The Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL), a partnership between Ashoka University in Haryana, India and Genpact, awarded graduation certificates to 18 women from five companies, who participated in “Breakthrough,” the organization’s unique seven-month training program for mothers returning to the workplace.
Helping them to adapt to the changing working environment and resume their careers, the first session of Breakthrough unfolded over three modules spread over six days through a residential retreat format. Participants in the program had returned to their jobs at companies such as Ernst & Young, Genpact, IndiGo, MakeMyTrip, and NIIT-Tech. Designed to retain talented women post-motherhood, Breakthrough aims to build a pipeline of female leaders who can catapult each other, and their organization, to a different and inclusive growth trajectory.
According to a research study, “On-Ramps and Up-Ramps India,” by the Center for Talent Innovation, nine out of ten women who take a career break in India want to return to work, yet only 58% are able to rejoin full-time work. The “double burden syndrome” of balancing work and motherhood is a key factor that dissuades women from re-entering the workforce. Companies over time have introduced policy measures and interventions to tackle the mid-career dropout of women like flexible work hours and work from home policies, yet research indicates that 54% of women fear that taking flex options will hamper their advancement. Almost 62% of women who chose part-time or flexi-work feel stalled in their career, versus 48% of those who followed a conventional career path.
With these prominent gaps in mind, the curriculum of Breakthrough focuses on strength awareness, emotional as well as physical resilience, and career growth planning. Action Learning Projects (ALP) are designed to build networks, create visibility for women, their teams and organizations, and help create long-term impact. The participants sharpen their leadership skills through assessments that measure emotional intelligence and interpersonal relationship orientation, with follow-on executive coaching.
“Organizations are finding innovative ways to create a supportive ecosystem for women who are returning to the workforce after a pause in their careers. GCWL’s Breakthrough program goes a step ahead in bringing together women from different organizations – it’s a wonderful network that motivates women to achieve more. Helping women to seamlessly integrate their personal and professional lives, this action learning program has boosted the ambitions of returning mothers – they have taken up challenging projects, are making a difference in their organizations and building their leadership skills for a sustainable career. It’s a proud moment for all of us to see these 18 women graduating from the program,” said Sasha Sanyal, SVP and Business Leader, Insurance, Diversity and CSR, Genpact.
Commenting on the relevance of the initiative, Meena Wilson, Director, GCWL said, “Indian businesses lose 48% of working women between junior and senior management positions. This alarming statistic is driven by push factors such as company culture and policies and pull factors such as family and social norms. Breakthrough’s one-of-a-kind curriculum counteracts this sad state of affairs. The program’s experiential, holistic, and paradoxically serious and fun approach helps returning mothers rise above the unsettling challenges they confront. The success and impact of Breakthrough is ultimately driven by real-time back-at-work projects undertaken by ambitious women and the magical, inspirational bonds they create with each other.”
“Breakthrough has been a fantastic program. Right from the spiritual sessions to Emotional Intelligence Assessment to interactions with business leaders, my experience at the Breakthrough program has been phenomenal. The program is truly a breakthrough. Thank you GCWL for this opportunity,” said Khushboo Tak, a Breakthrough participant from IndiGo.
Breakthrough is a unique opportunity for growth-oriented companies who wish to invest in talented women and fix their talent pipeline at its leakiest point. For the second session of the program that begins in October 2017, GWCL is looking to partner with an increasing number of interested companies. The success of this program will help to build a strong community of returning mothers who can share insights and experiences with each other.