At WeWork India, Diversity and Inclusion is a critical business driver.
Women are underrepresented in leadership roles in the Indian Real Estate industry, where women hold only 2% of leadership positions. Mindful of these realities, WeWork India has been committed to building a gender diverse organisation and building a strong talent pipeline of women leaders in leadership positions.
As of April 1st, 2022, the gender diversity at leadership level of WeWork India was at 33% (11/33) and the inclusion score in the eNPS survey (Employee Net Promoter Score) as of July 2022 was at +78.
However, just meeting diversity numbers isn’t enough for inclusion. WeWork India wanted to have a more focused approach on women leadership, equipping them to manage gender bias and other challenges at leadership level, thereby contributing to increase the gender diversity and inclusion scores by April 1st, 2023.
In line with the above goal, WeWork India wanted to work towards achieving the following objectives:
>Improve Leadership Gender
>Diversity score by April 2023
>Improve Inclusion Score in eNPS by end of December 2022
>Offer sponsorship and learning opportunities for women to become better equipped for the challenges of senior leadership roles, tackle gender bias and its associated barriers
>Create a safe space for women to share workplace experiences, build their professional network and make use of mentorship opportunities to achieve career advancement
>Build an internal network of role models to inspire high potential young women for vertical growth within the organization and promote an inclusive workplace for them
The Women Of WeWork India ERG partnered with TransforMe Learning, to launch “Evolve” – a customised leadership program and a flagship development initiative exclusively for women leaders in WeWork India.
Most of the leadership journeys are seldom effective because they are non-customized and don’t factor in the unique realities of women leaders. Using deep research data, the Evolve framework has been designed to address the realities and challenges of women leaders across the globe. Evolve catalyses an inside-out journey that helps women professionals to:
Create a safe space for deep reflection to help women leaders gain self-clarity by recognizing their internal barriers and identifying their authentic self
Provide a framework to help the women leaders discover skills to elevate their growth and advance in their career
Promote an environment to balance self-promotion with authenticity, aligning goals with intentions
Groom the women leaders to build strategic network and emerge as role models within the organization to prepare the next generation
Evolve makes use of robust diagnostics, TransforMe labs with a blend of 6 methodologies, systemic coaching and gamified simulations for creating breakthrough experiences for women leaders in leadership roles. It is delivered by a diverse group of facilitators and coaches representing various ethnic backgrounds, LGBTQ+ and a unique cultural and gender mix making this program completely rooted in reality. The roadmap of the delivery is illustrated below.
The 4 sessions conducted as virtual lab-based sessions are given below:
1. Mindset to Mindflex Program: This program enabled the women leaders to overcome imposter syndrome and flex their mind for moving forward, faster by discovering 6 mind traps and a 3-step approach to overcome it
2. Influencing without Authority program: This program equipped the women leaders with 6 methods of influencing and various influencing styles that can grow their Influence at work.
3. Building my Brand program: This program helped the women leaders to define, promote and live their personal brand for enhanced credibility
4. Adaptive Leadership program: This program provided the women leaders insights on their respective leadership styles, and how to adapt it for greater effectiveness when working with their team and other stakeholders
The overall roadmap took an inside-out approach, working on a deeper emotive and authentic level to bring about a change within, instead of leaving the participants with superficial frameworks and models to apply.
We observed that the Evolve program had a positive effect on engagement, retention, and business outcomes, which showed a strong correlation with its success. We assessed various criteria to evaluate the program’s impact, such as participant feedback through post-surveys, Net Promoter Score (NPS), internal promotions, career enhancements, and its influence on the team, function, and organization. Additionally, we considered the opportunities provided to women leaders as part of our evaluation process.
Based on the feedback collected from participants, it was evident that the program received a high Net Promoter Score, with approximately 90% of women leaders expressing their willingness to recommend it to their peers. Furthermore, nearly 85% of the women leaders reported an increased sense of confidence in their personal growth and career advancement. Each of them exhibited a mindset of conscious behavioral change by the end of the four-month program.
Evolve Journey was a catalyst in improving the metrics related to Gender Diversity & Inclusion at WeWork India. WeWork India saw a shift from +78 (July 2022) to +85 (7 point increase) on the inclusion score in their eNPS survey in Dec 2022 with 87% favorable responses, and an increase in gender diversity at leadership level, going from 33% (11/33) to 37.5% (15/40) effective April 1st 2023. This is testament to the fact that the combined efforts of the ERGs, inclusive people policies and Evolve program has made a significant impact on employee experience and created a sense of belonging.
While Evolve, helped WeWork India achieve its D&I goals, the success of the program is also captured in the following impact evidence:
1. 57% of the women leaders feel that the Evolve program has acted as a catalyst to help them achieve their respective business goals in the last 5 – 6 months
2. After promotion & role expansion, one of the women leaders from the cohort produced a massive shift in employee engagement scores (+86 in the last survey in December 2022) and improvement amongst women demographic in that function (from +29 to +76) demonstrating strong leadership
3. WeWork Wellness club, an Employee Resource Group focusing on holistic wellness that’s sponsored by a woman leader who was a part of the Evolve program, was launched, indicating her effort to build her brand within the organization
Priti Shetty - Chief People & Culture Officer, WeWork India
“One of the outcomes of the program has been a lot of career growth and development for our women colleagues. We have seen some of them progress into leadership roles, including executive leadership roles. And overall, we have seen a distinct difference in engagement levels as well, as measured through our bi-annual engagement survey.”
Zia Sen, Senior Area Director, South - Community, WeWork India
“When I thought about my mind traps, there were two mind traps that immediately came to mind, and that was control & perfection. And I realized that these two mindsets very specifically were a barrier to doing my job at scale. After going through Evolve, I can now recognize that mind trap and very easily be like shake it off, get out of it.”
Bijayini Dash, Director, Client Solutions, WeWork India
“During this time, there were a couple of things that I changed. One is intentional communication from the very first of the project so that every stakeholder knows what they are supposed to deliver. And being able to connect with each stakeholder. There was a very nice tagline during the coaching - Connect before you Correct - and hence, connection is required before anybody to course correct and you know, guide from there on. So this is something that I have really implemented in the last five months.”
Prasetha Pillai, Associate Director, People, WeWork India
“In the session influencing without Authority, I really learnt about the ability to assertively influence and building my brand credibility. This has helped me build connections with my peers, with my manager, stakeholders as well as broaden my professional network in the last few months.”