Best Workpspace Preaching Holistic Inclusion

Akshaya Kashyap -Senior Vice President- Human Resources, Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited, describes how the company has developed an all-encompassing DEI mindset


Through mentoring, coaching, skill development measures, addressing equal pay and opportunities issue and other dedicated programmes, FGII has ensured equal opportunities, growth and a sense of belonging among diverse groups. Akshaya Kashyap - Senior Vice President - Human Resources, describes the enabling cultural ethos of his organisation. Excerpts from an interview: 

What have been some of the novel initiatives in your organisation to ensure diversity and inclusion?

At Future Generali India Insurance (FGII), we see diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a strategic priority. Our management remains heavily invested in this agenda and is at the forefront of mobilising this change. We have chalked out a comprehensive DEI framework that outlines our DEI ambition. Right from outlining our DEI statement to putting together a core committee led by senior leaders who will spearhead this agenda to outlining targets, we have ambitious goals giving shape to this priority at FGII. 

At the core of this strategy is mobilising employees to be volunteers and allies in bringing about this change that will be manifested through employee resource groups (ERG’s). Under the leadership of our senior leaders, we have put together three ERGs — World of Women, PRIDE Alliance Group and Special Ability Alliance Group that sees participation across the organisation hierarchy and geographical spread. We have powered each of these ERGs with the voice of employee volunteers who help us understand the sentiment on ground and echo the voice of our employees. 

As we do so, we have a host of initiatives that are underway that aim at: 

a) Creating a cultural change and building a DEI mindset 

b) Ensuring that all our process and policies and our hiring practices are aligned to our DEI ambition 

c) Continuous education programmes and conversations that aid our understanding in these areas and build sensitisation and acceptance 

Under each of our strategic priorities, we have introduced a host of policy initiatives and programmes spearheaded by our ERG’s. Some of these include: Mentoring, coaching and host of dedicated programmes to aid women in mid management progress their careers at FGII and to address the issue of dropouts amongst women by offering them flexibility during maternity, return to work and extended WFH, job protection during exigencies and caregiving. Several hiring interventions like recruiter incentivisation and education programmes, building all women teams etc. have been put in place towards attracting DEI candidature. In addition to this we have also successfully addressed equal pay and opportunity issues through adequate managerial training interventions.

What is the way forward for more diverse and inclusive workplaces?  

The DEI framework is designed such that it has employees at the centre of the strategy. It aims at creating an environment that mobilises employee participation as allies in shaping FGII into a truly diverse and inclusive organisation. A diverse employee base represents the community and aids in not just furthering the innovation agenda but also powering an organisation’s ability to service a diverse customer set. It is critical for organisations to take a holistic approach to diversity by including the entire spectrum of age, geography, culture, religion, ability, talent etc. D&I is prioritised across four dimensions and their success measures are: 

Gender: Focussing on women employees, 

Age: Maintaining average age of employees <30 & groom talents in <35

Culture: Identifying talent against critical skill areas and providing international experience to them, and

Inclusion: Creating smart working policies, building practices for special ability and LGBTQIA+ population. 

We believe in providing continuous education and training programmes to employees on DEI as a belief. It helps them gain subject knowledge, allows them to exchange ideas, and makes them aware of and sensitive to issues like disability. Our unconscious bias training, as a case in point, has helped dispel myths associated with our day-to-day approach to important aspects of life.

Diverse and inclusive workplaces focus on creating an environment where employees feel belonged and valued, thereby building a ‘workplace of choice’.

(The article appeared in the August issue  of  BW People publication)

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