Sylvine Sarmah, Assistant General Manager – Legal & Compliance, Real Estate Management Services, Colliers India lists company-wide policies that can attract and retain women to the FM workforce.
The hiring process for clients’ sites is done entirely by the talent acquisition team of the company and we ensure no inherent gender biases skew the hiring process. We also ensure that all contracts with our clients include causes that ensure the deployment process at site is completely gender-neutral. Our service partners are also made well aware of the need to rise beyond outdated hiring practices and ensure that the blue-collar workforce deployment from their end is also free from gender bias.
Before taking over a site, we conduct a thorough assessment of the workplace to identify potential hazards and areas of concern. The assessment should cover all areas of the workplace, including workstations, restrooms, break rooms, and common areas. Workstations, common areas, corridors, etc are also thoroughly monitored through CCTV cameras and security is increased at the blind spots to make women feel safe.
also ensure that our operations team keeps our sites well-lit, especially in areas where female employees may be working alone or during off-hours.
This can help address the issue of work-life balance. We encourage all employees to manage their daily tasks during the working hours of the day and discourage employees from staying beyond their working hours. The employees are also offered sufficient flexibility at work so that if the need arises, they can choose to work from home for a part or the entirety of their workday. This allows women to better balance their family responsibilities with their careers.
Although it is not a legal requirement for companies in India to provide paternity leave, the company has recently changed its policies to provide longer paternity leaves so that their spouses (although not a part of the company in most cases) do not feel like they have to shoulder the entire responsibility of caregiving alone. It is important for companies to set precedent in the industry as a whole so that other companies are encouraged to do the right thing.
In the facility management industry, resources are hired mostly for deployment at sites. Hence, not only at the managerial level but even at the site level, we ensure that equal pay is rewarded to equal work and we conduct regular pay audits, internally as well as that of our service partners, to ensure that women are being paid fairly for the work they do and there is no pay discrimination.
The company offers a number of mentorship programs and training opportunities to help women develop the skills they need to advance in their careers. The company also has a very transparent appraisal mechanism which enables women to seek more responsibilities and the benefits that come along with such role expansion and scaling.
We do have a stiff and aspirational target of having a minimum of 30% of our on-roll staff to be women by 2025.