New Delhi: Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, celebrated Pride Month as an occasion to reaffirm its dedication to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. By recently welcoming two transgender professionals into its operations at Lanjigarh, Odisha, the company now employs nearly30 transgender employees across all of its primary locations. These include its mega aluminium smelter in Jharsuguda, Odisha, its world-class alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, and its subsidiary BALCO, India’s iconic aluminium producer based in Chhattisgarh. This comes as a significant achievement in Vedanta Aluminium’s mission to foster a truly diverse workplace, placing the company among ahandful of manufacturing and heavy engineeringfirms in India and the world to include LGBTQIA+ employees withincore operations in varied roles such as asset security, materials movement and hospitality.
To ease the community’s transition from the periphery of society to smart manufacturing plants, and help them evolve from semi-skilled people into professionals, Vedanta Aluminium has adopted a three-pronged approach, which includes:
• Identification of trans people with a minimum required set of skills for working in a manufacturing industry, by conducting skill mapping studies
• Extensive training programs for the recruits, aimed at honing the required skillsets, including soft skills and business knowledge
• Building an empathetic & inclusive environment by conducting gender-sensitization sessions for its workforce, with respect to the social and psychological challenges of trans people, proper code of conduct and ways of working to build a cohesive and encouraging environment for all. This also includes ensuring required infrastructural augmentations
Globally, the gender diversity ratio in manufacturing and heavy engineering industries has been quite low, and this deficit is especiallyacute in the metals and mining sector. Recognizing the transformative power of diversity in generating multi-dimensional thinking and strategic decision-making, Vedanta Aluminium has embarked on a mission to break perception barriers to entering the manufacturing industry and is actively fostering a workforce that transcends gender boundaries. Since FY23, the companyis endeavouring to expand its recruitment efforts to actively include members of the LGBTQIA+ communitywithin its workforce, who otherwise often face challenges in securing sustainable livelihoods. With this, the company aims to create a paradigm shift towards acceptance and inclusivity in the manufacturing industry by hiring from this talent pool that remains untapped in mainstream sectors.
On the company’s efforts to strengthen its diverse workforce, Vedanta Ltd – Aluminium Business CEO Rahul Sharma said, “As we navigatethe diverse and complex landscape of our global markets and customers, we recognize the immense value of embracing diversity in all its forms. By seeking out individuals with diverse perspectives, experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds, we strengthen our pillar of employee centricity and the ability to develop well-rounded business strategies. True merit transcends gender, and we are committed to fostering a culture where every employee and partner feels embraced, empowered, and encouraged to unleash their limitless potential. We will continue to strive for a future where diversity is celebrated as a catalyst for innovation and success.”
Sharing her experience, Ranjan Pradhan, one of the trans professionals recently hired at Lanjigarh said, “I am grateful for this opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood and envision a brighter future for my personal and professional growth. Through such initiatives, Vedanta is helping bring the marginalised trans community into the mainstream, and also providing a safe and supportive environment to nurture our true potential.”