At Zomato, we are deeply committed to making our workplace, and our ecosystem of restaurant partners, delivery partners and customers as diverse as possible, in a hope that this leads to what we truly wish to accomplish – continued innovation in our services and in the experience we offer.
To grow and innovate, we depend on a cognitively diverse workforce and culture that gives everyone an equal seat at the table. Some of our key diversity tracks aim to ensure that people working with Zomato are empowered and enabled at every step of the way to shape the future of each business that we are in today, and ideate for those that we will be in tomorrow.
Our key focus areas
Over the past few years, our team has taken several steps to ensure that we create a culture of higher diversity and inclusion, especially with respect to gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and tackling unconscious biases. While we celebrate this, we also take responsibility and accountability for the sub-optimal diversity that we may have in certain areas.
To ensure a strong foundation, we have an Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy for all employees that propagates and mandates a culture of equal opportunity and inclusion in all aspects of our operations. This policy strives to foster an environment that welcomes and respects everyone (employees, candidates, and external stakeholders), regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability or any other characteristic protected by law.
Here are some initiatives that have helped us cultivate more spaces of belonging for all –
- Increase in inclusion of and equity for women at Zomato
Our commitment to gender diversity starts from the top of our organisation. Our board of directors is 57% female. We are also members of women-focused sourcing platforms such as WeConnect International, and conduct targeted recruiting events such as our Women and Trans only hackathon.
In 2019, we introduced the equal Parental Leave policy, offering 26 weeks paid leave to birthing and non-birthing parents, irrespective of their gender, including same-sex parents as well as parents via surrogacy and adoption. Additionally, we offer 10 days of annual Period Leave for all women and transgender employees of Zomato. We also have an Employee Resource Group (“ERG”) for mothers. Along with OfExperiences (a platform that enables organisations to retain women through their motherhood journey), we have developed a three month return-to-work programme for mothers, offering personalised guidance through coaching and expert-led sessions.
We’ve extended our diversity ambitions to our value chain and stakeholder ecosystem as well. We’ve created a female delivery partner onboarding programme, with ~2,000 inspiring women leveraging our platform to participate in and earn from last mile deliveries. Additionally, we provide two days of Period Rest Days per month to female delivery partners onboarded on our platform. Feeding India, our wider, community-oriented collaboration, helps address inter alia the nutrition and upskilling needs of marginalised women, through its daily feeding programme.
As a mark of our commitment and determination to succeed, we’ve also aligned our agenda with UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. We intend to use its seven principles, based on a collective global understanding of what works, to guide and inform our diversity practices, programmes and policies.
- Sensitisation about, and the inclusion of people from the LGBTQIA+ community
Along with the equal Parental Leave policy (offering 26 weeks paid leave to birthing and non-birthing parents, irrespective of gender, including those via surrogacy and adoption) and Period Leave (to all women and transgender employees), we most recently added a Gender Reassignment Surgery Cover as part of our employee medical insurance plan.
In 2022, we launched our first ERG, Out & About, focused on the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. In the same year, we also constructed gender-neutral bathrooms at our headquarters, and hosted our first Women and Trans only hackathon in an effort to onboard more diverse talent into our tech workforce.
We have also taken some small, yet significant steps to raise awareness about the LGBTQIA+ community at Zomato. Our ERG shares awareness generation snippets on gender, identity, orientation and expression, among others, with our employees. The group also shares communication material internally to bust common myths around the LGBTQIA+ community, and encourages members to put forth their pronouns as part of our internal communication platform. We also have a queer affirmative therapist to ensure inclusivity as part of our Wellness team at Zomato.
In July 2023, we were added to the list of supporters of the UN Standards of Conduct for Business Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People to take this agenda forward.
“The initiatives implemented by Zomato truly transformed the workplace into an inclusive haven. I no longer feel the need to hide my true identity, and that freedom has allowed me to thrive professionally.
The LGBTQIA+ employee resource group has provided a supportive network that empowers me to be my most authentic self. The inclusive policies and diversity training have fostered a culture of respect and acceptance. I am grateful to work for a company that genuinely values and supports its LGBTQIA+ employees.” – Niharika Bhatia (Founder, Out & About)
- Inclusion of persons with disability in our corporate teams and stakeholder ecosystem
As a company, we are committed to meeting the requirements of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016, and are actively supporting the needs of individuals with disabilities. In our Gurugram corporate office, we have implemented a number of infrastructural measures, including placements of ramps, differently-abled friendly elevators, all gender accessible toilets, and accessible parking. Additionally, we are conducting an assessment to gauge further avenues of making our offices more accessible.
Furthermore, at the start of the year, we set a target of onboarding 300 differently-abled delivery partners on our platform by the end of 2023. As on date, we have already onboarded 160+ such partners who have delivered over 39,000 orders. We run this initiative with NeoMotion Assistive Solutions Private Limited, an award-winning start-up from IIT Madras that develops road-worthy e-Mobility Assistive Devices.
We are glad that we could play a part in generating earning opportunities for these partners in their quest to become self-reliant.
- Bias Awareness and Inclusive Communication
In 2022, we – along with our inclusion solutions partner, Interweave Consulting – held a focused workshop on ‘Unconscious Biases’ for our People team, with an aim to ensure such biases are easily identified and tackled, especially with respect to people operations.
Moving a step ahead this year, we hosted a workshop on ‘Bias Awareness and Inclusive Communication’ for our Marketing teams to help them become more aware of unconscious biases, and ways to tackle them. The workshop helped our teams appreciate the different layers of inclusion, and become more mindful while designing communications. We covered a range of topics such as the dimensions of gender, impression and body image, generational diversity, tropes and stereotypes, biases, and design principles, amongst others.
Most recently, in order to establish a baseline of the overall sentiment of our organisation, and plan for more targeted goals and interventions that will help us become more inclusive, we rolled out a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey for all our employees.
Ensuring higher Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a journey – and every organisation needs to be fully committed to the cause to ensure they see incremental success and reach their set milestones. Based on our experience, we have put down a few learnings that can help others on their path to inclusion –
- Hear out people at every step of the way. There is no single method to carve out problem statements you want to focus on in a specific year or even a decade. Problems are varied and evolving – while it’s right to fix on broad diversity and inclusion goals, it’s even more important to identify these goals through different mediums. Open up different channels where people can share honest feedback.
- Don’t just think top-down or bottom-up. Do both. It’s important to involve all three stakeholders in this journey – the DE&I team, the Leadership, and most importantly, the employees themselves. While we constantly need to think of initiatives and programs that are led for people, in time, they need to be led by people themselves and amplified by the leadership. Build diversity champions everywhere – that’s when they will have the true power to lead the first step of change.
- Show business benefits. This is not just to drive programs, but is genuinely a factor that motivates teams to personally participate in such programs. When you can see business benefits – whether they are in the form of revenue, solutions for hiring, seamless operations, or even better culture, they automatically become a part of the organisation’s or the team’s priority list, and receive higher bandwidth and focus.
- Be open to constant iteration. The first format or a program, policy or community doesn’t necessarily solve your problem statement. It is crucial to record feedback, and make iterations and customisations along the way.