According to Sclaer’s co-founder, a workspace may transform into a platform where all employees feel appreciated and heard if additional start-ups and larger organisations implement comparable efforts.
Scaler Academy, an edtech startup, has recently implemented a new employee policy that provides women and transgender employees with 12-days of ‘period vacation.’ According to Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of Scaler, such a move will boost workplace diversity and inclusion. According to Saxena, the plan was approved after a consensus was reached among his 800 full-time employees, 33 percent of whom are women. According to Saxena, a workplace can transform into a platform where all employees feel appreciated and heard if more startups and larger organizations implement such efforts. Excerpts that have been edited:
Scaler is taking a step forward with period leave. What happened before you decided to put it into action?
We think that for an organization to grow, it is critical to ensure that all employees’ interests are reflected equally and equitably. Sure, it’s a step forward, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking. This just serves to reaffirm the principles that we hold dear as a company. It’s been difficult to strike a work-life balance while dealing with the pandemic. This has been particularly difficult for women, who are still expected to manage several duties in their houses without much help. As a result, this action is merely a first step in making their lives simpler in a slanted playing field.
What are the reactions of female employees to this policy? Will this number of days off increase in the future, as some say that women need more than 12 days off per year?
These 12 days of period leave are in addition to the annual leave that is normally offered. At Scaler, we believe that any initiative can only offer value to our employees if it is developed from the ground up. We have moved forward with this change based on the collective feedback we got from our staff, with an overall consensus on this choice. In addition, out of the total number of period absences available to them, women and transgender employees have the option of applying for either a full day or two half-days per month.
These leaves are also auto-approved by managers, guaranteeing that menstrual employees are not only given the flexibility to choose when they need to take time off from work, but also that these leaves are taken when needed, rather than being hoarded to encash or use for other purposes.
Do you think this idea will be adopted by more start-ups over time?
This is a modest step in the right path for any company that wants menstruating employees to feel appreciated and included. This action is critical in encouraging more workplace diversity by making the workplace more welcoming to female and transgender employees. We can only collectively transform our workplace into a platform where all employees feel equally appreciated and heard if more start-ups and larger organizations introduce such programs for their diverse workforce.
Beyond that, how are you creating a diverse and inclusive culture?
The most essential step toward promoting diversity and inclusion is becoming aware of one’s unconscious biases and increasing awareness. Only once all employees have found a common ground can an organization work together to implement initiatives that will level the playing field. All are equal, but not identical, in our opinion at Scaler. It is not an uphill task to implement steps to enhance inclusion once this is established. We’ve also started a program to educate the leadership on how to create and maintain a secure, healthy, and harassment-free workplace as part of the POSH policy guidelines. Scaler’s success can be attributed to the multiple employee-centric initiatives in place.
What is the current workforce size at Scaler? Are you actively recruiting more female candidates in order to increase diversity?
During the year 2021, Scaler tripled its employees. Scaler has about 800 employees at the moment. Aside from that, there are approximately 1,000 part-time IT experts working as career coaches, teaching assistants, and mentors.
We at Scaler are quite proud of the fact that women make up more than 33% of our staff. And in recent years, this figure has risen steadily. This simply serves to re-energize our efforts to create a workplace where everyone is treated with the highest respect and dignity, regardless of their background. We are aware of the disparity in women’s participation in STEM fields and work diligently to ensure that we are addressing it.