Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd is betting big on employing women as a majority workforce across its factories enthused by their regularity, dexterity and discipline leading to better efficiency in operations.
Some of ITC’s new integrated consumer goods manufacturing and logistics facilities (ICMLs), which include state-of-the-art units in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, employ a majority of women, ranging between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of the total workforce there.
ITC’s food processing plant at Medak in Telangana for instance, employs close to 100 per cent on-roll women workforce. One of its largest FMCG plants at Trichy in Tamil Nadu has close to 1,500 women (nearly 75 per cent of the total workforce) working in the factory, while Mysuru factory also engages around 50 per cent women workforce. Its upcoming factory at Khordha in Odisha would also endeavor to employ majority women workforce.
Ironing out issues
While there may be a few challenges employing women in factories primarily around safety issues and for want of required skills, the company has been constantly engaging with all stakeholders to iron out issues besides providing enabling atmosphere to encourage more women to take up blue-collar jobs.
ICMLs are the newer units of ITC that manufacture a slew of products ranging from Aashirvaad atta, vermicelli, Sunfeast biscuits, cakes, B Natural juices, Bingo! snacks, YiPPee! noodles, dairy and personal care products, among others. This apart, there are about 13 owned factories pertaining to ITC’s other businesses.
The company has identified diversity and inclusion (D&I) as a key priority area as it focuses on scaling up women participation — from recruitment to leadership roles. It has instituted a host of polices, including hybrid work model, additional flexibility in work arrangements for expectant and young mothers, extended maternity and child care leave, travel support for infant and caregiver during business travel by women employees, paternity leave and extension of medical benefits for same gender partners.
These policies, among others, are aimed at enabling an employee-friendly progressive work culture that lends itself to creating an agile, compassionate and nimble organisation, Amitav Mukherji, Head, Corporate Human Resources, ITC Ltd, told businessline.
“To address the initial challenges of sourcing women employees, we entered into partnerships with local vocational training institutes and we constructed programmes to develop the required skills. For all our new factories, we would like women majority workforce. We have seen equally effective operational outcomes in women-dominated units,” Mukherji said.
From ensuring majority of the overall workforce is women across any shift, to providing dedicated transport for pick up and drop of women; equipping vehicles with a GPS; setting up dedicated areas for women workers; employing women security guards to installing CCTV cameras in vehicles and key locations of the plant, ITC has walked that extra mile to ensure safety and provide comfort to its women workforce.