Binaries are restricted to the lines of code powering Axis Bank’s systems, no longer finding a place in its gender lens. The private lender, with a workforce comprising more than 78,000 people, hit upon the idea of a ‘ComeAsYouAre’ charter for LGBTQIA+ people among its customers and employees when a regional business head pointed out the opportunity in banking services for transgender people, who have historically been left out of the financial system.
From having a gender-fluid and gay person heading their D&I initiatives, to hiring people of non-binary genders, to a mediclaim and leave policy for gender affirmation surgery and permitting same-sex joint accounts, Axis Bank stands out from its peers in the talent and workforce management category of the BT-KPMG Best Banks Survey 2020-21.
Since the charter was rolled out in September 2021, the bank has had 1,000-plus résumés from various LGBTQIA+ community and has hired 600 of them across roles, including customer-facing ones, says Rajkamal Vempati, President and HR Head.
On a more day-to-day basis, the bank doesn’t classify attire as men’s or women’s, so employees can choose to dress as they wish as long as it is work appropriate. The larger offices have gender-neutral washrooms. However, Vempati admits that the mindset change hasn’t reached every part of the bank’s workforce, despite sensitisation programmes.
Axis has also rolled out policies recognising the new ways of working post the pandemic with its GIG-A Freelancer and GIG-A Anywhere models. Women filled 40 per cent of these roles in 2020-21 and 44 per cent were filled by talent from non-metros. This along with its ‘House Work is Work’ programme where it hires women who have had gaps in their résumés, are ways in which the bank is endearing itself to women employees.
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