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Steering Women to the Forefront

Enabling and empowering women to return to work and steer leadership roles


Steering Women to the Forefront

Enabling and empowering women to return to work and steer leadership roles

Culture is what you practice. And Infosys is focused on cultivating a culture of inclusiveness, openness, a mindset of exploration, and applied innovation. Life at Infosys means experiencing and contributing to this environment every day. It also means being a part of a dynamic culture where employees are united by a common purpose: to amplify human potential and create the next opportunity for people, businesses, and communities. Infosys’ efforts toward gender diversity in the workplace emphasize the participation of women in three key areas – Technology, Management, and Leadership.

As part of its ESG Vision 2030, the company has committed to strengthening the key pillars of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Infosys aims to have at least 45% women employee representation in its workforce. In the fiscal year 2022, the company achieved 39.6% women representation in its workforce and 25% on the board of the company.

Maximising Human Potential

For an organization of its size – with over 3.3 lakh employees globally – achieving consistency in experience at the workplace is what found Infosys a place among the Top 50 India’s Best Workplaces™ Lists for 2022. A key assessment parameter was women’s perception of equality at Infosys which has seen considerable increase over the last year.

Presently, a challenge that many organizations continue to face is the dwindling number of women employees returning to work post career breaks. Empirical data suggests that women who leave their jobs are unable to resume their careers due to lack of good opportunities, the continuous burden of societal norms, and work-life challenges. The latter was further accentuated during the pandemic when children were attending school virtually from home, placing an enormous additional responsibility of childcare on employed mothers.

Today, Infosys wants to be at the forefront of implementing thoughtful, proactive, all-inclusive strategies to encourage women to return to work. The Indian IT behemoth has started redesigning its employment models to ensure a more positive trajectory for returning women employees. The crème de la crème of their practices is the Infosys’ Maternity Handbook, which articulates their promise to provide a considerate and enabling ecosystem for women. This program has resulted in a phenomenal 92% of women returning to work and 88% continuing their professional journeys with Infosys even after a twelve-month break, in the financial year 2021. The company provides a Manager’s Guide, which acts as a tool for managers to follow through on the core commitments made in the Maternity Handbook to facilitate the integration of returning mothers effectively. The company’s InfyMe app has a smart support service called iMother, launched on International Women’s Day this year, designed to be a one-stop shop for women returning to the company from maternity leave.

Furthermore, another initiative, Mom’s Net, provides women with well-appointed workstations, interaction spaces, and lactation rooms – all of which facilitate a safe and comfortable environment for the seamless integration of new mothers returning into the workforce. An enablement module called Unpause helps ease the process of reintegration into the ecosystem. The Family Matters ERG focuses on programs regarding parenting, relationship, emotional and psychological well-being of parents and their children.

But that’s not all. Infosys also implemented a wide range of initiatives to ensure that women steer ahead from leadership positions. Career growth is a key aspect of Infosys’ vision.

“At Infosys, we are working towards creating an ecosystem that maximizes the potential of our women workforce, empowers them for leadership roles, and offers them emotional and psychological support to perform well. Our focus is on enhancing their unique capabilities so that they can continue to grow and take on new opportunities within the company.” says, Krish Shankar, Executive Vice President and Group Head of Human Resource Development, Infosys.

Great Place To Work® research shows that leaders in the Best Workplaces seem to be doing three things remarkably well. They build credibility for their leadership team; they communicate that they care; they create opportunities for career growth. At Infosys, women-focused policy initiatives have played an instrumental role in building the credibility of their women leaders. They are as follows:

Infosys Leadership Institute launched IamtheFuture -Women in leadership program in December 2020. IamtheFuture program was designed to bring an integrated and holistic approach with a strong focus on capability enhancement with a supportive ecosystem, opportunities, and a strong pipeline for the future. Combining deep personalization with contemporary content and organization context, the program design focuses on all aspects of the business need and challenge, built around 3 pillars:

  • Accelerating the Readiness: to enhance the business and leadership skills and capabilities, thus helping them make the most of the opportunities that come their way.
  • Fostering an Inclusive Ecosystem: to ensure women experience a safe, positive, supporting and enabling environment at work which enables them to bring their best to work every day.
  • Strengthening the Pipeline: Building capability and ensuring an inclusive ecosystem will be rendered ineffective if the organization didn’t have a strong slate of women ready to take up leadership positions in the future.

Since its launch about 2 years ago, IamtheFuture Women in Leadership program has brought a concerted and holistic focus and attention to a critical but extremely challenging organizational objective of increasing the representation of women in leadership via some industry leading best practices.

  • They also launched “Orbit Next” in April 2021 to increase the participation of women at the leadership level. The year-long program focuses on business leadership, cutting-edge technology, and networking. Employees who undergo the program get an opportunity to work with a career coach to help navigate them through their careers. Till date, over 200 high-performing and high-tenured employees at the mid-management level have graduated and another 1200 women been enrolled in this program for Fy23 at the Global Delivery level.
  • Women for Innovation: W^2RT (Women Wizards Rule Technology) is yet another flagship program at Infosys in partnership with NASSCOM – India’s tech industry trade association, to skill 10,000 women on new and emerging technologies in India.
  • Women in Management (WIM) is an immersive 3-day workshop focused on competencies in self, teams, clients, and business.
  • Women in Executive Leadership (WIEL) is an exclusive intervention program targeted at building the leadership talent pipeline of women.
  • Women of Infy is a popular weekly blog on their intranet called “Sparsh” that showcases women at Infosys and their stories of courage, grit, and accomplishment.
  • Women in Technology (WiT) is a year-long mentoring and learning program for high-potential women.
  • Inspiring Women Series is a unique initiative created with the Infosys Leadership Institute to bring forward stories of women leaders from diverse backgrounds to inspire the younger generation.

The Infosys Diversity and Inclusion project management office also orchestrates interventions through a three-pronged strategy. It first reintegrates women on career breaks through the RestartWithInfosys program462 women were hired over the last three years. They help to groom and nurture high potential women for leadership roles through Orbit Next, which includes Training, Mentoring & Coaching through Executive Sponsors. And lastly, women retention through a combination of Return-to-Work Programs and Flexi Assignments to support women at critical life stage events and Engaging Returning Mothers through the allocation of meaningful projects, as mentioned earlier.

Infosys is proud of the culture it has built and constantly endeavours to better its people practices. Infoscions believe that none of the amazing things they do at Infosys would be possible without an environment where employees feel empowered to move forward with their ideas to succeed at work.

"Authored by Reba Coelho, Senior Consultant – Consulting, Supported by Keyuri Singh, Project Manager - Consulting"