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How is Zoho Corp empowering its women employees?

Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Global Head - Zoho For Startups, Zoho Corp.
Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Global Head - Zoho For Startups, Zoho Corp.

Below is a short transcript by Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Global Head – Zoho For Startups, Zoho Corp. on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

There are no separate initiatives or policies at Zoho. There is a flat hierarchy, with equal opportunities available for anyone who wants to take up responsibilities and grow along the organization’s mission and its growth. And we have facilities (food, gym, daycare) within the campus that help bring a balance between work-life and personal life.

Why is it important to bring more women to the forefront of Tech? (Context: Roles that companies don’t traditionally employ women for)

Why not! The same reason why we have men at the forefront of tech.
It is the year 2022, and the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. Isn’t it something for everyone to think about—how a sustainable tomorrow can be envisioned without having enough representation from all genders?

If companies don’t employ women in certain roles, that means their sole focus is on profit-making and hence, their vision and mission statements cannot have world-changing statements in them. Talent, passion, perseverance, foresight, and leadership are qualities that are not partial to genders. So, the question that the people who have the power to bring about the change should be asking themselves is this—am I looking at these qualities while setting up a committee, adding more board members, promoting new leaders, or while hiring change makers—or am I just looking at what would work for me in order to make more profit?

I am reminded of this quote by Swami Vivekananda: “There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.”

What does it mean for Zoho to be a diverse and inclusive workforce?

It means everything. Zoho is Software as a “Service”. Serving 75 million+ users across the world. An organization serving people from different walks of life, diverse cultures, different age groups, and also those who speak different languages, can only grow by first having employees who represent the very customers we are trying to serve. An empowered and diverse workforce that actively contributes to the conversations on ‘futuristic software’ is Zoho’s singular focus and mission.

Employing women in Tier 2 cities – what this means?

Rural economic empowerment has long been a focus at Zoho, which also includes talent hiring and upskilling programmes. We hire not just from Tier 2/3 cities but also from villages, and these initiatives are common for all genders. At our Tenkasi hub office (which was started in 2011 as an endeavour to reverse the rural-to-urban migration trend and take opportunities to where talent is), nearly half of the workforce, including women, were hired from the surrounding Tier 2/3 cities and villages.

Last year, we commissioned a socio-economic impact measurement study to understand the impact of our office’s presence in Tenkasi over the last 10 years. The study results, apart from numerous positive findings, revealed considerable impact on women’s empowerment in Tenkasi. For instance, 64% of women employees who participated in the study reported spending more on themselves since their employment with Zoho.

Women in ZSL

Zoho Schools of Learning was started in 2005 as a meaningful alternative to college education, with just 6 students in the first batch (4 men and 2 women). More than 1000 students have become ZSL graduates ever since then, and currently comprise 10% of Zoho’s employee count. All 6 of the first batch continue to work at Zoho even today. Sandhiya Lakshmipathy, one among the 2 women from the first batch, started her career as a SaaS-developer after graduating. She was among the earliest in the company to move to a Mac operating system and started building mobile applications for Zoho’s productivity suite of products. Today, she is a rare breed of middle manager at Zoho Corp who runs her own team and is as comfortable spelling out KRAs as she is in designing APIs!

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