamLease is actually balanced on gender diversity!

Women take career breaks due to family or any other obligations. Are there any HR policies or programmes related to career comebacks?

HR policies need to be women friendly, not specifically for career comebacks. Policies which promote equality are by themselves sufficient. Basic rights to gender, safety, communication and ethics.

In today’s competitive environment how important is gender diversity and inclusivity to Teamlease?

It is as important as it is to keep the wheels of business running! Diversity and inclusion keeps balance, diversity in ideas/ communication/ creativity/ performance, leads to benchmarking high performance and better profits.

Your company is offering staffi ng solutions to almost every industry & sector. There are some male dominated sectors such as Automobiles, Manufacturing, Engineering, etc that has lesser preference amongst women. Do you encourage women to enroll for male-dominated roles and how?

While we do not accept preferential treatment to any gender, it is unfair to dictate any business to run its functions only in order to bring about gender diversity.

How can a woman maintain worklife- balance as her career and family grow?

It is a fi ne balance but one which can be done! It is obviously about sound planning and organisation, taking breaks and staying healthy! One of the gifts of modern technology is that it can help a social urban woman stay on top of things. We need to utilise technology to its advantage, right from managing out schedules (work and out of work deadlines, travels), our connect (business and social network), our communication (people within business and family).

What do men need to understand, and what can they do to support their women to success?

Men only need to show respect for a woman, be it his mother, sister, friend, wife or even a stranger on the road. Respect that she deserves an equal opportunity. The outcomes would be huge – fl exibility, hands on approach, level of expectations, sharing of ideas and thoughts and much more.

Personally, do you think that women at top positions bring value and vitality in any kind of organisation given their ability to multi-task and respect for deadlines?

They absolutely do! The contribution is significant and brings about a tangible value in business growth and profi tability, with women’s natural instinct to multi task, maintain orderliness, plan and implement, approach to people and customers, think outof- the-box.








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