In 1985, the Working Mother Group of US created the world’s first tool to collate information about companies that were the best employers for women. Today, 30 years later, we at AVTAR take great pride in sharing with you that we have brought the Best Companies for Women project to India. I am truly delighted and humbled that AVTAR has been instrumental in customizing this tool to the Indian workplace and contributing to India’s knowledge about women’s careers.
What is the ‘Best Companies for Women in India’ project?
It is India’s very first assessment and benchmarking exercise that helps companies to check how welcoming their workplaces are for women. It is a completely self-rating and self-evaluating mechanism, in that, there will be no external auditors, no employee surveys and most importantly, NO Ranking of companies. Every company cares for its corporate reputation and is of prime importance to them. Which is why, all companies that participate in the Best Companies project will obtain an individual, private scorecard informing them of their relative position. They will also have the opportunity, if they choose to, to benchmark themselves against other companies in their industry or sector or even other sectors. This way, each company can obtain greater information from the extensive reporting that we will do of the best practices that help companies to attract, retain and grow women in their workplaces.
Why is the Best Companies for Women project essential for India and for organizations?
I have been a researcher in the field of women’s careers for well over 15 years. My own PhD dissertation is about how companies can increase gender diversity in their workplaces. I have seen that most progressive and profitable companies have a strong gender balance. I have also found that most successful companies follow contemporary gender diversity policies that keep their workplaces energetic and up-to-date. It was always a point of deep anguish for me that there was zero information that was easily accessible, centrally collated, across different industries and sectors that spoke about the best practices of companies that did well in engaging women across levels. This is the problem we are trying to solve! When an organization becomes part of the Best Companies for Women project, they contribute to this repository.
Is the purpose of applying to Best Companies for Women project to win recognition?
Yes and No. Yes, because we want the world to know that you have been doing amazing stuff in helping Indian women pursue their careers. In November this year at Mumbai, at the Global Advancement of Women conference, we will celebrate the companies whose policies have been outstanding in promoting and developing women professionals in their workplaces. And No, because that is not all. By being part of the Best Companies project, there will be a collective raising of the bar that will happen to gender diversity best practices. HR and Business Leaders from the participating companies will learn how to apply the same concepts to their workplaces, how to manage the challenges unique to their sector and also create a compelling employee value proposition for women in their organization. As such, there is no ‘age’ limit! Meaning, whatever be the length of time that the company has spent in engaging women and having a gender diversity policy, they can still apply. Even if a company has just embarked upon a gender diversity journey, it will be very valuable to be part of this project, as only applicants will obtain the Best Companies report and scorecard.
How to participate in the Best Companies project?
By simply registering here – https://www.avtarwomen.com/best-companies. Once we obtain a registration from you, we shall send your designated team a Confirmation of Participation document. After we obtain the confirmation from them, we will release the questionnaire via a password protected link. My team at AVTAR is ready and waiting to provide you with all support in filling the questionnaire. And I forgot to mention this, the entire project is completely free of cost. Unlike other surveys, it is AVTAR and Working Mother’s principle not to charge the participating companies.
We launched the Best Companies for Women in India project on International Women’s Day – March 8th and as of now, our registered participant list has crossed well over 100 companies! The last date for receiving the filled-in project questionnaire is June 30th 2016.
Please do share this with your HR team. By increasing women’s workforce participation in India, we are ensuring that our nation is well on the way to becoming a developed nation! Let me assure you, this is one decision you will be delighted with!
Dr. Saundarya Rajesh
Founder-President – AVTAR Group