Let’s face it. To thrive both at home and at work as a young mother in India can be a struggle. But the prospects for having a sustainable career are looking better as an increasing number of companies are now competing to support working women and their families.

Working Mother Media, a USA-based gender-parity advocate, and AVTAR, a pioneer in diversity and workplace inclusion in India conducted a survey in 2016 aimed at identifying and promoting progressive policies and programs that can help support women professionals in India. KONE India was one of more than 350 companies to take part in the study, and it ranked among the top 100 companies who are successful in helping women have sustainable careers.

Commenting on the increasing focus on young mothers in the workplace, Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, founder and president, AVTAR Group, said, "The 100 Best Companies for Women in India have exemplary policies that can plug the women talent drain. These policies cushion the career paths for women professionals during key life events such as maternity and help in the retention and growth of these women”.

Understanding women

The participating companies were evaluated on metrics such as access and usage of women’s recruitment, retention and advancement programs; benefits; the availability of flexible work; and paid leave. KONE India fared particularly well when it came to employee benefits and women’s recruitment, retention, and advancement.

“The empathy and support shown by my colleagues in KONE towards the challenges faced by all women is something that makes this company a great place to work,” says Roshan Mabel R, who works in a customer service role at KONE India.

This view is echoed by other women working for KONE in India, who appreciate the flexibility and understanding their managers and colleagues have demonstrated, particularly in circumstances like unexpected health problems and additional leave to care for young children.

Flexible practices

“During all the critical stages of my pregnancy, KONE understood enough to recognize my problem and allowed me to work flexible hours with no impact to business and employee welfare,” said Nithya Kalayani DG, who works in human resources. When she was in the initial phase of her pregnancy, her doctor advised her to take complete rest for a month to eliminate the risks posed to her baby by her three-hour daily commute.

“As I was an individual contributor in my role, it was really tough to take a month off, which would impact the daily routine,” she recalls. “But with the great support from my manager, I was allowed to work flexible hours, which balanced my health without impacting the regular work.”

Now her mother-in-law takes care of Nithya’s one-year-old daughter when she is at work, helping her to juggle the demands of family life and career.

But not everyone has parents or in-laws who can help. Finance Manager Sukanya R lives with her in-laws, but as they are elderly and in poor health, she hires a babysitter to care for her young daughter during office hours.

“I need to avail leave when the babysitter does not turn up,” she says. “Stretching beyond normal working hours during critical days becomes physically and emotionally demanding … My team has been very supportive in handling any emergency in my absence.”

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