New Delhi/Pune: In line with its vision of encouraging gender diversity and promoting women leaders in business, Telenor has been taking steps to create an equitable work-life balance for employees,and the results have been significant. In 2015, Telenor has seen more than 100% increase in women employees across functions like network operations, product development, sales and distribution and social media.
With this targeted approach Telenor now has over 11% female employees. The telecom industry average is pegged at less than 3%. The company has also focused on hiring differently-abled people. Last year 59 such candidates were recruited.Of these 21 were women. Telenor is also promoting entrepreneurship among women. Over 3% of its 2050 retails outlets are now run by women.
Congratulating everyone on Women’s Day and highlighting the approach to bridge the gender gap, Quazi Mohammad Shahed, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), Telenor India said, “Stimulating diversity at workplace and inclusive growth are the core values of Telenor. It is well established now that companies with increased representation of women employees perform better than those without an inclusive strategy. With this not only the reputation of the company increases but even the talent pool widens. At Telenor we are making conscious efforts to increase the number of female employees so that we can benefit from their positive contribution to the overall functionality of the organization.”
Telecom is viewed as one of the most challenging sector for women to work as it requires 24×7 commitment. As many women discontinue their jobs after marriage or maternity, Telenor has put special emphasis on providing the necessary infrastructure to retain them and gives them a career path post maternity. Telenor was the first telecom operator in India to introduce six monthsmaternity leave and has extended the benefits by offering child care allowance to new mothers for 12 months post their comeback.
To overcome post maternity challenges and retain top talent, Telenor has introduced various other programmes for women like flexible working hours, work from home policy and gender sensitization at workplace. Telenor is also offering extended mobility benefits for women employees by promoting movement across circles.
“We encourage lateral movement of female colleagues in different business functions within Telenor circles (locations) if it helps in their career progression. Besides these there are training modules and development centers to make women employees ready for leadership roles both for domestic and as well international assignments. Telenor India is also trying innovative ways like theatre based training to sensitize employees on day to day biases and dilemmas, and suggest ways to overcome stereotypes at workplace,” said Shahed.
As part of its commitment to empowerwomen and bridge the gender gap within and outside the organisation,last year Telenor India inaugurated three contact centersat Jamshedpur in Jharkhand; Solan in Himachal Pradesh and Ethakota near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. These facilities are being are managed by Tata-BSS and aims at creating employment opportunities in the IT sector for not only urban women but also for ones who come from rural parts of these states.
Telenor also operates an outbound call center from Patna called DIAL which is run by women. This center supports “Project Sampark” that targets to reduce ‘gender gap in mobile usage’ and increase rural women’s access to mobile phones. Project Sampark is a combination of retail and product innovations that has resulted in a unique model that addresses some of the key barriers of women’s access to mobile telephony.
Project Sampark is active across 87 villages in Aligarh district and has seen significant improvement in tele-density among women in the area. For the project, Telenor has designed a new distribution model that not only brought the retail shop at the door step of the target families but also created livelihood opportunities for women in the area.
Telenor aims to continue and expand its women centric initiatives this year too.
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