Indian companies and #metoo – the right approach
Amongst all the #metoo news we have been reading recently, Sundar Pichai’s note to Google employees with subsequent policy changes, Facebook, eBay and Airbnb following suit and most recently, Flipkart CEO’s sudden resignation draw immense attention. The #metoo movement, which is a year old globally, has spared no industry or sector. It is now in India with the same intensity and growing. So, what does it mean for Indian workplaces specifically? Should Indian managements do something differently? The Indian legislation already has a strong framework and prescribes a fair and transparent methodology for adjudication of sexual harassment issues and complaints at the workplace. Therefore, the bigger question is whether it is being implemented effectively?
With so much being said and so many advocates voicing their opinions strongly, companies that already have redressal mechanisms in place, can go above and beyond by doing a few things additionally:
- Strongly communicate and reinforce/reiterate their commitment to creating a culture of zero-tolerance to sexual harassment at the workplace
- Strengthen their adherence to legal principles and build a stronger foundation of compliance that is fair, unbiased, neutral and objective
- Infuse a sense of confidence in employees by adopting non-retaliation and gender-neutral policies (if not already in place)
- Understand the voice of employees and provide creative and innovative mechanisms for feedback and open communication
The key is to follow the law both in letter and in spirit. These may be the next steps in building a culture stronger in compliance, that effectively deters behaviours of sexual harassment at all levels in the organisation and creates workplaces that are safe and healthy that have the ability to attract and retain a talented workforce.