By TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India & South Asia, Visa
Just last week, Visa was a lead sponsor at the Global Advancement of Women conference in Mumbai. While there, I had the great privilege of speaking on a panel entitled “Men as Allies,” a discussion around how senior male leaders are supporting and advocating for women in the workplace. In the same spirit of the #HeforShe movement, the idea of making gender equality matter within organizations and communities isn’t far from what we believe at Visa—the promise of universal acceptance is fundamental to all we do. As a culture, we proudly embrace individual differences and capabilities, recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments and talents of everyone.
It’s certainly an honor when this effort is recognized by Working Mother magazine, which just released its annual list of 100 Best Companies for Women in India to Work at the conference, highlighting Visa and othe organizations that successfully help women build their careers.
Visa regularly participates in the Women in the Workplace 2016 study conducted by LeanIn.org and McKinsey, which highlights that although many CEOs believe gender equality is a business priority, the challenges for women largely remain. Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager, limiting the path to leadership and hiring for more senior positions. The study also revealed that gender diversity yields more innovation and is tied to financial performance, which benefits all employees. All the more reason why men should play a mor proactive role supporting the success of talented women within their organizations, across all levels.
Visa’s Unconscious Bias Training program has helped us as leaders identify and eliminate hidden stereotypes and biases. More often than not, these biases can appear in subtle ways that inevitably make women feel they are being judged by a different standard. This awareness goes a long way in creating an environment in which individual differences are valued and contribute to the success of our business. Delving deeper behind the issues allows us to ensure we’re truly a place where everyone has a fair and equal ability to demonstrate potential and grow their careers.
My colleague Rama Tadepalli, product head for India and South Asia at Visa, participated in the closing session of the Global Advancement of Women conference entitled, “Women Rising,” where they had a conversation around how women can effectively use their power to be tech trailblazers within their organizations. She said, “It was powerful to be in a room with women who are passionate about elevating their careers and personal goals to new heights and in brave new territories. I’m delighted that Visa actively supports the evolution of our careers, as well as our lifestyles and well-being—and is putting together a structured program to strengthen women in leadership.”
In addition to paid time off and paid maternity leave, Visa has taken extra steps to provide flex time. We provide transportation services for women to reach their homes safely when they work beyond normal working hours.
We’ve actively sponsored other conferences in Bangalore that also focus on women technologists like the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing India (GHCI). For several years, this has been an excellent way for us to meet talent and reinforces our support for equality in the workplace and the advancement of women in technology. In fact, the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing and host of GHCI, announced that Visa is one of the top 25 organizations leading in recruiting, retaining and advancing women in technical roles. ABI evaluated a number of companies in the tech, financial and media sectors and listed Visa along with others like, American Express, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Intel, The New York Times and Thomson Reuters.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) also encourage networking and collaboration, like the Visa Women’s Network (VWN), with sponsored events like the International Women’s Day celebration where achievements are highlighted and ideas are shared on how to continue to build a diverse and inclusive workforce. The network in India also hosts leadership and speaker series to promote female role models and gain valuable career insights. They also raised awareness on the connection between health, wellness and living a more productive life and shared plans to ensure Visa India is a vibrant place to work.
The recent launch of our Visa University online also provides a place where employees can develop new skills, access courses and discover tools and resources to help grow in their current role and prepare for future roles.
We believe that diversity of thought, life experience, cultural perspectives and talents is what makes our company successful. Visa India is still growing and we’re looking for innovators, collaborators, people who care about the community they live and work in, who seek out opportunities to grow and most of all are passionate about making an impact. Visit visa.com/careers to explore where you can join our team.