Don't Want the Subject of Diversity to be Treated as a CSR or Charity Issue: Nestle India Chief

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In an exclusive conversation with Entrepreneur, Nestle India Managing Director and Chairman Suresh Narayanan spoke about the necessity of having diversity at workplaces.

Talking about equality at workplace for both men and women Narayanan said, “For me this is not an emotive issue, it’s an economic issue. I don’t want the subject of diversity to be treated as a CSR or a charity issue. It’s important for companies to realize that half of mankind can bring a lot of value and growth to organizations and the country.”

Narayanan said that for any employee, the three important factors that help him work at an organization would be as follows –

Does the organization’s values and ideas excite you?

Where is it that my contribution is being recognized and how am I contributing for the organization

Is the company sensitive to my stage of life issues; for example, growing in a organization, having a family, etc. Is there a sensitivity and policy around it?

According to Narayanan, women tend to leave organizations today is because there is a lot of lip service done but honestly people don’t try hard enough to eradicate biases ay workplaces.

Having the right infrastructure is very vital

In order to sustain women workforce at companies, the management should specifically take care of infrastructure that protects women from workplace harassment and comply with workspace hygiene standards as well, Narayanan said.

“At times women get passed over because they have to take a year or two’s break and then companies justify it by saying that you aren’t part of the rat race and so on,” he added.

He also stressed on the need for women to cater into manufacturing and sales related job profiles and the mandatory infrastructure in place to support the same.

“Let us suppose a woman has to work with a distributor or retailer at a small town, most often these distributors will not have a proper, functioning toilet or water facilities, which makes it difficult for women,” he said.

Nestle’s approach  with women at work

Earlier, Narayanan was speaking at an event conducted by NASSCOM on ‘Diversity and Inclusion’, where he spoke about the importance of women in re-launching Maggi in India.

Elaborating on that topic he further said, “In the marketing and communications team we have a good number of women working for us. When Maggi was declared safe by credited laboratories, we ran two ads wherein we showed mothers declaring this to be safe for their children. A lot of women back then, came up with several suggestions on what is there worry as a mother. They gave suggestions around tonality and approaching the situation,”

Narayanan also said that considering that a bulk of their consumers are women, there is a lot of involvement from women at work in product innovation and understanding what works in a kitchen and what doesn’t.