Shibu Nambiar, COO Genpact Europe: Diversity it’s not one-year journey – it takes time and persistence

In today’s post, Shibu Nambiar, COO Genpact Europe, talks about what actions the company has been taking in diversity management.

Why and since when does your company believe and invest in diversity management?

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has been at the cornerstone of Genpact’ s corporate culture since our inception in 1997 and has been paramount to our growth and success. It’s fully embraced in all regions where we operate – Asia, Pacific, Africa, Europe, North America, and Latin America.

Our geographically-distributed workforce fosters an environment where individuals of diverse race, colour, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, nationality, age, marital and parental status may succeed professionally and fully contribute to the goals of Genpact.

We believe D&I is important because it’s a critical enabler and accelerator of financial performance and innovation. Additionally, it makes Genpact an employer of choice. The core objectives of our D&I program – growth into a more global organization and increased gender balance in leadership – are ingrained in every corner of our business. We are also continually leveraging benchmarks and metrics to drive transformation and continuous improvements in these two strategic imperatives.

What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?

At Genpact, our focus is on gender diversity. This is vital to our growth trajectory. As a global professional services firm which delivers digital transformation to multiple clients, our biggest and most valuable asset is our people. Numerous studies and researches have established that a high representation of women in an organization’s senior management leads to higher growth, talent retention and engagement levels, as well as more innovative thinking.

Genpact’ s commitment to having a gender balanced workforce is also traced to our roots to foster a culture of inclusivity.

Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?

Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy encompasses five pillars:

  • Creating a Supportive Ecosystem. At Genpact, we do whatever it takes to make our organization ‘Women-friendly”, from flexible work policies to onsite childcare centres, systems and infrastructure.
  • Driving Sensitization. We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace where all our employees are recognized and valued for their specific attributes and contributions. We regularly host networking forums for our employees (WINGS – Women in Genpact) to engage with women leaders both inside and outside of Genpact and explore the power of people talking about diversity and inclusion. A good part of this effort involves identifying our unconscious biases, bringing them to the forefront and addressing them effectively, so we have specific training programs available for all managers and above. We have a zero tolerance towards harassment of women at the workplace and stringent policies in accordance with the law.
  • Developing Women Leaders.
    We believe in nurturing talent to create fantastic leaders. Mentoring is a key component of continuous learning and development, because it plays a vital role in breaking barriers, providing opportunities to network with experienced leaders and taking proactive ownership of personal career trajectory. With this in mind we have partnered with the US and UK Chapter of the 30 Percent Club on their exclusive cross-mentoring program.
    In Romania, we a are strong partner with Professional Women Network local chapter, providing both senior mentors and women leaders as mentees for their leadership mentoring initiative.
    We also ensure 40% or more gender diversity for all of our existing internal Global Leadership Development (GLD) programs.
  • Attracting diverse talent
    We hire top women talent by incorporating best practices for diverse hiring particularly at the mid-management to senior levels of leadership, when women tend to drop off the career ladder. Our flagship initiative, Genpact Career 2.0, focuses on re-employing women, including providing and maintaining a strong organizational support ecosystem in terms of the flexibility required to successfully contribute to personal and professional goals.
  • Cultivating external network
    In 2015, we launched the Genpact Centre for Women Leadership, a unique academic-industry partnership with Ashoka University to drive gender-inclusive growth, with a vision to create a balanced distribution of income, resources and decision making powers across sectors.
    To ensure that Genpact is leveraging all available best practices to help build an even more gender-inclusive workforce, we partner with leading organizations. Our President and CEO Tiger Tyagarajan serves on the Boards of Catalyst and the Centre for Talent Innovation (CTI), and is one of the founding members of the US chapter of the 30 Percent Club, a global group of business leaders across industries, who are working together to achieve better gender balance at all levels of organizations including corporate boards.

Many companies aren't prioritizing inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?

The first and foremost reason is that it makes sense! Women comprise of 50% of the world ‘s population, and we cannot think of an imbalanced world where they are not equally represented.

That aside, various researches have proved that companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers. Mckinsey’s research on Why Diversity Matters also speaks on the favour of this Competitive advantage (McKinsey):
o Companies with a more diverse workforce perform better financially. Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform
o On the flipside, companies in bottom quartile on diversity, statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns

Thereby, in order to be relevant, any global organisation cannot afford to ignore 50% of the workforce.

In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your company?

As a global team united by strong values and beliefs, we embrace different opinions and perspectives; which means that our employees feel valued & appreciated, and that we accept & embrace their variety of mind-sets, qualities and abilities.

Having a diverse workforce working together to create solutions leads to a more robust and innovative climate – we have seen it happening every time. This is what gives us a competitive advantage.

Diversity also fosters talent retention, higher engagement levels and global relevance.

Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?

Firstly, organisations have to understand the need for diversity and then do whatever it takes to get there. It should not be on pen and paper – it should be the heart and soul of the company.

Leadership buy in is critical. It should be an active goal that is monitored and evaluated at a regular basis. All of this lead to action.

Last but not least – it’s not one-year journey – it takes time and persistence. Consequently, organisations should stick to their commitment and not give up midway.

What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or, even more, to truly get them on board?

We all are champions of change, our CEO is part of the catalyst CEO champion for change and hence all leadership commitment is a given. I don’t need to do much actually, everybody gets it!

Interview by Dana Oancea