HGS’s own Senior Vice President Avesh Kumar Jha was proud to present on the importance of women inclusion and diversity in the workplace at the December 9 Lean In India Summit in Mumbai, India. Lean In is a highly regarded not-for-profit organization, started by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her husband David, and is a global community for women with one key mission: to empower women to achieve their ambitions.
Q: What is Lean In India?
Avesh: Lean In India is a platform that members can use for networking, attending events, and participating in upcoming campaigns. To make the most of their experience, members are encouraged to join smaller Lean In circles, where participants meet about once a month to support one another and develop new skills.
Q: Why was it important for HGS to participate?
Avesh: AGRIMA, one of HGS’s initiatives to empower women, led us to founding a Lean In chapter. It was at one AGRIMA session where a book club focused on the Lean In book. AGRIMA participants read a chapter and presented their takeaways to others. At this point, HGS decided to bolster our own efforts and partner with Lean In. This organization captures our aligned focus to offer women ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.
The key drivers of our participation in this event were our commitment to women inclusion and diversity in the workforce and our own knowledge and experiences in this area. At the Summit, our presentation focused on our employee support initiatives pertaining to women. Our presentation addressed overall workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives, including AGRIMA, our employee assistance program, remote working, child care help, and better transportation to support women in the workplace. We also shared that many of our company initiatives are gender agnostic. There was a special participant focus on our AGRIMA program, and attendees asked questions about what we do in AGRIMA, how we do it, and the challenges we face.
Q: What were some of the recurring themes that came up during the event?
Avesh: The Mumbai Lean In event played host to many participants from different walks of life. Event participants engaged in panel discussions around issues women face, how they can deal with challenges, and how to handle situations when they are labelled or challenged based on their gender. Some of the recurring themes through the event were:
- Striking the right work-life balance
- Equal treatment for women
- Giving 100% at work and at home
- Committing to women-centric initiatives by organizations and society
- How women can handle the issues they face in their personal life
- Importance of awareness and networking
Q: What are some of the diversity and inclusion initiatives we’re working on at HGS that helps support the goals of Lean In?
Avesh: HGS has always been a firm believer in equal opportunities, empowerment, and skill enhancement while investing in a diverse workforce. We adopt workplace initiatives that align with our role as a company that understands and supports striking the right work-life balance. The Lean In India chapter is excited about HGS plans for the Lean In chapter here, which is particularly noteworthy since we will be starting Lean In circles in tier two and tier three cities, as well.
AGRIMA, employee assistance program, remote working, child care help, and better transportation facilities are some HGS initiatives that are helping us realize the goals of Lean In. The HGS version of Lean In will have employees enrolled in “Women at HGS” discussions, in their circles and also expanding to other Lean In circles, as well. We will also host Lean In book reading sessions, with each chapter being read in a month. We’ll encourage participants to share their observations as to how the book relates to their own lives. We will study the issues that come up and decide if they have to be dealt with individually or if HGS has to intervene. If we find issues related to skills, we plan to have training programs to address those issues. We are also going to host Lean In India at HGS and have them conduct some sessions. We are also looking at taking this initiative to other geographies where HGS has a presence.
At HGS Avesh Kumar Jha, Senior Vice President for Organization Development & Performance Management, is responsible for supporting the organization to successfully achieve its 2020 revenue, customer, employee and society goals by creating a sales culture, strengthening the leadership, improving the CSAT & ESAT, setting up a robust and world-class people development program and enhancing the diversity and inclusiveness in the company.