As the Head of ERP Cloud Delivery for EMEA and JAPAC Offshore Consulting, Anitha George leads a team of consultants across India. Faced with a lack of diversity in her team, Anitha decided to do something about it. She began by focusing on attracting women and paying particular attention to those who had taken a career break and were looking to return.
“We started the initiative informally, but now we’re trying to make it more structured. I really want to create a more gender-balanced team.”
Anitha says that her hiring strategy didn’t start as a conscious hiring of women, but as a means to address skill shortages in the team. Speaking proudly about the positive feedback her team received, Anitha shares the points that sparked her focus on gender diversity.
“I would often get feedback from my onsite team that the women I had picked for offshore projects had better communication skills, and were connecting more effectively with the onshore team in a more structured manner. Without succumbing to any stereotyping, we felt these certain qualities made women better at this job. They had better communication skills, they empathized more with the customer’s problems, and had the ability to patiently propose a solution.”
It was this feedback and these skills that drove Anitha to pursue this hiring strategy and hire more women, which has improved her team’s diversity and performance. More recently, Anitha turned her focus to hiring women who had taken a career break.
“When I’m hiring women, I’m not just looking at their skills; I’m also looking at their confidence to be able to get back to work. I’m looking for women who are excited to work in an energetic environment.”
To attract female candidates, Anitha identified two key points recruiters could promote during their search:
“Once I told the recruiter to really focus on women, I saw the difference in the pipeline of candidates coming in.”
Right now, Anitha isn’t satisfied. Determined to improve the proportion of women in the team, Anitha has set some goals. “To begin with, my target is to have at least 30% of my team members be female, and increase that in the future. In the current cloud delivery model, 70% of it can be delivered remotely, so I can target people who have travel constraints, namely women.”
Mantra for Success
Anitha creates an environment for everyone to succeed and belong; she takes a practical approach to flexible working, and encourages team collaboration and liveliness. “Flexibility is OK as long as output does not get impacted. We encourage team members to support each other at work. Once in a while we’ll organize a team outing on a Saturday and invite our families. We have a newsletter where we encourage the team to share events, and pictures involving their families. Your team at work becomes your extended family.”
On a personal level, Anitha says she “always tells women to be more visible, to take those difficult assignments if they really want to shine and be noticed. Attend those tough meetings, make that important trip, and make use of the abundant resources at Oracle and upskill yourself.”
And from a business perspective, and as a leader, Anitha never loses focus on delivering the best results. “We’re definitely not doing any charity for women; we feel they’re better qualified and that is why we’re enabling them. In turn we’re enabling ourselves through this process. It’s a win-win.”
Are you looking to get back into the workforce after a break? Oracle has numerous opportunities that you can explore at our careers site.
Senior Practice Director – ERP SaaS, PPM