AVP – Corporate Communications,
JCB offers a positive ecosystem to women employees where they feel safe and motivated.
What started as a single manufacturing unit in 1979 with an all-male workforce has transformed into five state-of-the-art factories with over 345 women, which is 11% of the total workforce across all locations in JCB India. “Our policies on recruitment, remuneration, and career progression mirror ‘zero discrimination’ both in letter and spirit,” states Jasmeet Singh, AVP – Corporate Communications, JCB India. Excerpts from the interview…
Could you please spell out JCB India’s vision on gender diversity?
JCB, as a brand, believes in continual transformation. Our brand philosophy, ‘Always looking for a better way’, reflects this vision; with gender diversity and inclusion deeply anchored in the organisational culture.
What started as a single manufacturing unit in 1979 with an all-male workforce has transformed into five state-of-the-art factories with over 345 women, which is 11% of the total workforce across all locations in JCB India.
In the last five years, JCB has been able to tap enormous women potential – from generating job opportunities at the grass root level to welcoming women at leadership positions. Our internal targets encourage absolute diversity both in terms of roles and meaningful engagement. Today, our Jaipur plant has an over 30% women shop floor workforce and we aim to raise this number each passing year.
How do you assess the concept and scope for gender diversity on the shop floor and what are the initiatives taken to step up the same?
For us, diversity is not a middle ground where we recruit women as just part of a mandate. It is a long-term commitment, an initiative where we ensure that women at JCB are engaged in meaningful roles.
To promote diversity and inclusion, JCB offers a positive ecosystem to women employees where they feel safe and motivated. In our Jaipur Plant, women are engaged in all business units. Not a single department or responsibility is bereft of their participation. From heavy-duty welding jobs to operating hi-tech robots, women are involved in almost everything on the shop floor.
As an equal opportunity employer, JCB pays considerable attention to ensure that both men and women are employed and promoted based on their merit. The company’s internal job rotation policy enables employees to expand their capabilities and choose roles that interest them. Our ‘learning and development’ principles ensure all our employees are upskilled and trained to harness their full potential.
JCB sees diversity as a step towards social transformation where women are encouraged to break age-old barriers. It fills us with pride to see how many of our women employees have become role models in their hometowns.
What are the initiatives taken to ensure a safe working environment on the shop floor?
Safety is among ourprime organisational priorities. Our safety principles, ‘Stop-Call-Wait’ and ‘Stop-Wait-Control’, reiterate employees’ responsibility and authority to ‘Stop’ a process when something abnormal or unsafe occurs, ‘Call’ for support, and ‘Wait’ for support to arrive or ‘Control’ through intervention.
Our constant endeavours towards ensuring safety at work have engendered various organisation-wide initiatives. One such initiative is ‘Kavach’ which is a symbolic representation of a safety sheath each of our employees wears in spirit, to ensure utmost safety around them. It is a way to train our employees to be safety conscious at all times.
Safety trainings, mock-drills, 5S programs, improvement sessions around Kaizen, engineering solutions for safety, and health and hygiene programs are a few examples of the worthy initiatives promoted in JCB at all levels. CCTV cameras in the premises and transport facility for late / flexi working hours are some added measures to ensure the safety of our women employees. Through POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) and ICC (Internal Complaints Committee), JCB upholds the policy of ‘Zero Tolerance for Harassment’ towards the women workforce.
Further, our all-women safety team in Jaipur ensures that everyone, including visitors, comply with the safety norms of the plant. They make sure that safety is deeply imbedded in JCB’s culture.
What are the major roles assigned to womenon the shop floor? And what are the steps initiated to upgrade their skill set?
JCB has made pioneering efforts in the integration of women engineers in the manufacturing industry, especially in roles which have always been considered male-centric.
Our shop floor women wear multiple hats with diverse roles and responsibilities. In our Jaipur Plant, mini excavators’ assembling and testing are done by a batch of women. We even have women performing fabrication and welding work. From operating these heavy vehicles to testing and certifying engines, they are storming traditionally male bastions.
JCB undertakes conscious efforts to nurture young, talented women who demonstrate leadership traits from an early stage. They are encouraged to take up challenging roles and showcase their talent at various platforms. Also, to make our women workforce shop floor-ready, we organise a 22-week induction program. This program includes mandatory training in welding, safety, quality, behaviour, and other relevant subjects.
JCB promotes a strong Work-Life balance, to try and find solutions to make the average workday easier for women. Our employee engagement programs and state-of-the-art facilities like in-house gymnasium health centres and cafeteria allow our employees to exercise, energise, and rejuvenate. Further, our 24×7 Crèche facility enables women to work in shifts, helping them manage their families along with work.
Tell us about the steps initiated to ensure ‘zero discrimination’.
JCB believes in equality from all slants, whether gender or culture. We respect and accept uniqueness, which allows for a dynamic amalgamation of people from different backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and cultures.
There is no space for any discrimination at JCB! Our policies on recruitment, remuneration, and career progression mirror ‘zero discrimination’ both in letter and spirit. Sensitisation programs on Gender Diversity and Women Empowerment, together with initiatives such Equal Wages, Maternity Leaves and Paternity Leaves, are some other steps taken towards ‘zero discrimination’.
What do you think are the major advantages of women workforce on the shop floor and how is the company benefitted?
By engaging women in heavy engineering, we now have access to a significantly larger talent pool of motivated workforce. With the increasing number of women employees, we have seen a boost in employee engagement activities. In our Jaipur Plant, the maximum numbers of Kaizen initiatives are led by women employees. They have won laurels on national level platforms like Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI).
From organising to participating in various sports activities, our women employees are promoting a culture of camaraderie, thereby improving team work and productivity. With their willingness to take up challenging roles and influencing others too, women at JCB are setting new benchmarks. This indomitable team has proved that they are at par with their male counterparts. These women have taken and aced the roles they were offered as a challenge. They have the potential to break the glass ceiling and challenge the status quo.