Thursday, 22 May 2014

Removing gender bias is a collaborative effort

It is important for an organization to ensure that managers and subordinates work collaboratively to remove gender biases

Rajesh Tripathi

Gender bias occurs because of personal values, perceptions, traditional and orthodox ideologies one hold on to in his life. Whenever we talk of gender bias at workplace, it is commonly referred to the discrimination women face at the workplace. At an age where people and activists are advocating the thoughts of emancipation of women and the need of ‘socent’ culture, there is a ruthless fact that only 4.2% of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies are female.
We can break down gender biasness at the workplace into three different types. These are namely biasness in terms of growth opportunities, remuneration, and treatment meted out at the work place. A majority of women carry apprehensions to come out in open about such biasness. On other occasions, they just go with what they assume and don’t try to seek the reality.
If we compare traditional jobs against the non-traditional ones, we observe that women are relegated or else considered for low-paying, clerical or administrative jobs initially, as opposed to men who are more likely to be placed in career paths straightway. For example, in the manufacturing sector, women are more often assumed as not strong enough to tackle shop floor hassles. They are, therefore, considered only for table or back office jobs. The perceptions of people influence their thought process and they are driven by that. The natural cycle of a women’s life also adds to their woes. As maternity leave is considered not a mere sabbatical but more of a stop gap in their career. This also hinders their employers and their aspirations are curtailed so as to limit their considerations for potential leadership roles in their organization. Even in management functions, options are limited for them because of their limitations with mobility. Since they also have to manage their domestic front, this parallely add as a catalyst to the cause.
Gender bias at the workplace often leads to a hostile working environment. Employee motivation may be hampered. It may reach to a level where the company is in the news for all the wrong reasons. This ultimately diminishes and slowly annihilates the company’s brand image. Gender discrimination also results in loss of productivity as employees are not motivated enough to give their best. Such kind of discrimination also creates an imbalance in the workforce population as women tend to leave the corporate workplace in pursuit of better career alternatives.
Not offering fair opportunities to women may translate into lost business prospects. Women are considered to be more innovative and creative. The human resource department within an organization plays an important role in promoting equitable practices and also creating an environment to foster the best in them. To drive the message on the need to inculcate the value of fair treatment, whether be it with managers or with subordinates, is a collaborative effort.

Topics: Culture

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Rajesh Tripathi

Rajesh Tripathi is the Vice President & Head-Human Resource at GHCL Limited More

Published in People Matters 20-May-2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

When the corridors of Power & Commerce Collide

As published in the Times of India, 21-May-2014

Monday, 19 May 2014

Salaries: whether to keep Transparent or Confidential?

My views as published in the Hindustan Times

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Is your Cost-Orientation a hindrance to Company Growth?

Research reveals that brain at any given opportunity does try getting into the comfortable zone, what makes our Habit. If the same theory is applied on organisations which are considered living entity, brains of employees try doing routine, controllable activities.

Every organisation – for any activity, big or small does follow the Principle of Planning to undertake an activity. But deep down every activity being undertaken is seen under the lens of cost. Therefore, planning, invariably turn out to be a ‘Cost Planning’. Reason, cost planning by & large is under the control of the company. In other words, cost planning makes a company becoming its own customer. For example, decisions pertaining to how many employees to hire, how many machines to procure, how much raw material to purchase, how much money to spend on capex etc. This nature of the organisation displays the peculiar traits associated with a customer and like any other customer, the organisation decides to stop buying a particular practice or service. Focus therefore remains the cost. However, as always, there are exceptions to it where company has no control over some of the costs, as it may be imposed on it under some laws. Bust such costs as imposed on a company by others make up a relatively small fraction of the overall cost. Primarily, most of the costs are derivative of company controlled costs. Do agree with me on it, Reader?

But very axiomatic question comes to mind, why companies get into such thinking mode? Simple reason- it is very easy to plan controlled costs with relative precision. It is this tendency of organisations which turns out to be anti-growth for them.

Mind it, I am not saying cost planning should not be done, but one must ensures that those costs which can help organisations grow further, should be undertaken. Strategy oriented costs should not be seen under the lens of Cost Planning.

 Second obvious question comes in mind is when learned professionals know flip side of this approach, why then does it happen? To my understanding, it is due to ‘planning-oriented-mangers’ tend to apply familiar, comfortable cost-side approaches to the revenue side as well; treating Revenue Planning as virtually identical to Cost Planning. But that does not in fact work for Revenue Planning. Revenue Planning is in the hands of customers and not under the control of organisation except in case of monopolistic markets.

“Bottom-line for ‘Bottom-line-obsessed companies is predictability of costs, is fundamentally different from the predictability of revenue.”

I can very well say, if companies want to grow, they must apply different principles to Cost Planning and Revenue Planning, or otherwise they will become redundant one day, as cost whatever one does will be having spiralling effect. No one can cut every cost. Revenue be given more importance to cost without blinking on cost under control approach.