Creating a culture where each employee feels included and that their contribution is valued is vital to success. Organizations need to provide opportunities and suitable platforms for people to grow as individuals, fulfil their potential and create an impact.
And with the rise of remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, progressive employers are adopting new techniques and tools to foster inclusion and keep employees connected.
TCS was recently named the UK’s Top Employer for the fourth consecutive year, recognising its employee-focused workplace practices and continued investment in home-grown talent through professional development initiatives and digital skills programs. This follows a year of recognition having been in the Sunday Times top 25 Best Big Companies to work for. TCS continues to provide growth opportunities for its employees in the UK and Ireland, as evidenced by the organisation’s collaborative and supportive employee community.
Here are three ways diversity, inclusion, learning and networking drive TCS.
1. Making a connection
The switch to remote working has made connecting and interacting a priority for businesses as employees cope with the pressure of life during a pandemic.
Organisations with the foundations for an inclusive culture – such as employee networks – already in place have a head start in supporting people through any challenges they may be experiencing. TCS created a new network to provide information and address issues relating to mental health, with dedicated sessions, such as one on living with anxiety.
The opportunity to regularly interact with like-minded colleagues helps combat feelings of isolation and other issues that can be associated with remote working. For those caring for dependents or coping with home-life distractions, being able to discuss the situation can offer a lifeline.
Members of the network connect in many ways, ranging from specialist support groups like the UNO Parenting Club for single parents to those focused on development, like the Learning Influencers business group. These include both network-specific sessions and inter-network events, such as virtual coffee mornings, which give associates an opportunity to better understand some of the issues affecting others in the organisation.
A heightened sense of belonging and increased company engagement were named as the top benefits of being a member of one of the company’s networks, according to a survey conducted by TCS. For 95% of respondents, network membership increased work productivity, too.
“Diversity and inclusion are central to our business strategy. We have been fortunate to build employee networks which have had a multiplier effect on our relevance in the market, as well as our context of bringing more and more experience to our customers and employees,” says Amit Kapur, Country Head UK&I at TCS.
2. Distance learning
Digitally connected networks also encourage learning and collaboration, qualities that are ingrained in TCS’ culture. These are encompassed by the company’s ‘4-As approach’, with which learning takes place anywhere, anytime, with any device, and with any content.
Adoption of an online collaborative tool has facilitated real-time interaction and training during the switch to remote working, allowing conferences, webinars and reverse mentoring sessions, which ensure employees can continue to interact, learn and develop.
“Being able to connect people and networks in an organization amplifies the voice of employees and provides learning at scale,” says Jennifer Stanzl, Head of Talent Management at TCS UK&I.
And learning takes many forms. To boost digital inclusion, for example, the Fresco learning platform enables the company’s associates, wherever they are in the world, to connect, collaborate, learn and share ideas. The Fresco online system redefines the appraisal process, brings together mentors and associates and helps the TCS team develop skills by turning learning into gameplay that can be accessed from anywhere, even on the move.
3. Network networking
Keeping employees connected also provides a platform for people to get involved in initiatives they might not otherwise encounter.
TCS’ Network of Networks gives individual groups a voice to connect with other employee networks and hold webinars that provide opportunities to reach a wider audience. Network events are well publicized and gain traction and attention from staff members who, cut off from the social side of going to the office, may be more inclined to take part.
“People can only really bring their whole self to work.”
So says Lisa Gates, Head of Legal at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) UK and Ireland, explaining the benefits – both for the individual and the organization they work for – of empowering employees to be their true selves at work.
“I have seen among our networks individuals taking the opportunity to present through webinars and reaching out to wider communities within TCS,” says Gates. “What that’s done is bring people and the issues that they’re looking to address more into focus. And probably also make people feel a little bit more courageous about saying what they want to say.”
The TCS survey of network members found 88% of respondents thought consolidating the company’s networks expanded their own network’s voice or reach.
Connecting in the virtual world can also empower individuals to step up and present at events like webinars, when they might have hesitated if asked to speak in front of a conference room full of people.
While we will undoubtedly see a return, if partial, to traditional offices, the evidence is clear. Whether working remotely or from an in-person workplace, companies – large or small – that embrace a culture of inclusion and lifelong learning will benefit in terms of staff cohesion, productivity and new ideas.
Helping employees feel comfortable enough to bring their whole selves to work benefits both the individual and the business.