Viacom18 has set a new record in human resource policies with the launch of its women-centric program titled Wave or Women at Viacom18. This women-friendly work-linked benefits program entitles female employees to 36 weeks or nine months of maternity leaves along with other additional benefits. The company claims to be the first company in India to offer this benefit. With the aim of bringing in gender diversity and promoting inclusion at the workplace, Viacom18’s Wave is looking to help women perform to their full potential. The program focuses on four pillars: safety, wellness, life events and career development with various interventions. Other additional benefits include post maternity leave, check-up leaves, paternity leave and an upcoming day-care center. With this move, the media network sets to create a benchmark across industries in human resource department. The policies have already been put to action across all its offices in the country.
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18, said, ‘With Wave or Women at Viacom18, we seek to address the importance of gender diversity in a modern-day organisation. At 38 per cent, the representation of women in our organisation is already above the national average. Over the years we have worked to create an enabling environment to maintain this representation even across higher levels. That said, we have new benchmarks to set as we progress in our journey to become India’s most admired media and entertainment company. Wave is one such step in this direction. The first phase of WAVE is internally-focused and aimed at institutionalising gender diversity, sensitising our workforce and building equity, over equality, for our women employees. Once we have achieved these goals, Wave will transform into a larger platform and even surpass Viacom18’s walls.”
Abhinav Chopra, Chief Human Resource Officer, Viacom18 who had been working on this for past one year and a half, said, “Our constant endeavour is to create a workplace that provides a sense of belonging and a place that makes our employees feel cared for. We have to start establishing equity rather than equality for women. You have to give them equity and opportunities once they are back from leave. Wave is the result of intense research and a number of extensive conversations with employees, to understand their pressing needs. Based on these conversations, we have identified focus areas, which often tend to be the biggest concerns for most working women. Addressing each of these concerns, we have introduced initiatives, from providing night travel to a 36 week maternity leave program to flexible working option for 12 weeks post maternity.”
He added, “We are trying to work with managers and supervisors. We have professional counselors on board who interact with managers or expectant mothers so that they are able to counsel them through the phase. We are trying to bring a change in the mindset.”
Chopra is assured that Viacom18 has already made a benchmark with the percentage of female employees. “At mid to senior level, our women employees (percentage) is 37 per cent. In India it’s about 11 per cent. I am already way ahead.”
When it comes to target, he mentioned that it’s ‘not about recruiting but about making female employees stay.’ He said, “The target is get the initiatives rolling and see what the uptake is. My targets are stratified by levels.” So he is looking to increase women employees count at senior level.