The memory of that day is fresh in my mind. It was a usual Monday morning, the weather was surprisingly pleasant as opposed to the usual smoldering Delhi heat. I reached my desk opened my laptop and as I started browsing my emails. Just about then, a subject line having these words “Fwd: Congratulations on being recognized among India’s Best Workplaces for Women – 2019” caught my attention! It was a forwarded email from Kaushani and she had shared the wonderful news- “We are recognized as one of India’s Best Workplaces for Women!”
At first, it still came as a surprise to me! My mind started racing to answer questions like “when did we apply for this category”. As I read the email further, I got to know that this award category was an appended version of the Great Place to Work Award for Mid-Sized organizations in 2019 and the results for this one were computed from both the culture audit submission as well as the survey results.
I remember, we spent the first few moments jumping & hugging each other. I felt a great sense of achievement as my organization was getting recognized for a value that has been close to our hearts since the beginning. It was all the more amazing to realize that we were among the top 75, out of a whopping 700 companies that had participated in the study in 2019.
The news was still under embargo and we couldn’t share it with everyone then, but it was a great opportunity for us to plan the celebrations for this recognition. So, we got together for an internal team discussion about how we could celebrate this huge achievement and share the credit with all the Quants. We also had a quick call with our relationship manager at GPTW and we were informed that we have been recognized for everything we have been doing not only in 2019, but in previous years too.
Let me explain.
We have been a gender neutral organization since the beginning
Quovantis was founded in 2010. Back then (and sadly, even today), the number of women in the IT industry (in India) was low. Even with such overall skewed gender ratio, in 2014 when I joined the company, I was happy to see that 50 percent of the Quants were women. And with years, this representation has only increased and right now we have a large group of female Quants collaborating, ideating, and growing a company that they call their second home.
At Quovantis, female team members are not restricted to any role or work stereotypes. We work with many female talented developers, QAs, as well as managers who do kickass work day in and day out.
Another example in breaking the role related stereotype is in our very own Talent Acquisition & People Experience team. It is a common notion that HR is predominantly flocked by females. However, since 2010, our Talent Acquisition team & efforts are being headed by a male Quant. This goes on to show that at Quovantis, no one is type cast to a particular job profile or role just because they belong to a particular gender.
We have also had many female team members as a part of the leadership as well as Sr. Leadership group through the years, making this as a pertinent way to keep the culture driven by fairness & equality.
This sense of fairness and equality also extends to the practice of feedback & appraisals, where Quants are taken to the next level and given appraisals based on their performance only and no other factor. This has been one of the most appreciated aspects of our internal as well as Great Place to Work surveys, through the past three years.
We believe in Equal, not Special
Since Quovantis has always had a mix of females & males in the team, having “special” rights for females was never a thing. Rather, we have had an inadvertent focus keeping practices and outcomes being driven by equality. This aspect can be seen first and foremost in the work related opportunities that Quants have. That is just based on the potential, capabilities, and commitments that Quants bring on the table.
We have had many female team members leading their respective teams to successful launch, as diligently as any of our male team member. We had female team members working from the client site just as our male team members. Just this year alone, we had close to 25 percent female Quants being promoted to the next level. During appreciations and our quarterly sprint champion awards, we have had an almost equal representation from women through past 9 years. Even in all the technical, leadership and external training & development programs, both female and male Quants participate equally.
This in turn has helped us foster a culture that is driven by merit and deservingness, and not be limited by some individual or group biases.
Support will always be available to those who need it
In all its years of thriving and growing, Quovantis had this common goal- becoming people-centric. Whether it’s in terms of helping someone personally or professionally, this core value is deeply embedded in our hearts.
Over the years, as the company has grown, we have had many young female Quants moving ahead along different life milestones, like finding a life partner, supporting their extended family members, starting a family, raising a child, and so much more.
Back in 2010, when there were no guidelines or practices listed on paper, anyone who ever had any major milestone shift, received the necessary support and help. It’s only with time that we developed guidelines related to maternity & paternity leaves.
There have been instances when some team members needed support from their team members while they are going through some life challenges. This involved them taking an extended Work From Home for months, and their teams have always supported their physical absence by changing schedule for meetings to a manageable time, taking them on every meeting and discussion via Skype/Calls, and keeping them in the loop with the latest updates.
Not just this, but when they come back from a long haul – both Maternity as well as sabbaticals, they are given a warm welcome by their team with special desk decorations and welcome notes. They also have the flexibility to choose work timings basis their availability and personal preoccupations.
When I sat down to write this and remembered all the things that my workplace does for all of us, I realized that no relationship can work with just one sided effort. And such has been the case with our supportive practices as well. Quants who have been on extended WFHs and Leaves have been equally responsible & self-directed with their work and related commitments. This eventually helped them continue building and growing trust within their teams as well as with the organization.
I feel fortunate to be a part of Quovantis. There will always be a zillion practices that an organization could adopt in order to bridge the gender related disparities, but only few organizations would have such practices embedded into their DNA. And I have had the opportunity to not only see the practices being fair since beginning, but also evolve into something even better with each passing year.
Three cheers to Quovantis and all the Female Quants who make it a Great Place to Work!