Diversity & Inclusion at PhonePe: Creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace

In the first year of its Diversity & Inclusion initiative, PhonePe has seen an increased representation of women in leadership roles, new hires from the trans community, and inclusion of persons with disability in the workforce, creating a diverse, welcoming and positive workplace.
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PhonePe launched its D&I initiative, with a focus on women, LGBTQI and People with Disability in March 2021. A year later, we have almost doubled the number of women in leadership roles from 8 to 14 representing 18% of the senior leadership from 13% at the start.

As we began our work in this space, our goals were to better understand the drivers for women at the workplace and ensure that we were solving for the root cause. For women employees, there were three things which largely emerged - stronger representation at the leadership level so they see role models across the organization; ongoing organization support to manage significant life events and mentoring to help navigate the work environment through initial years of their career.

While we had already invested in hiring more women at the senior levels, we augmented this through structured interventions to enable the transition into senior roles, with focused development plans, exposure to senior leadership and ongoing clarity on expectations.

We also launched Mothers@PhonePe, an initiative to ensure that women who were going on maternity had the right support - from manager empathy to a buddy at work, to flexibility at work to enable them to come back to the workforce when they were ready. We have had multiple examples where women have been able to return to the office and take on more complex roles post maternity, renewing their confidence in their own skills. Parents@PhonePe, a parallel program that covers secondary caregivers also ensured that we were promoting a more balanced distribution of responsibilities among new parents.

In addition, given the challenges of representation in tech, we were specifically focused on increasing representation in this space. We began a pilot mentoring program, where we enabled group and individual support to young female engineers so they could better navigate the environment. The goal was to strengthen informal networks that can enable long term success. We were also able to ensure that 50% of managers hired in the year were women, increasing visible role models in the team. For entry level roles, we are partnering with Crio to create a pipeline of female engineers who can join us over time.

While these are all long term efforts taking time to fruition, we are already beginning to see the first glimpses of positive movement- our overall representation of women went up across levels, for the first time, the engagement scores for women were slightly above those of their male counterparts and most tellingly, more women were willing to talk about their experiences and their expectations openly.

In addition to our efforts for women, we also took our first steps towards creating more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ and PWD communities. We hired 19 people with disabilities across multiple functions, invested time in educating ourselves and ensured that the work environment was equipped to be productive and comfortable for them.

For our LGBTQ efforts, a large part of the focus was on awareness and on ensuring that we conveyed our openness to a diverse workforce. In addition to awareness campaigns and policy updates, we also worked with various external organizations to engage and hire from the LGBTQ community. We have made 3 hires from the trans community and about 8% of the population has identified themselves as LGBTQ as per an anonymous survey.

Last year has been extremely fulfilling as we embarked on our D&I journey. Our goal is to continue working on creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment, where diverse employees felt safe, supported and successful.


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