SelectHER: Women in the Workforce

What would happen if 50% of the workforce in the world and in India were women?

. The world could add $12 trillion to GDP in 2025, doubling the contribution of women to global growth in the coming decade
. India alone can add $2.9 trillion to its GDP by fully bridging the gender gap in the workplace
. This means a 60% increase in GDP, than business-as-usual in 2025

What does this mean for Indian society?

. Gender equality in society
. Better education for future generations
. Improved family well being

Through our primary and secondary research, we have found that there is significant business value in hiring women, especially in customer experience roles.

. Gender-diverse business units have 14% higher revenue in retail and 19% higher average quarterly net profit in hospitality, as compared to less gender-diverse units.
. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care

Having quality talent in customer facing roles has become a priority for the high growth industries with a B2C focus.

. 89 percent of companies worldwide expect to compete mostly based on customer experience in 2016, versus 36 percent just five years ago
. The same is true for India as well, where 74% of the CXOs indicated that the importance of customer experience is growing within their company

Sattva embarked on a mission last year, along with Global Development Incubators and Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN), supported by J.P. Morgan, to provide a high-quality pipeline of female candidates in customer experience roles for bridge-to-luxury retail brands.

Over the past year, we trained 100 women and placed 77%. However, the learnings were significant and we observed multiple demand-supply mismatches that were systemic by nature and cannot be solved by skill training alone.

There is a need for disruptive, holistic solution over and above skilling. Sattva is looking to solve this problem by moving the needle from a skilling-only solution to a systemic solution engaging stake-holders across the value-chain.

Key Tenets for SelectHER Phase 2:

. High-growth industries with future-focused customer-experience roles
Employer as Partner through the candidate life-cycle, over and beyond the “training” period alone
. On-the-Job employability skills to be the significant differentiator
. Leverage technology to reduce friction, information asymmetry

Stay tuned for more updates on the programme!

Micro-entrepreneurship

Sattva is working in collaboration with Smart Power India (SPI) to address issues of gender gaps and bringing rural women into mainstream employment through setting up a micro apparel-manufacturing centre. The centre aims to connect willing women to mainstream market by providing them training and sustained employment.

Sattva’s approach for the micro-apparel manufacturing centre is designed in such a way that it addresses the key problems of the rural communities of Uttar Pradesh highlighted above and tries to solve a small part of the larger unemployment and migration problems. The intention of the above micro enterprise development projects is to scale this business model to more and more villages and create a cluster of these micro apparel centres into a small-scale industries which provides employment to local communities and empowers women in the region.

Salient features of the apparel manufacturing centre:

1. The workforce to get at least 40% of the selling price on a per piece basis, which is much more than the current percentage of 10-20% of the selling price.
2. Women to form major percentage of the workforce in our centre
3. Entrepreneur driven centre in which the selected entrepreneur is from the community
4. The centre would be handed over to the community to be run by them in course of 2-3 years.

In other words, we are looking at this as a solution, i.e. more than just a “unit cost”, and enabling impact that has to go beyond measurement, to also look at scale + sustainability.

IMPLEMENTATION – MICRO-ENTREPRENEURSHIP

OBJECTIVE
A solar power company delivering viable electricity solutions through decentralised renewable energy mini-grids, wanted to spur socio-economic growth in rural and semi-urban areas. They wanted to create an ecosystem to encourage this segment of people to become entrepreneurs on the back of reliable supply of energy. Our work as knowledge and implementation partners was to bring rural women into mainstream employment through setting up of micro-apparel manufacturing centres.

SATTVA’S APPROACH
We designed and executed a programme based on an entrepreneur-led model here. The first step was developing a site selection framework using certain basic criteria:
– choosing a location for the manufacturing centre close to a solar plant to ensure a steady supply of electricity, – within a radius of 200 kilometres from the market,

The focus was on selecting married women to train since the study suggested that such selection would help maintain high retention rates. We covered 8-10 villages under outreach to encourage women to visit the centre and gauge their interest in joining the programme. Selected candidates were charged a monthly sum of Rs 100 to ensure accountability and retention. This 20-seater centre, in Kamalapur near Lucknow, trained women in apparel making over six months. Our on-ground training partner trained women to use automatic machines. Post this we worked on a job-order model securing bulk orders from vendors (wholesalers or retailers) in Lucknow which in turn were executed by these women over the next few months as part of on-the job training.

KEY LEARNINGS
The program had far reaching socio-economic impact as it saw women from orthodox families venture out of home into mainstream employment. As a result they were now empowered to improve personal livelihood and educational aspirations. In parallel, it highlighted the importance of creating market linkages for rural entrepreneurs as a crucial component for any skilling program. Our approach demonstrated that a well-designed model is imperative, but motivating and building trust with women is as important to mobilise them. During the course of the programme we saw women build personal relationships with each other and work together with complete solidarity. The company was able to make the first crucial step in solving problems of migration, gender gap in mainstream livelihood opportunities and unemployment in Uttar Pradesh. The Kamlapur centre served as the anchor in that area, enabling the energy service company to be sustainable enough to provide energy at community level covering more beneficiaries. Also, the client is now confident of replicating the model for similar projects in other locations.

OUTCOME
No. of women in program: 20 women
Centre location: Kamlapur, Uttar Pradesh
Increase average income: Rs 2000-3000 per month from Rs 200 per month
Age bracket: 21+ years

PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT – SKILLING

OBJECTIVE
A global social development incubator had developed a programme, funded by a large investment bank, to improve gender diversity ratios and quality of candidates entering the retail sector. This was a one-of-a-kind innovative pilot programme designed to upskill and employ underprivileged women at premium and luxury retail brands in India. We played a key role as programme management partners to deliver and manage the programme in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

SATTVA’S VALUE ADD
In order to reach the desired outcome for the customer and other stakeholders, we needed to ensure that the programme developed was aligned to the market. So, we built a training curriculum based on feedback we got from two large market players who gave us an outside in perspective. The curriculum focused on English skills and conditioning women to nuances of the retail sector — customer service, understanding the segment, corporate brand sensitisation. This was co-developed by the on-ground training partner. Our role was focused on pre-screening and evaluating fitment to the programme based on select criteria – educational qualification, basic English proficiency, and alignment to retail sector. Alongside, we actively engaged with potential employers in the market who gave us feedback on gaps in training and other value-adds needed, if any.

KEY LEARNINGS
This two-month long programme clearly identified that training candidates on high quality customer service for premium and luxury brands, has a definite advantage over mere English proficiency even though the latter is a key requirement. Training women on softer aspects – confidence, communication, presentability – helps them engage with customers better and eventually find employment opportunities across sectors. As the next step in our endeavour, we are now looking to expand to other aspirational industries which value customer experience as a core skill.
It also gave us and other stakeholders useful insights about this segment of women. For instance, most women or their families don’t want to be associated with retail due to long shifts and physical labour involved. Many came in to learn English therefore mobilisation was a key challenge. These findings helped us relook at the programme to bring in more value-additions. The duration, for one, was not enough to build both English and soft skills. As added benefit, the company was able to assess the aspirant needs better from the programme. Overall, these insights helped develop skill sets for candidates to be more aligned with demands of this job.

OUTCOME
No. of women trained: 34
No. undergoing training: 37
Placement rate: 76%
Average salary: Rs 11,000 in Mumbai and Rs 10,500 in Bengaluru
Companies placed: Fossil, Madura Fashion, W, FabIndia, Reliance Trends, Tata Trent, Louis Philippe, Aurelia, Shoppers Stop.
Educational qualification: Std 12th and Graduates

DIGITAL FINANCIAL INCLUSION

OBJECTIVE
A Mumbai-based financial services company wanted to design and implement a programme focused on women’s entrepreneurship development and digital financial inclusion across rural Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. We, Sattva Consulting, came in as knowledge partners to give further inputs on the programme design and strategy, as well as support in planning, implementation, monitoring & evaluation and reporting.

SATTVA’S APPROACH
The programme has a two-pronged strategy to enable the company reach its goal of empowering women in their households and communities alike. The first track involves mobilising and training 100 Digital Sakhis – women from the rural areas – in personal finance, digital financial literacy, leadership development and communication skills. These women in turn go out to train the larger community on same skill sets. Each Digital Sakhi has individual targets of reaching 1,000 rural community members which culminates to a total outreach of 1,00,000 rural population. The second track is focused on building the capacity of women entrepreneurs to help further develop their business. The first step was finding an implementing NGO with a background in enterprise development, financial inclusion and women empowerment with the ability to implement in the mandated geographies. After a thorough due diligence and selection process, we conducted a two-day co-creation workshop involving the financial services CSR team, business team and implementing NGO. The first day was focused on aligning all stakeholders on the aspirations, values and indicators of success for the programme, while on the second day we dived deep into the operational planning. This included open and honest conversations with all relevant stakeholders regarding the process of community mobilisation, batch sizes for women entrepreneurs, timelines, risks and mitigation measures among various other granular details. Once implementation began, spearheaded by the implementing NGO on the ground, Sattva conducted the programme management and M&E for the project duration and subsequent proposal development for phase two of the programme.

KEY LEARNINGS
This project successfully demonstrated the impact financial services companies can make through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to do good for business and in turn, benefit the entire community. Our efforts as knowledge partners with end-to-end implementation support were found immensely useful by all stakeholders in helping drive this programme and moulding it to what it is today. In the end, the company was able to spread awareness on digital financial literacy and promote women’s enterprise development, while increasing their brand visibility on the ground in strategic geographies and strengthening their customer base.

OUTCOME
Reach:
● 100 Digital Sakhis trained on Digital Financial Literacy, Leadership and Communications
● 1000 women entrepreneurs upskilled in their respective trades, trained in enterprise development and digital financial literacy
● 1,00,000 rural population trained on personal finance and digital financial literacy
● Increase in income, knowledge and adoption of formal financial services
● Maharashtra: Pune, Osmanabad and Solapur districts
● Madhya Pradesh: Dhar and Barwani