Hybrid Work Can Improve Recruitment And Retention Rates Of Women Employees: Report

New LEAD at Krea University - IWWAGE - Zoom report highlights adoption of hybrid models continue to expand beyond technology-intensive sectors


The report presents findings from a survey of 400 working women, of which over a third were hybrid workers, and delves into how women working in hybrid models have adapted to their new working conditions, and the challenges and advantages they perceive while working hybrid. 

Today’s society has advanced a lot and the women of today’s society are equally empowered and qualified for every responsibility. They have the ability to work with the same or even at times, better efficiency, as compared to their male counterpart. However, a woman has another God-gifted responsibility of motherhood. Almost every woman plays the most important role of taking care of her family and her child, and this is something that requires her physical presence. For a working woman, balancing her family and job responsibilities at times does become difficult. "Over many years of experience, I have seen multiple women who are excellent performers on their work front; leave their positions and jobs after marriage or child-birth, or even some family issue, as that job requires their physical presence in the office, states RP Yadav, Chairman and MD, Genius consutants. All these factors can be addressed by introducing the hybrid work model in today’s organizations. In this way, a new mother, a newly wed woman or a woman with some pull-back from their family, can work from home and have a proper and well-deserved work-life balance.

According to Amit Das, Director-HR & CHRO, Bennett Coleman Group, "employers need to establish diversity and inclusion policies that promote the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the workforce. This can include gender-neutral job descriptions, unconscious bias training, and inclusive language in job postings. They also need to provide family-friendly policies such as maternity and paternity leave, childcare support, and elder care support. This can help women who may need to take time off work for caregiving responsibilities." 

The survey finds that hybrid working models are more prevalent in organisations with a relatively larger workforce. Moreover, women at higher levels of the organisational hierarchy are more likely to be given the option of working hybrid and also take up this option. In addition, certain sectors seem to be adaptive towards hybrid work:

● 55% of hybrid workers in the study belong to the technology, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, business and consulting services sectors, which are Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-intensive. 

● 21% of hybrid workers in the study work in consumer goods, social services, teaching or real estate and construction, which indicates that the possibility of working in hybrid models continues to expand beyond technology-intensive sectors. 

● On benefits and advantages of hybrid work, 69% of respondents working in hybrid mode reported improvement in managing personal finances - consistent with existing literature that highlights reduced costs as a benefit of hybrid work, 55% reported an increase in workplace motivation. 

● 89% of respondents felt that saving commuting time is the most important advantage of the hybrid model. Four out of five (80%) surveyed also consider flexible working hours as a significant advantage.  

Hybrid workers based in metropolitan areas report greater flexibility and greater participation in the workplace as compared to their counterparts in non-metropolitan areas. More than half (55%) of the respondents living in non-metropolitan areas found the difference in resources available at home as compared to the office set-up to be a major disadvantage. 

Preethi Rao, Associate Director, LEAD at Krea University noted that “With access to the right enabling infrastructure, hybrid work has the potential to provide flexible employment opportunities to women beyond metros. But the option to work remotely and the ease of transition to hybrid work varies by women’s location (metro/other), seniority levels, and sector. Future efforts can focus on bridging data gaps, building use cases for hybrid work across industries and geographies and creating enabling policies for equitable participation in the workforce.” 

Women’s empowerment has been placed at the heart of India’s G20 agenda by the Government of India. Recently, the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India has also encapsulated in his speeches that the way to ensure increased continuance of women’s participation and retention in the workforce is by creating a flexible workspace2. Commenting on the report, Iravati Damle, Head of Government Relations, India, Zoom said, “We are encouraged that the findings of this report endorse the value of flexible work for women’s participation in the economy. Workplace flexibility helps employees achieve greater work-life balance and attracts, engages and retains a gender-diverse workforce.” 

“Flexible work models increase workers’ access to opportunities, enable productivity, foster collaboration, and, for companies, result in a better employee experience that is important for attracting and retaining top talent. Implementing policies and initiatives that promote flexibility will also support women’s participation in the workforce,” added Damle. 

Globally, 21 countries have introduced some form of provision for hybrid workers in the course of the pandemic. Introducing equitable hybrid work policies is an important step towards widening the employment funnel, and providing women with greater choice and flexibility in shaping their career pathways. 

And some countries have some best practices or success stories from other countries that have implemented hybrid models to increase women’s workforce participation. One such was shared by Sachin Alug, CEO, NLB Services. According to him Norway implemented a quota system for women on corporate boards in 2003, which requires that at least 40% of board members of public limited companies be women. The policy has been successful in increasing the number of women on corporate boards in Norway, from just 6% in 2003 to over 40% in 2021.

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