Developing Women Leaders

Client

A software company offering software as a service (SaaS)-based, On-premises software and services in areas including cloud computing,  IT service management, automation, IT operations, and mainframe.

Business Context

Proactiveness had been observed in building an inclusive culture, developing managerial and leadership skills of its women employees.

Business Need

The expectation was to develop a comprehensive programme for women employees across levels with an intention of making them understand the value of:

Accountability of their life and career.
Handling emotions well.
Understanding the power of collaboration.
Overcoming overt & hidden biases.
Building confidence & credibility in their network.
Being assertive and use influence.
Developing gravitas and boosting presence.

Solution

Step 1

Pre-assessment

  1. The three months journey of ‘Enabling a culture of Equality and Inclusion’ kick started with a curtain raiser followed by pre-program interaction with few of the participants. A curtain raiser was conducted to ensure that women employees fully understand the power and benefits of this programme, and also what each module covers.
  2. After the curtain raiser the nominated participants had to answer a set of questions and the pre-assessment.
How the program should help enhance strengths to cover 360°angle to all the aspects at workplace?
How to manage conflicting situations in a better manner?
Communicating more assertively.
How to ensure having time for yourself at the same time manage others?
Building better network and improving on the collaboration.
How to be more self-aware and also understand team members more?
Lack of workspace engagement and cross-team communication.
Change of mindset.
Maintaining balance between work life and personal life.

Pre-study interactions:

The purpose of the pre-programme study was collecting data for designing and customizing the intervention and understanding the expectations of the women participants and their perspective of women leaders within the company. The questions and interactions were framed accordingly.

Result of pre-study interactions:

Participants confessed that their organization was a great place to work and had women friendly policies. But they all felt the need of ‘more collaboration’ and guidance to direct the path to professional growth along with being assertive in certain situations.

It also helped in the introspection and increase participant’s urge to attend the sessions.

Pre-study observations:

It was observed that the participants were keen and looking forward to attend the sessions stating they aimed to consistently climb the ladder of success and give their best.

The assessment questionnaire captured the data from the individuals as well as their managers. The questions addressed the competencies based on following themes-

Accountability, handling emotions, power of collaboration, hidden biases, confidence and credibility, assertiveness and developing gravitas.

Based on the questionnaire data few of the areas of strengths of the group were identified and categorized into:

Handling emotions
Understanding power of collaboration
Accountability of life and career

Based on the pre-assessment, some of the areas of strength were:

Commitment, team player, hard-working, and readiness to take challenges. And the areas of development were: taking positive feedback from others and handling the conflicting situation.

Step 2

Development Journey

The journey comprised of seven well-defined modules with Group Coaching sessions. The modules focussed on the following factors:

Self-Awareness
Creating Vision of Life
Thinking patterns and habits enabling success and taking ownership of life and career.

The module sessions consisted of live facilitator led virtual modules, which included virtual learning tools like chat, annotations, breakout rooms, whiteboards, polling, word clouds, non-verbal feedback, private chat with the facilitator, videos, images etc.

These were used to create differentiated instruction to cater to differences in needs, levels and learning styles of the participants and to provide them with a flexible, experiential and engaging virtual learning experience to the participants.

Contents of the Modules

In total 7 modules of 3 hours each were identified.

The modules were conducted by different facilitators and had Group Coaching sessions in between the modules.

The coaching group was divided into four sub-groups of 4-5 people each. Each sub-group had to undergo two Group Coaching from PLI coach to:

Ensure transfer of learning to the workplace.
Provide support in the development of individual competencies so that it becomes a way of life.
Discuss action taken by the participants to build their abilities to be a successful woman leader/manager.

Key Differentiator

This intervention was for all women employees across levels and different verticals.
Sessions were co-designing with the client.
Participants were self-nominated for the modules and they agreed to certain terms and condition before nominating their own-self.

Post-Assessment

The post program assessment recorded improvement in the below areas -

Time management and productivity.
Strategic approach towards achieve goals.
Collaboration among team members.
Ability to overcome hidden biases.
Consciousness about consistent performance.
Emotional awareness.

Participants Feedback

“This intervention was introduced at a great time for me (during the time of pandemic). It worked as a booster to me.”
“The technique of ‘Pause and Think’ has created a huge impact in my life.”
“This experiment helped me re-inventing myself.”
“Sessions related to biases were insightful.”
“All the facilitators were approachable, encouraging and we learnt to collaborate/ network better.”
“Personal and professional tips shared were useful.”

Despite personal limitations, few participants ensured that sessions were not missed and were looking forward to all the modules.

Participants Feedback

“I have begun knowing and believing in myself, it’s a journey worth pursuing. It is all about discovering, rediscovering and evolving myself.”
“Although I was already following most of the steps, these sessions rejuvenated the journey. I felt happy and energetic by regularly practising yoga and breathing exercises.”
“Now I know that I have to take care of myself and find joy in appreciating my team mates.”
I have realized, “If it is to be, it is up to me!!”
“Listening exercises, living in the present, not being judgemental is just so important. I wish to carry on with this practise forever.”
“Panicking fetches nothing, but a confused mind. The solution is to pause while in turmoil.”
“Loved the Empathy Map as it made us realize all the groundwork one needs to do before being empathetic.”

Client Speaks

“Our team understood the importance of well-being and the intervention helped them identify ways to de-stress themselves. Also, the new ways of training delivery with the help of pods and digital connect ensured the connect between themselves as well as facilitator in between the modules.”