10 positive impacts of being an active member of the Women community!


10 positive impacts of being an active member of the KONE India Technology and Engineering Center Women’s community

Today we meet three active members of KONE India Technology and Engineering Center (ITEC) Women’s Talent council members to hear about the benefits and impacts their involvement in the council has had on their professional and personal lives. Soumia Hemaraj, Swathi Kannan, and Nithya Kalyani D.G. offered us a sneak peek of their learnings. We gathered 10 benefits the members have gained by actively participating in the council.

KONE India Technology and Engineering Center (ITEC) Women’s Talent council member

Hi! I am Soumia, I am a Senior Technical Writer here at KONE, India. I started a bit over one year ago and I joined the ITEC women’s talent council straight from the beginning of my journey. I am an active member of the council, supporting all the efforts, but focusing on development. This means working towards holistic development through gender awareness programs, career grooming services, and vocational training facilities which address women’s needs and concerns. The development wing activities are designed to equip women with skills and attributes to grow using the resources and opportunities available at KONE. In my free time, I study languages, spend time with my children and listen to music.

KONE India Technology and Engineering Center (ITEC) Women’s Talent council member

Hello! My name is Kannan Swathi and I am an Agile Coach at KONE, India. I have also been working here for a little over one year. After five active months on the council, I was given the opportunity to take the Chairperson role and I happily welcomed the challenge. After shadowing the previous chairperson, the talented Padmini Gorthi for some time now, I feel confident that the team and I have what it needs to achieve great things together in 2023. In my free time, I love playing badminton, going on vacation with friends and family, and watching movies.

KONE India Technology and Engineering Center (ITEC) Women’s Talent council member

Hiya! I am Nithyal, a deputy HR manager and one of the pillar members of the IWTC council. I started my career at KONE straight after college in 2011. I started my journey as an HR Trainee in Shared Services and moved up the ladder to Deputy Manager, Human Resources handling 1,500+ Global Shared Services and Research & Development employees. During my tenure of 11 years at KONE, I handled diversified portfolios including Performance Management, Employee experience & engagement, recruitment & retention, Training & Development, policy creation & execution, conflict resolution & HR Analytics. Another feather in my hat is being a member of the DEI India forum. I am also a mom! In my free time, I spend time with my family, they are my priority!

“I have seen the council taking off from its inception and it is really inspiring to see everything that we achieved over the short years of existence. For example, we increased the diversity ratio from 13% to 18% in a period of four years and were named among the Best companies for women in India seven times in a row”, Nithyal says.

As 2023 kicked off, a new ITEC Women’s Talent council took the reins and launched the activities for the upcoming year. In January Swathi took on the responsibilities of the chairperson. “With my 12 years of experience in IT and my passion for well-being, I am excited to take on the challenge and develop the women's talent council in the years to come. It is a privilege to understand the needs and improve the growth, well-being, and sense of belonging of the women working at KONE”, says Swathi.

More than just a council!

There are several benefits of actively or partially participating in the Women's council and most of them are strongly interlinked.

1. Empowering

“This council is entirely run by women, for women. We have brainstormed and created the event calendar for every year and we have the responsibility for implementing them. We are not dependent on HR or other teams to run these initiatives. This gives us a sense of power in steering the course the way we want. We have organized workshops on essential subjects like “negotiation skills and ‘being assertive in the workplace'. It goes a long way in the development of our women colleagues”, says Nithya.

“Our prime objective is to empower women and help them develop their knowledge in both technical and non-technical fields. Appropriate training is planned and provided to our women to overcome the constraints and challenges that hamper their growth and advancement”.

KONE India Technology and Engineering Center (ITEC) Women’s Talent council events calendar for 2023

2. Creating value

“We create value both on an individual and company level. On a personal level, it creates value because it is a grassroots initiative. All the activities come from the target group's needs - our needs. We listen, discuss and create activities accordingly. As for the company level, this initiative brings value in terms of attraction, employer branding, and creating awareness. We have been awarded the best place to work for women in India seven times, and it has helped us attract more talented women to KONE. Moreover, more forums have seen the light in other business units such as KONE Business Services, India Supply Unit, and our factory. It is a great reminder that this kind of safe forum is needed”, adds Swathi.

3. Improving the sense of belonging

“As it is an employee-driven initiative, people have full ownership of their achievements. It has been proven to have so many impacts on a company level, the most recognized of those is retention”, adds Kalyani. Indeed, the first touchpoint already starts from the induction. The introduction of the council and its activity is part of the official onboarding agenda, therefore, by default, all women are part of the group. “Some women are more active than others, but just knowing that there is an existing internal group to support women’s growth creates a sense of safety”, mentions Swathi.

4. Increasing exposure

Interacting with people outside of your team and department is very powerful. It is an eye-opener to the different opportunities that exist outside of your core area. “In the end, gaining exposure can spark interest in a career change, strengthen your relationship with colleagues, grow your network, and participate in broader learning opportunities”, adds Soumia.

5. Developing

Learning and developing are also among core focuses and benefits of the council. Both soft and hard skills have been on the agenda and it has helped us gain new knowledge and abilities to perform our work, collaborate better, and be more productive. “In return, it has helped us personally to grow as individuals and better foresee outreach opportunities”, says Swathi.

6. Inspiring

“Feeling inspired and inspiring others is what made me join in the first place. You realize that you are not the only one struggling with the same issues, and it helps with long-term motivation toward your personal goals, your work, and your workplace. It plays a key role in unlocking creativity, driving productivity, and also boosting happiness”, highlights Soumia.

7. Wellbeing

Having a safe place to share experiences enables people to seek assistance and support, and build common responses. “When one of us experiences something, we are all behind them to support in one way or another. Having our voice heard also helps our members with improving self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness as well as feeling more valued which in the end reflects in the overall well-being”, confirms Kalyani.

8. Engaging

“Exchanging thoughts and sharing experiences also results in improving the feeling of connectivity with others in the community. We have built relationships with one another and the more we know each other, the more we want to engage. Like a snowball effect, the more we engage, the more it increases our feeling of control, independence, and sense of belonging to KONE”, says Kalyani.

9. Creating awareness

We are creating awareness inside out. The ITEC Women's council internally contributes to the improvement of psychological safety at work and improves the overall environment for women at KONE. Along the way, it has a positive effect on men’s understanding of gender equality. “By mobilizing our knowledge and resources, it stimulates self-mobilization and actions and we convey our enthusiasm to our colleagues. Outside of our organization, we create awareness by sharing our experiences”, affirms Soumia.

10. Improving gender equality

“We promote gender equality in several ways. We are taking action to create an inclusive workplace, improving professional development, and ensuring that women are on the roadmap for managerial positions too. Our organization is even making efforts to make gender neutral job descriptions, thereby creating equal opportunities for all. We are making role models accessible for all and sharing success stories to inspire us”, summarizes Kalyani.

“If there is one message I would like to convey it is that we are change-makers, we have established a platform to learn and grow and it is available for all”, says Swathi. “I am looking forward to seeing the platform grow and increase our allies within and outside of KONE”.

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