KSH Group: Fostering an Inclusive Environment

KSH Group
The unique perspectives that women bring to their responsibilities and roles at the workplace, foster collaboration, productivity, and superior service delivery, which are leading them to take senior positions that historically were reserved for their male counterparts.

Khanak Jha, Group Head - Human Resources, KSH Group

A balanced work-life integration requires flexibility and adaptability.

The notion of work-life integration acknowledges that work and personal responsibilities often intersect, requiring flexibility and adaptability. This concept is becoming more entrenched in our professional landscape.

Finding harmony between work and personal life can be challenging, but taking short breaks has proven effective in recharging my energy levels, enabling me to navigate both work and home life. Allocating time for personal interests such as fine arts and health pursuits has been instrumental in maintaining this balance.

It's crucial to assert yourself and articulate your ambitions.

To young women aspiring to pursue a career in logistics, my advice is rooted in empowerment and resilience. In male-dominated industries like logistics, it's crucial to assert yourself and articulate your ambitions boldly. Investing in your professional development and leveraging your strengths are paramount, as is cultivating resilience in the face of challenges.

Additionally, fostering a supportive network of allies, irrespective of gender, can significantly bolster your trajectory. Gender biases persist in many workplaces, with women still encountering hurdles in being heard, respected, and recognized. It's incumbent upon all of us to confront and rectify these biases, whether by calling out double standards or amplifying the voices of our female colleagues. This collective effort is instrumental in driving meaningful change within the industry.

Gender-based wage gaps remain a concern.

It's imperative to acknowledge the systemic disparities that persist. Despite the rapid expansion of the Indian economy and the promising growth of the warehousing and logistics sector, gender-based wage gaps remain a concerning issue. However, the burgeoning opportunities within this industry make it an attractive prospect for women seeking to future-proof their careers.

Women, whether on the frontline or in corporate roles, contribute positively to workplace culture and discipline, underscoring their indispensable role in driving the industry forward. Therefore, advocating for pay equity and fostering an inclusive environment are essential steps towards ensuring fair compensation and opportunities for all professionals in logistics.

Honing one’s skills is what matters regardless of external factors.

Being a woman in logistics, I've encountered hurdles typical of many male-dominated fields. Progressing in my career, I noticed that leadership positions were mostly held by men. Initially unsettling, being the only woman on the team sometimes left me feeling excluded from bonding outside of work. However, I learned to navigate these challenges by focusing on improving my skills, actively participating in discussions, advocating for my needs, and showing compassion. Ultimately, I realized honing one’s skills and being strong at your job is what matters in the end, regardless of external factors.

My role in logistics focuses on people and culture, where technological progress has sparked significant changes. AI, in particular, has revolutionized various aspects such as hiring processes, onboarding procedures, and enhancing employee engagement and productivity. Surprisingly, even tasks like letter drafting and email writing are now driven by AI. While striving to adapt to these advancements, the rapid pace of transformation often presents a challenge. It becomes a constant effort to keep up with the influx of changes, as one innovation follows another, demanding continuous adaptation.

A challenging project involved enhancing the female-to-male ratio in selected warehouses.

We meticulously planned an entire program for hiring women, addressing aspects such as recruitment strategies, infrastructure readiness, and pre-onboarding plans. This included assigning buddies to new hires, ensuring they were well-trained in their rights and responsibilities. We also conducted regular trainings to sensitize the existing staff, ensuring that they were prepared to welcome and appreciate female colleagues.

Post-onboarding, we assessed success metrics such as onboarding experience, productivity levels, and engagement. Despite initial obstacles, including some leaders advocating for immediate hires without considering gender balance, we persevered. By explaining the importance of patience and adhering to our goal of establishing all-women warehouses, we garnered support for an extended timeline.

Recruiting from both the local and migrant workforce posed additional challenges. Negotiating terms and benefits to attract female employees required careful consideration and flexibility. However, through strategic planning and dedicated efforts, we successfully achieved our objective in 50% of the locations. We continued to refine our approach, documenting the entire process and creating a playbook for future diversity hiring initiatives. Reflecting on our experiences through fact-sheets allowed us to identify areas for improvement and ensure readiness for similar projects in the future.

Collaborative efforts by the industry and government can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in logistics.

Women in logistics face challenges such as gender imbalance and the industry's requirement for long hours in remote locations, hampering their attraction and retention.

Government initiatives, such as establishing educational institutions and training programs tailored to the logistics sector, can prepare more women for industry roles. Mandating certain facilities like canteens, childcare facilities, and transportation for logistics companies could also make the sector more attractive to women. Additionally, government incentives for companies with Returnship programs or Female Internship initiatives could further encourage women's participation in logistics.
LIFTING & SPECIALIZED TRANSPORT, March - April 2024
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