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Infosys unveils new HR practices

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Nasscom to encourage gender empowerment

WINNING WITH WOMEN: Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy (right), Chief Mentor, Infosys, and Mr Kiran Karnik, President, Nasscom, at a conference in Bangalore on Thursday. - G.R.N. Somashekar
WINNING WITH WOMEN: Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy (right), Chief Mentor, Infosys, and Mr Kiran Karnik, President, Nasscom, at a conference in Bangalore on Thursday. - G.R.N. Somashekar

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Dec 14

As part of its inclusive HR policy, Infosys will throw open a satellite centre in the heart of the city to enable employees (particularly new and to-be mothers) to cut down on travel time to work.

The centre, which can accommodate up to 50 women at a time, is expected to be opened in the second week of January.

The company has also initiated a pilot project for employees giving them an opportunity to opt for a one-year sabbatical at any point in their careers.

This could be used for childcare, eldercare, higher studies or for health reasons.

Announcing this at the Nasscom IT Women's Leadership Summit in Bangalore today, Mr Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor, said that inclusive policies such as these should be based on justifiable parameters rather than emotional parameters.

"For such policies to work, the organisation should benefit as much as the employees."

Commenting on the state of gender empowerment in the country, Mr Narayana Murthy said that though the male-female ratio in the Indian IT industry seems to be encouraging (65:35), recently published global gender gap survey by the World Economic Forum is disappointing: India ranks 98th among 115 countries surveyed, lower Sri Lanka, Kenya and Algeria.

"We need to understand that women form half of the human resources of this nation, but we have tapped just a fraction of their capacity."

Listing some of the challenges faced by women across the globe, Ms Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale, CEO of Barnes & O'Neale, and diversity expert, said that female employees tend to fall into gender stereotypes that undermine their capabilities, do not have the benefit of networking as their male colleagues and most often, suffer from lack of support for a good work-life balance.

"Indian companies have the advantage of working with global companies and, therefore, learning some of their best practices in the area."

Gender empowerment

Nasscom today announced that it was working on and would soon institute awards to recognise organisations with excellent "gender empowerment practices."

Mr Kiran Karnik, President of Nasscom, said that the IT industry in the country has seen some examples of extraordinary practices that enable gender empowerment.

"We are hopeful that this award will serve to showcase the IT sector's focus on this area, in addition to encouraging companies to do more to attract more female employees."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 15, 2006)
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