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HCL Technologies promotes womens equity in sport

HCL Technologies promotes women's equity in sport

 September 13, 2022

HCL Technologies is committed to advocating for gender inclusion across the workplace and society, helping to empower and improve the status of women employees at all levels.

HCL Technologies Finland has partnered with the HJK Helsinki women's football team (Helsingin Jalkapalloklub), with the partnership aiming to shine a spotlight on the work of promoting equity in sports and improving accessibility for women.

HCL Technologies Sales Director & Client Partner, Vaishali Doshi, and Senior Vice President, Gavin Westwood, share how the company is committed to powering high business performance through diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and on the playing field.

Employer embracing and encompassing identities

Women are underrepresented in the tech industry. Diversity, however, is about more than just gender. HCL Technologies knows that ethnicity, race, age, disability, and skillsets are other underrepresented categories, to name but a few. Inclusion and equity are essential parts of the diversity equation. Taking steps in the right direction can be a challenge, and it calls for determination and perseverance, but with long-term commitment the tide will turn.

The relationship between technology and gender has emerged as a hot topic. This was highlighted in Caroline Criado Perez’s book, Invisible Women and showcases that awareness is on the rise for a good reason.

“We all use technology, and as humans, we’re diverse by nature,” says Vaishali.

“Technological design and innovation need to reflect that. Women represent half of the world’s population. Women should be equally involved in the design and implementation of tech,” Vaishali adds.

Many leading IT enterprises are setting ambitious goals to achieve a better gender balance. Increasing women's share in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is on the agenda worldwide. Finland is no different. The share of women applying to study technology in higher education hit a record 36 per cent in the spring of 2022. This is progress, but a lot remains to be done. As a point of comparison, based on data from 2020, only a little more than a fifth of employees in ICT companies in Finland are women.

“Historically, IT hasn’t been very diverse,” says HCL Technologies Senior Vice President, Gavin Westwood.

"We at HCL Technologies work very hard to support diversity and equality. Our Chairperson, Roshni Malhotra, has truly shifted gears in this area. She feels very passionate about it, and we collectively do too,” he comments.

Improving gender diversity in the workforce

Every fourth member on the Board for HCL Technologies is a woman. Overall, 27 per cent of employees are women, 30 per cent of new hires are female, and HCL Technologies also aims to improve gender diversity in the workforce to 40 per cent women by 2030.

Diversity is worth the effort as it is critical in building an innovative mindset. The business case is solid and organizations should focus on creating a workplace culture that fosters inclusivity.

“Diversity is a business imperative as important as any other strategic business priority,” says Vaishali.

“We get a constant message from our young talent that they want to work in a high-performing, diverse and inclusive organization,” Vaishali explains.

The benefits of attracting, developing, and retaining talent outweigh the cost of replacement and recruitment. A diverse organization is robust, with enhanced capabilities to tackle problems, make decisions, and innovate.

“The best performing teams I've been a part of, have been truly diverse,“ suggests Gavin Westwood. “It's no coincidence.”

Moving from equality to equity

The world of talent attraction talks about DEI and there is a strong understanding of equality in the Nordic markets. Equity is the next step. If equality means everyone has the same opportunities, equity is about helping all reach similar outcomes so that no one's left behind. One example that concerns parents, still mostly women, is staying home for an extended time after childbirth.

“We have to support women returning to the workforce,” Vaishali points out.

“Tech moves fast. A modest break quickly turns into eons. There's catching up to do, and a good employer extends their hand, ensuring that the returning parent gets similar opportunities and extra support to thrive,” she says.

"Three Rs are essential in DEI. That is, recruitment (diversity), retention (inclusion), and representation (role models). It means that a company pays attention to who they hire, such as a diverse workforce, that they retain the hired employees by providing an inclusive work environment, and ensure that they are represented well by providing career enhancement, mentoring forums, and communities.” comments Vaishali.

“We all need role models, people that we look up to, on all organizational levels,” explains Vaishali. “To aspire towards something and grow, and to feel that your aspirations are legitimate.”

Diversity is more than gender

Diversity is not a binary concept, not only about women and men. HCL Technologies looks at, for example, ethnicity, LGBTIQA+ community, disability, skillsets, and age equally closely. In 2021, the company increased the headcount of disabled employees by nine per cent.

But these are baby steps. The management commits to putting in the effort to make change happen.

“Many organizations are becoming more diverse,” says Vaishali.

“But are we there yet? Looking at targets and numbers set for diversity or gender balance is one thing. Still, we also need to look at the support measures to ensure the workplace is truly inclusive,” explains Vaishali.

In Vaishali's view, inclusivity is not rocket science, as she believes that common sense applies.

“Ask yourself if you're truly able to be yourself at work. And then, ask yourself whether your colleagues would say the same? We all must consider if we’re creating a safe working environment for people around us.”

“Take my example. I’m a mother of two girls and an Indian woman working in Finland. If I’m asked to come to work, forget who I am, and blend in, I can’t be authentic. I can’t give my best if my environment doesn’t allow me to feel safe to be myself, fully,” she says.

Vaishali's view is that no organization is perfect, and the point is about creating momentum to move in the right direction.

“Everybody fails at times. We've had our mistakes, too. Our company’s upside is that people do seem to speak out, and we do listen and learn.” adds Vaishali.

Deeds more than words

Gavin Westwood agrees that building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable company is not overly impossibly difficult, but it needs to be supported by dedicated structures, skills, and principles to be a success, as well as action.

“Little nudges go a long way,” says Gavin.

“We have a monthly bulletin that gives us the latest details. The newsletter has statistics, relates stories of empowerment, and information on our various communities,” he adds.

Bold leadership is also needed and involves leaders who believe that a diverse and equal culture matters and leaders who take action and create empowering environments. As a form of self-management, the people of HCL Technologies are building communities for single mothers, people with disabilities, and groups united by ethnic or geographical backgrounds.

Partnering with women's football

Since 2020, HCL Technologies Finland has partnered with the HJK's women's football team.

“We wanted to extend our hand outside the business arena,“ says Gavin.

The company wants to discover the two organizations' shared values in partnerships and believes that the association has a purpose when something pulls them together.

“For us, the partnership with HJK is beyond a mere transaction,” comments Gavin.

“We’re proud of the team. HJK has taken steps to make sports more equitable and accessible for women. We strive to support them on their way to recognition on an equal footing in the world of sport, ad through that, be trailblazers for everyone looking to realize their full potential, on the playing field or in the boardroom," he concludes.


Work for an employer where everyone is included

HCL Technologies believes  diversity in the workplace is an asset for both businesses and employees - and fosters innovation, creativity, and empathy.

Search career opportunities with this prime employer for women.

 

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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