Andleeb Jain: A Seasoned, Knowledgeable & Progressive HR Professional Helping Create A More Conducive Working Environment For Women At JK Cement

Andleeb Jain: A Seasoned, Knowledgeable & Progressive HR Professional Helping Create A More Conducive Working Environment For Women At JK Cement

Andleeb Jain
Group President

While India has come a long way in terms of regulating industrialization as well as corporate sectors through well-defined labor laws, the same can't be said about the gender disparity prevailing in the firms. There are not enough rules & regulations to make workplaces diverse as well as inclusive enough for women. One of the leading Cement manufacturing firms in the country, JK Cement has started addressing the issue through effective inclusion and diversity strategy under the able and sustained leadership of its Group President ­ Human Capital & Corporate Communication, Andleeb Jain. A staunch believer in having a diverse and inclusive workforce, under his able guidance, JK Cement has a high-performance work culture at place, encourages innovation and is very conducive to women employees.

In an exclusive interview with Women Entrepreneurs, Andleeb shares about JK Cement's progression in the market over the years, the firm's standpoint on creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for its women employees, and much more.

Give us a brief overview of jk cement. What are some important features of the company's work culture that you want us to highlight through the article?

JK Cement is one of India's leading manufacturers of Grey Cement and one of the leading White Cement manufacturers in the World. Over four decades, the Company has partnered with India's multi-sectoral infrastructure needs on the strength of its product excellence, customer orientation, and technology leadership. Our brands are known for their world-class quality and innovation excellence, earning the trust of millions of consumers.

Coming to the important features, JK Cement. strongly considers people as its greatest assets, and all policies, work  culture and values of the firm are structured keeping people at the center. We also focus on the career growth of our employees by constantly evaluating their performance, and providing ample training and learning avenues that they may require. We also have established platforms for employees with multiple opportunities and avenues for recognizing their contributions, creativity, excellence at work, and the success they bring to the company.

Take us through the company's growth journey. How has jk cement's progression in the market been in the last few years?

 We aspire to be the preferred provider of cement and cement-based products that go into building critical infrastructure for the nation's aspirations. Our steadily growing scale and impact across markets in India bear testimony to this unwavering commitment. With our recent investments in capacity augmentation, we are poised to meet the growing demand, head-on. Sustainability has also been an integral part of our business vision since its inception. We firmly believe in building a responsible business and strive to achieve growth that is profitable and sustainable. We are consistently working towards reducing our carbon footprint and have also made a shift to green technology with a focus on alternative fuels and raw materials and setting up more solar, wind, and waste heat recovery sources of energy generation. 

We have also forayed into the paints business. With this, we aim to be a holistic solution provider for all building and home-related needs. In the coming years, we are determined to continually be reckoned as one of the fastest-growing cement companies in the country.

Tell us about the gender ratio maintained by jk cement across the organisation. What are the company's views on creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?

Cement is a very traditional manufacturing sector, and because of various legacy reasons the sector is not among the favourite for potential women employees. A couple of years back we decided to change this. Therefore, we have introduced various initiatives to recruit more women colleagues at the entry level and have been targeting various educational institutes to attract the right talent. We are also working on strengthening our female ratio to address gender parity for all possible career openings within the organisation, and are focusing on strategies while also introducing various policies to develop a better gender ratio than the one we currently have. Our management intends to improve our diversity ratio to the extent of visualizing at  least one of our manufacturing location to be run entirely by our women workforce in the near future.

Throw some light on the various policies and processes put in place to make it a more conducive environment for women employees.

At JK Cement, we have ensured that our policies are fair, flexible, and equitable where our women employees can have their professional needs met in an environment of trust and respect. We also have introduced a diversity referral and reward policy recently to encourage gender diversity in the workplace. Improving our employee experience, especially for our women colleagues is a top priority for us. Our travel policy reflects this where women can take up higher claims just to ensure their safety and comfort. We also provide flexible work timings for our employees.

As a sector that is considered non-traditional for women, we have ensured that we have strategies in place curated especially for our employees at our manufacturing facilities to enhance the working conditions and opportunities for women. Through these policies, we hope to become a leader in fostering change.

We have also launched a platform called 'SHAKTI' to create a conducive environment where each individual female employee can thrive, learn and move up in their specific functions thereby helping us achieve our most ambitious goals, and our resolve to reach 10 percent of women workforce in next five years. Shakti is a women's exclusive platform and it enables our female employees to discuss various issues and concerns in a more enabling manner.

What steps does the company take to up-skill its female employees? What would your advice be to female professionals across the board to aid them in creating lucrative and lasting careers?

When I joined JK Cement, we had very few women in the organisation, but today in a short period, we have witnessed a remarkable change where women are not only holding  strong management roles but are also leading large teams. Investing in their learning and development is one of our core values and our recently launched women's empowerment platform, SHAKTI, shall enable the same.My only message to all female professionals would be to pursue their career growth path passionately. Persistency is the key to achieving a lucrative and lasting career. We all face challenges in our journey, however constant pursuit of goals makes these challenges redundant and neutralizes gender bias if any.

Andleeb Jain, Group President-Human Capital & Corporate Communicationjk Cement

A seasoned HR professional with close to 28 years of rich and diverse experience in all important facets of HR and Administration, Andleeb is presently the Group President ­ Human Capital & Corporate Communication for JK Cement and is their global HR Head. He has done his B.E in Chemical Engineering from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1993, and, subsequently completed his Diploma in Business Finance from ICFAI in 1995. Having worked for many reputed firms throughout his career such as Grasim Industries (Aditya Birla Group), Punjab Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (PACL), Rallis India Limited (Tata Group), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), GMR Group, Lanco Group and Isolux Corsan (Spanish MNC), Andleeb is presently driving a High-performance oriented culture that encourages innovation at JK Cement.