BCWI: Why ‘being annual’ matters…

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It has been a year since the largest corporate exercise on gender analytics – the Working Mother & AVTAR Best Companies for Women (BCWI) initiative was launched in India. With its stellar legacy of a 31-year-old existence in the US under the aegis of Working Mother Media (a celebrated gender parity champion in the US), the second Indian edition is fast moving towards the June 30th deadline of application filing.

But as part of the launch team at AVTAR, let me confess something – 2016 will always remain special. It saw the coming together of over 350 companies in India, all intent on the cause of gender inclusion, for the very first time. It was witness to the uninhibited honesty of these organisations in tabulating and sharing policy/program/practice related metrics with a ‘gender’ cut. But most importantly, it saw these organisations investing their time and effort in an ‘ambitious-but-yet-to-see-results’ initiative that wanted to make gender inclusive tracking of policies, one of the most normal ‘things to do’ in India Inc. And so it was special – all of it was special – the several hundred phone calls and discussions, the mail avalanche on BCWI, the many night outs towards putting together the very first edition of the Yearbook featuring 100 Best and of course, the awards night and celebrations!

And now, the second edition of the Working Mother & AVTAR Best Companies is here! I have to say, 2017 is turning out to be even more special. As we speak, we have received over 250 registrations and at least double that number by way of expressions of interest.

The finishing line for submission of applications by companies is about a month away. As we move towards that, we want to put to rest any concern that a company that was part of the inaugural 2016 Working Mother & AVTAR 100 Best Companies for Women in India List, may have towards participation. Allow me to do a ‘voice-over’ for voicing these concerns.

  1. Company: “We haven’t done anything new or innovative as different from the previous year (2015). As such, we don’t think our rankings will change. So we have decided not to participate this year.”

Team AVTAR:

  • As you know, the public listing is alphabetical in nature. BCWI is not a public ranking system. So in all probability, you being part of the list would mean that the world would see you at a consistent place.
  • It is only through participationthat you can continue to keep tab on various gender diversity metrics (and eventually make the process of tracking diversity metrics, a natural one)
  • It is only through participationthat you can continue to look at fresh perspectives that this year’s form has to offer
  • And it is only through participation that you can benchmark yourselves again a better and newer set of 100 Best.

We do not skip over school examinations if we feel under-prepared, do we? We go ahead and give the exam because we (and not the others) need to know where we stand. That exactly is the point. Look at BCWI as a company level self-assessment exercise. You need to be ‘annual’ for reaping long term benefits. And of course you have an edge, you know much of the ‘question paper’ already!

2. Company: “It is the management’s decision to participate in studies and surveys once in two years. So we will not participate this year.”

Team AVTAR:

  • All of Point 1

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  • BCWI does not include qualitative employee feedback surveys – it will not consume significant employee man-hours
  • The only investment required of you is a few man-hours of one or two critical resources from the HR team.
  • If in case the team is new and/or the SPOC has changed, we can additionally arrange to share a copy of your last year’s form after you complete the procedural formalities (Registration and confirmation) for this year, which can speed up application filing.

3. Company: “Last year’s scorecard tells us that we are in a very nascent stage in terms of our policy framework for women’s career enablement. We will participate at a later point of time when we feel ready.”

Team AVTAR:

  • All of Point 1

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  • Only companies that were extremely intent on the cause were part of edition 1. Your ‘nascence’ is in comparison to the Best-in-class!
  • It is only through participation  that you can look towards branding yourselves as a “Best Company for Women in India” and stay visible in the space.

4. Company: “It is just too much of time and effort. Sorry – we wouldn’t participate.”

Team AVTAR:

  • We can offer you any assistance you may want in terms of application filing. We are just a phone-call/e-mail away.
  • As part of the application form, we will give you a glossary of key definitions for easy and quick reference. We can also help you with offline versions of the form to ease data collation
  • And of course all of Point 1, 2 and 3.

As the voice over ends, let me reiterate the fact that BCWI is here to stay. In the years to come, the marketplace will become more and more familiar with this recognition, potential recruits and employees both will want to make sure that the companies they apply to and work for are on the list! As we march towards Planet 50:50 by 2030, being on the BCWI List would eventually be a seal of approval of your inclusivity! The investment for this conviction begins at http://www.avtariwin.com/best-companies !!