August 2016

'Mosaic is a catalyst of change'

Tata Steel’s diversity and inclusion programme Mosaic is already showing good results, according to Atrayee S Sanyal, the lady who wears two hats at Tata Steel — that of chief diversity officer and chief of marketing and sales, (branded products, retail and solutions services

Why is diversity and inclusion (D&I) important for Tata Steel and what impact have you seen since the launch of the Mosaic initiative?
Tata Steel has a diverse culture since qualified professionals from different places settle down and work at our facilities. We believe that for us, D&I is not a choice, but a way of life. Tata Steel believes that the organisation should be a reflection of the mix that is visible in the society we live in. Building an equitable culture and a diverse leadership team is a responsibility we take seriously. We aim to improve our diversity mix to 25 percent by 2020 with special focus on increasing gender diversity to 20 percent from the current level of 6 percent. Mosaic is a catalyst of change in the organisation. It reinforces an existing culture of respecting the uniqueness of individuals. There is a deep belief that people should have as much fulfillment at work as they have at home with their families. Since the launch of Mosaic, some of the significant changes have been:

  • Launch of various work-life balance policies.
  • As compared to FY15, there has been a 4 percent increase in the recruitment of female officers, and 4.5 percent increase in lateral hiring of women.
  • Over 100 senior-level officers across all locations have gone through a gender sensitisation programme.
  • Our leadership development programme for women has covered over 90 senior officers.
  • Gender diversity at senior leadership level has increased to 6.2 percent in FY16, compared to 4.3 percent in FY15.

What are the key challenges for Tata Steel in the D&I journey, given that manufacturing and heavy engineering sectors do not attract a lot of female talent?
Tata Steel is a cosmopolitan organisation and emerging as one with a diverse workforce in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and ability. Given the nature and width of our operations, challenges do exist, such as:

  • Changing the law of the land: Amendment of Factories & Mines Act to allow women to work beyond the current hours of 6am to 7pm.
  • Changing entrenched mindsets at all levels.
  • Effectively communicating across channels to overcome cultural and language differences.
  • Smooth and effective implementation of various policies.
  • Creating infrastructure, facilities, sensitivity and mindset to welcome differently-abled people in our workforce.

Can you tell us more about policies at Tata Steel to support employees through critical life stages like parenthood?
After the launch of Mosaic, we revised our maternity policy and introduced other policies to support our employees during the critical phase of becoming parents and beyond. The objective was to help employees balance their personal responsibilities with work commitments and provide a support structure through day care centres, work from home options, etc.

Can you tell us about your career journey, within and outside Tata Steel? What were the best experiences?
I started my career in 1994 in the FMCG industry as a market research professional in Hindustan Unilever, Mumbai. In 1998, I joined Tata Steel where I was responsible for spearheading its branding journey. In my current role, I manage a Rs13,000 crore business portfolio. I also serve on the board of Tinplate Company of India. In addition, I was appointed the chief diversity officer a year back. Most importantly, I am a mother of two children. I enjoy various aspects of life and have a host of hobbies without which I am incomplete.

What is your advice to young women in the Tata group, especially those who are interested in building their careers in manufacturing?
I keep giving a few key messages to women which are as follows:

  • Value yourself: If we do not value ourselves, others won’t.
  • Job or career? Sometimes our challenges on the personal front are so high that we are happy doing a job and that is the end of a career because it kills ambition.
  • Chart your own path: Many women in manufacturing face benevolent sexism – “This job is not meant for a woman.” Don’t let others decide this for you.
  • Expand your horizon: Unless you decide to face the heat, the results won’t come your way. Many women shy away from demanding roles that are high on accountability and impact top or bottom line.
  • Get into the circle: You need to connect, be accessible, enjoy your work and be interested in people around you. Some people call this networking; I call it the circle of life. If we are not interested in the circle we operate in and don’t keep expanding it, we will live in a box forever.