“Recruiting women at senior levels can’t be done with a ‘tick in the box’ approach to prove a point; there has to be a strong business case. In terms of talent acquisition, we maintain a non-judgmental attitude towards all genders.” 

Kavita Mathur, people and culture leader, Grant Thornton India

Since dialling up focus to increasing gender balance, Grant Thornton India has honed in on unconscious bias in hiring, and family-friendly working practices, to ensure all employees have equal opportunities and rewards.

Since 2018, the primary focus of Grant Thornton India’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda has been to raise awareness of the negative impacts of unconscious bias, both in the hiring process and in interactions between staff. Supporting this aim, the firm runs quarterly campaigns highlighting female achievers, celebrating their personal and professional journeys and achievements.

Industry stalwarts and women leaders are invited to address staff through panel discussions and talks, and quarterly mailers profiling successful women within the firm are circulated. In 2019, the firm organised workshops on unconscious bias for 65 People. This year, that same set of employees will take the training to their colleagues firm-wide.

Equality in everything

As well as showcasing success stories and creating role models, gender equality within Grant Thornton India means equal employment opportunities and gender pay parity. In 2016 the firm adopted the ‘one rank, one pay’ policy, which has so far been rolled out to ensure that equal pay is awarded for staff at the same level of seniority.

Gender balance initiatives also include creating a safe work environment where women feel confident and secure in their physical surroundings, through the ‘Women Safety Policy’ for those working late in office. Another popular programme is ‘Celebrating Parenthood’, which normalises family commitments and helps people achieve better work-life balance. Policy interventions such as flexi-work, working from home, and part-time working arrangements have all been introduced to address issues around women not returning to work after having children.

The journey to diversity

“Achieving gender parity is a transformational journey for the firm, as opposed to a series of incremental changes,” says Kavita Mathur, people and culture leader, Grant Thornton India. “And building awareness is a step towards that change. With consistent ideas exchange, we are moving in the right direction. For us, the first target is to achieve a wider behavioural transformation to support women.”

The culture change journey good2Great, which began in 2018, has been instrumental in creating an open mindset on women’s issues among managers. “Unconscious bias is one of the most common hurdles faced by managers on the road to inclusivity. We have seen many situations where managers overcame their unconscious bias by having more authentic conversations on what women want from their workplace in a non-judgmental way,” says Mathur. “In fact, this approach gets desired results with both women and men.”

Awareness of unconscious bias

Awareness of unconscious bias has been a particular focus for Grant Thornton India, which is working to eradicate this element from the hiring process. “We encourage managers to hire candidates from a diverse background with a non-judgmental mindset. And from a process standpoint, we are watchful of rejections based on a candidate’s gender,” says Mathur. In addition, the firm has created the ‘ABC of Bias’ training module, taken by more than 30 employees to date. These people will act as D&I ambassadors, disseminating their training firm-wide.

“As a firm, we have always believed in the power of gender diverse teams and understand how important it is to provide equal opportunities to all. It is our belief raising awareness and building gender sensitisation is crucial.” 

Kavita Mathur, people and culture leader, Grant Thornton India

See diversity and inclusion initiatives in action and download our 2020 Women in Business report.