Rendezvous With Deepa Krishnan Director – Marketing, Category, Digital, Loyalty, and PR at Tata Starbucks
Deepa Krishnan heads Marketing, Category, Digital, Loyalty, and PR at Tata Starbucks. She oversees all aspects of brand-related to digital media communications. She manages the brand loyalty programs and responsible for all digital initiatives undertaken by the brand.
Prior to joining Tata Starbucks she was working with Kantar, where she served as the Executive Director, Strategy, and foresights for the agency’s International Research Unit. Previously, she has been associated with Idea Cellular, Diageo India, JWT, Godrej, and The Futures Company among others.
Q- What are the key challenges women leaders are facing in today’s business environment?
Considering that women are the primary caregivers in our society, they face multiple challenges such as taking care of work and home simultaneously and multi-tasking to a greater degree to achieve personal and professional goals. We at Tata Starbucks try to ensure that our partners (employees) never have to choose between work and home. We introduced programmes like Silent Hours, Work from Home Desk, Internet Policy, etc to improve their work-life balance.
Since 31% of our workforce at Starbucks is women, including women in leadership roles, we have tried to create a balanced environment where everyone feels comfortable and welcomed. Our programs offer flexible employment options including a 5-day work schedule, access to Women’s Impact Network, extended maternity and sabbatical leave, as well as mentoring and accelerated development programs for key talent.
Women’s representation in companies, especially in leadership roles is essential for the smooth functioning of any organisation. We believe that offering flexible roles / part-time employment opportunities and the flexibility to work from home or office depending upon the nature of the job allows employees the liberty to balance their personal and professional lives- which in turn results in a higher happiness quotient and higher levels of productivity.
Q-What is DE&I policy at Tata Starbucks, any new initiative taken to strengthen Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the workplace?
Our mission and values at Tata Starbucks reflect our fundamental principle – Everyone is welcome! We aspire to be a place of inclusion, diversity, and equity where everybody cherishes human connections over a cup of coffee. Diversity and inclusion are an integral part of our business that makes us a better organization. Our partners are diverse not only in gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age, but also in cultural backgrounds, life experiences, thoughts, and ideas.
To build an inclusive culture, we ensure adequate representation of female partners at the hiring stage.
Building an inclusive culture
- Hiring tools to remove biases
- Ensuring adequate representation of female partners at the hiring stage
- Making sure candidates are evaluated on experience, capabilities rather than gender, etc.
- Sensitisation training across stores and partners to build a culture of belongingness and welcoming for our partners
- Creating a Buddy program to support them through the initial journey of settling in Implementing a flexible working model for partners
Q-What is your goal to reach gender parity in management roles in the next few years? What are the steps you have taken to achieve your target?
At Tata Starbucks, the women partners now make up to 31% of its workforce, a key gender diversity milestone toward its goal to achieve 40 percent gender diversity by 2022. We continue to promote opportunities for women within the company, boosting the share of female partners (employees).
The company continues its commitment to offer a supportive environment through various partner-friendly policies, especially around significant life events such as marriage and childbirth.
- First QSR company to implement a five-day week for all store partners.
- Clearly defined shift timings for women.
- The company invests in women-specific leadership programs such as the group’s mentorship initiative called Tata Mentors.
- The Two-Wheeler Program provides partners with a range of financial benefits designed to enhance independence and create more affordable transportation options.
- Starbucks is a pioneer in introducing women focussed programs including flexible employment options, a 5-day work schedule, access to Women’s Impact Network, extended maternity and sabbatical leave, as well as mentoring and accelerated development programs for key talent.
Q- What is your policy for women employees returning to the workforce from maternity leave, career break, etc?
Tata Starbucks diversity initiatives in India, Brew of Balance has over the years created opportunities for women returning to the workforce from a career break. The company also encourages hiring ‘second-career women through the Tata Second Careers, Inspiring Possibilities (SCIP) platform. To encourage references for such talent internally, Starbucks offers an enhanced bonus for their references.
Starbucks has always been a pioneer in introducing women focussed programs including flexible employment options, a 5-day work schedule, access to Women’s Impact Network, extended maternity and sabbatical leave, as well as mentoring and accelerated development programs for key talent.
Q- How do you ensure Pay Equity and Work-life Balance for employees at Tata Starbucks?
Tata Starbucks announced 100% gender pay parity in 2019. We have Initiated pay equity principles which are based on equal footing, transparency, and accountability. Equal footing implies paying their partners based on their skills, abilities, experience, and performance and never basing it on gender. Transparency includes publishing pay equity progress annually and using an offer standards calculator to determine starting pay range for roles. Accountability allows setting a goal to achieve pay equity, conducting comprehensive compensation analysis, analysing compensation decisions before they are final, and more.
We continue to create opportunities for female partners through an ongoing series of initiatives focused on an inclusive and diverse workforce to drive business growth. Our Partners also have the option of switching between full-time and part-time roles, or vice versa, depending on their need.
At Tata Starbucks, we have seen many partners switching between part-time and full-time roles by leveraging the flexible employment model. This has helped the organisation with high retention success leading to an attrition rate that currently stands at less than half of the industry benchmark.
Our pioneering initiatives like including flexible employment options, a 5-day work schedule, extended maternity and sabbatical leave ensure our partners enjoy a good work-life balance.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
Since entering the market in 2012, Tata Starbucks has honoured its commitment to grow the representation of women in the workforce and encourage a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion through various initiatives as a part of its women inclusion network. Recently, Tata Starbucks was recognized by Great Place to Work among India’s best workplaces in Retail 2021 for their partner-centric values and work culture and were also recognised among India’s Best Workplaces for Women 2020.
Thank you, Deepa!