Beena Nayar heads IT at Forbes Marshall. Her prolific experience spans over 30 years in the field of IT in reputed organizations like Thermax and Kinetic Communication. She has extensive experience in ERP, business analysis, requirement analysis, project management, and business intelligence.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Beena, who will also be speaking at TechHR 2019, shares how organizations can break inclusion barriers to bolster the presence of women in digital and technical fields.
What do you think are some of the challenges women face on the way to adopting digital mind-sets?
I don’t think that these challenges are any different from any male counterpart. So for developing a digital mindset, you need to be more agile, keep exploring things, and working with a mindset that you have to bring it out fast, test it, check if there is acceptance otherwise go ahead and try out another way. So for an industry like ours, we have a combination of what you would say are marathon runners and sprinters in the team. Marathon runners are those team members who help keep the current processes going while the sprinters are the innovators, the explorers, the inquisitive one who try out new things without fear of failure.
How do you think technology can help overcome these challenges in adopting a digital mindset?
Yes, it can and it is unavoidable-everyone has to do it as this is the way forward as a digital revolution is underway. As far as women are concerned, their absence at the top level is visibly thin. This is a challenge. Career breaks are more frequent in case of women because of life events and unless they get over those inhibitions, only then they can grow to the top.
To keep one continuously upgraded is the biggest challenge and that is where technology can help.
When women have to take constant breaks, they find themselves left behind in the digital revolution. The work from home and work from anywhere concepts are however allowing them to stay updated and helping them to not fall off the digital wagon.
What are some of the policies that Forbes Marshall has put in place to encourage diversity in technical fields?
As a company, Forbes Marshall endorses a family culture and family spirit is one of our values. You will find women occupying senior positions in the company and that has been a trend for several years. The company has been providing that sort of comfort and freedom for a long time. Overall the company has a very employee-centric culture which makes a lot of difference. A lot of initiatives have been taken for women-frankly speaking sometimes men feel deprived! We have something of a social event called an “Apna adda” where women get together for many events and educational courses. This also includes spouses of male members. Then there is another program where women across different functions who exhibit growth potential are picked up by the management to undergo leadership training, in order to groom them for the next level of growth.
How can organizations foster gender diversity and break inclusion barriers? How do you think does the future look like for women in digital? Can we expect a formidable shift in numbers soon?
I would suggest specific leadership programs for women and grooming them to take up more strategic roles and climbing up the ladder. These will definitely help in breaking the inclusion barrier at the top.
I think the future is promising and things are moving up for women. In the last two decades, more and more women are entering the workforce and that is a very promising sign. That is not a challenge anymore.
But where the challenge remains is how do industries make sure that women remain in the workforce and continue to grow.
Many companies are taking initiatives to address the retention problem but it needs to go up from here.