In Conversation With Dr. Ritu Anand Chief Diversity Officer Tata Consultancy Services
Dr. Ritu Anand is a pioneer in the field of Human Resources with a career spanning 25+ years. She is a Senior Vice President at Tata Consultancy Services and spearheads TCS’ Workplace Diversity and leadership initiatives. She holds a doctorate in Psychology.
Q- What are the HR challenges that you see in IT industry in next couple of months?
The Pandemic should be seen as a new beginning, it’s has brought many learnings along with it, for instance, it’s waned the hesitation for the ‘work from anywhere’ culture and with that acceptance and shift in mindset, it brought agility to the fore front. We should evaluate these aspects, and use them to our advantage to become the best versions of ourselves not only as individuals but also as organizations.
Having said that, the new ways of working have induced many changes in the way we work changing the future of work as we know it forever. The one facet (I won’t call it a challenge), of virtual experience for employees could be the feeling of disconnect because we are so used to our ambient environments some might physically miss being in offices. How do we replicate that environment for them? This is where technology becomes an enabler, and with some human intervention, it can do wonders.
I say this from experience to replicate that feeling of oneness we launched the OneTCS channel that connected the 450,000 associates across 40-odd countries, it was a way of communication and engaging with each of our associates and connecting them virtually.
Q- What initiatives has TCS taken to build a diverse and inclusive workforce culture?
With our presence in more than 144 nationalities across 46 countries, we look at inclusivity from a behavioural lens hence implemented several initiatives to create awareness and shift of mindsets towards inclusion and helping individuals overcome bias. Our aim has always been to ensure that they have a balanced workforce, where all people feel respected. Some of the initiatives we have initiatives are:
o Working with Pride’ Campaign: Pride Month’s celebrated across TCS under the initiative “Working with Pride” engaging associates through global webinars, awareness & sensitization sessions.
o Allies of Diversity Conclave: TCSers across the globe come together encompassing diversity segments like gender, generation, culture, age, PWD, LGBTQ+, roles, mindsets, and experiences, genders and generations at a unique event TCS Allies Of Diversity Conclave. The unique initiative brought together professionals, to brainstorm, share experiences and create an actionable roadmap for the future.
o iExcel: is a special programme which grooms high potential women in middle and senior levels to become leaders
o Women Discussion Circles (WDC) & Workplace Parents Group (WPG): These are meant to help through major life stages by means of mentoring, counseling and parenting workshops.
o Diversity Awareness: We work towards building allies of diversity with the help of tools like Web-based training, a mandatory training program on Diversity and Inclusion for all TCS employees.
o Di-a-log: Third edition of Diversity newsletter ‘Di-a-log’ has been launched in June 2019 with a focus on celebration of inclusion and diversity at TCS.
o nWin: Which provides TCSers with an opportunity to seek guidance from senior leaders within the organization
o Be-Inspired: A program to inspire and engage the young leaders to be exposed to TCS’ journey of inclusion from the very beginning. This program is meant to motivate and encourage associates to aspire for leadership positions, by showcasing role models in the organization
Q- What is Men and Women employment ratio and how many transgenders are currently working at TCS globally? What are your plans to scale this up?
Our Diversity and Inclusion policy is all-encompassing, propagating inclusivity and respect for all diversity groups. We believe in creating a sensitive environment. Our Health Insurance is also aimed at inculcating and supporting our employees’ Sex/Gender Reassignment Surgery and same-sex partners as dependent. Our intent is to sustain TCS as an organization in which one can bring their authentic self to work.
“At TCS we believe in the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Strategic interventions are what make us one of the largest employers of women in the world, at more than 36% and multiple initiatives for helping women employees realize their potential while striking a good work-life balance.”
These include: discussion circles to help women through major life stages, re-orientation programs to reconnect employees after long leave, interactions with inspirational women leaders, and special leadership development programs to address needs and aspirations of women, learning modules to equip mid-level managers to work with diverse teams, virtual support groups and parenting workshops. Targeted initiatives like these have helped TCS make tremendous progress in fostering diversity, and attract the kind of talent we do.
Q. Have you also hired disabled employees too? Do you have any special internship program to train young adults with Autism & Intellectual Disabilities?
At TCS we pride ourselves with being an intrinsically inclusive organization, which is not only a reflection of the society but believes in inclusion without exception.
We have a well-defined and progressive Diversity and Inclusion policy that not only focuses on gender diversity (men, women, non-binary gender), but, persons with disability and neuro diversity, sexual orientation, diversity of the mind, and generational diversity. This stems from our vision to bridge the divide that is prevalent for PwD. We have +661 permanent employees with disabilities and these include individuals with visual, speech and hearing impairment, locomotor impairment, cerebral palsy and others. Going forward, we aim to continue this momentum across all our functions.
We have recently moved into the arena of Neurodiversity and are at the stage of building a supportive ecosystem for inclusion. We have plans to layer in inclusion in a phased manner. Our recruitment and induction teamsare sensitized in engaging with people on the Autism spectrum.
Q. Do you have any special HR budget for D&I and disability employment, what are your inclusion practices to engage them?
TCS believes in celebrating diversity within the workforce by striving for equity over equality. Diversity should not be restricted to the mainstream definition of the term, but it is about recognizing the diversity of the mind.
As champions of equity, embracing differences, and embedding fairness in all our processes, is ingrained in our DNA. To foster an inclusive environment across all our campuses, one of the key practices is also providing a platform for skilling and reskilling to PwD and in the last year, we successfully imparted safety & skill up-gradation training to 95% of employees with disabilities. For us, it is about bringing these employees at par with their colleagues and present opportunities driven by fairness and inclusivity.
Thank you, Ritu!