Ensuring a Work Culture of Inclusion and Equity in the FinTech Ecosystem

Ravish Naresh

Ravish Naresh

Ravish Naresh is the co-founder and CEO of Khatabook. Khatabook helps small and micro-merchants to track their business transactions safely. It is one of the fastest-growing SaaS (Software as a Service) companies in India. Currently, the app is available in 12 Indian languages.
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It is our aim to achieve a workplace where people with diverse backgrounds, gender, race, sexuality can be themselves. If everyone takes steps to ensure that all workplaces have an inclusive environment where every employee is respected and represented. We hope that like us; everyone realizes the power of a diverse team. D&I is an ultimate strategic advantage, and we need to foster it as a priority.

 

The pandemic-led situations have encouraged companies to channelize their energies and rethink strategies for creating a healthy workplace.  Diverse workforce is a strategic advantage that brings in the right values, new ideas and perspectives. Real results call for sustained commitment and hence it’s imperative for the firms to empower employees, respect the culture and appreciate people from different walks of life. Diversity is fundamental for success and should be one of the major factors while developing strategies while building and growing an organization.

Finance in India is represented by some of the most significant women leaders. However, in the new-age finance world of FinTech the talent pipeline is very lean when it comes to women applicants for roles at every level. The fintech industry is ever evolving and India has shown rapid growth and with the growth, diversity and inclusion become key drivers for building a strong brand. Fintech companies need to fill this gap at all levels by implementing policies and strong internal and external changes.

 

Diversity and Upward Mobility:

At Khatabook, we currently have a 21% gender diversity. We hope to achieve an ambitious target of 35% gender diversity over the next two years while hoping for 45 to 50% in the span of 5 years. We have observed that our diverse talent pool helps us in removing the data biases in traditional approaches and in redefining the customer experience. As a result, we can develop a more customer-centric product that provides a great experience by understanding what finance means for various segments of society.

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For example, over the career span, we see women drop out of the workforce or find it challenging to reach leadership positions due to biases, personal inhibitions, etc. Hence, a focused approach is needed to nurture and encourage women employees to aim for leadership positions and create an environment that allows them to progress. We are working on creating dedicated programs to facilitate strong upward career mobility for women employees at Khatabook.

 

Defining the New Age Workforce:

We, at Khatabook, intend to create an environment where everyone feels accepted, included, free to express, learn and grow.  From the beginning of our journey, we have been mindful that Khatabook is the organization of people – All genders, orientations, caste & religions, regions and differently-abled. Hence, our people’s practices always focus on what’s best for all and our culture is defined by empathy towards each other. We have unlimited leaves, primary and secondary caregiver policy, hybrid work environment – all the practices which provide complete control to employees on how to plan their work at the company and collaborate with each other. On the D&I front, we have achieved some success in our 3-year journey, but we understand that we have a long road ahead of us. We educate our employees through sensitivity and diversity training about any inclusion policies Khatabook have in place against any kind of discrimination. We also have a primary and secondary caregiver policy for all full-time employees who are new primary and secondary caregivers, regardless of gender or sexuality. While primary caregivers are entitled to fully paid time off of up to 26 weeks for childbirth, adoption, or surrogacy, Khatabook also supports secondary caregivers by extending leaves of up to 4 weeks, regardless of their gender.

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It is our aim to achieve a workplace where people with diverse backgrounds, gender, race, sexuality can be themselves. If everyone takes steps to ensure that all workplaces have an inclusive environment where every employee is respected and represented. We hope that like us; everyone realizes the power of a diverse team. D&I is an ultimate strategic advantage, and we need to foster it as a priority.

 

Transformative HR Practices:

Our employee retention rates are amongst the 90th percentile of startups. We have always been a people-centric organization with policies like unlimited leaves from the very beginning. We continuously pay attention to challenges our employees may be facing on any front and try to resolve them through our day-to-day people practices.

 

The past couple of years has encouraged people to rethink work. We believe, as an organization, we should try to understand what’s causing this workforce shift and try to address it through the right people practices. Hence, continuous workforce planning-related innovations will be our major focus as we grow as an organization.

 

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