The journey of Swiggy’s first women-oriented community turning one-year-old.
Swiggy’s idea of inclusivity involves every diverse group getting their ‘me’ or rather ‘we’ time, where they can freely share and discuss matters specific to their community. Let’s get to know more about the Swig-‘stree’ community from one of its core members, Nancy Nayak.
What was the inspiration behind creating this community? What is the importance of having such a community in an organisation like Swiggy?
Swiggy’s diversity and inclusivity journey was shifting gears, and we felt the need to create a women-oriented community at Swiggy. The idea was to create a safe and nurturing space where women could voice their thoughts, share their experiences, learn from each other, and grow as individuals. And through our discussions with global D&I leaders, we realised that fostering diversity and inclusion involved creating an exclusive space for people to interact with members of the same community.
We started by asking Swiggy’s female employees if they want such a community. If yes, then what topics and areas would they like it to address. Analysing the responses and creating a program out of it took us over a month, and in October 2022, we launched the community named as Swigstree, which was suggested by the members themselves.
Who are the key members of this community?
My former manager and ex-Swiggy employee Ritu Raj and I were the initial members who took the first steps on an idea that already existed in the company. We were soon joined by a bunch of spirited women. A few names off the top of my head are Chief of Staff to the CTO Vidhya Seetharaman, Internal Communications Manager Soumya Shetty, HR Content Specialist Muskan Nischal, Senior Manager GTM Program Ashima Gupta, Senior Manager of Talent & Culture Tanya Gupta, and many more. Each one of us contributes in our own way, leading one or multiple aspects of the program. The charter is currently being headed by Yamini Koganti, AVP-HR
We then observed which members were organically picking things up. We interacted with these people, understood what they wanted, then launched a few simple activities to gain traction for the community. Such members became community champions who volunteered to spread the word and seek women who would be interested in joining the space.
How has the Swigstree community evolved since its inception one year ago?
There are three pillars which guide the initiatives and programmes of the Swigstree community. Connect & Collaborate, Learn & Grow, and Influence & Impact.
- In Connect & Collaborate, we have a private Slack channel where we conduct regular interactive activities, which we call rituals. It mainly involves thoughtful conversations, questions, polls, recommendations, experiences, less-talked-about topics, and other such things.
- In Learning & Growth, we have the monthly peer-to-peer knowledge sharing program called Ubuntu, where one woman volunteers to conduct a session on a topic related to our work at Swiggy or something profession-related in general. Then there’s our mentoring program MINT, where Swiggy leaders mentor members on career and work-related matters.
- In Influence & Impact, we invite speakers and leaders to take a session on chosen topics. We have Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with the leaders. Then we have in person catch ups and activities during our quarterly Jamboree meets.
What challenges did you face in building and sustaining Swigstree, and how did you overcome them?
We started off with a three-month plan, but after that, we often found ourselves wondering what to do next. This challenge turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it encouraged members to come forth with ideas and lead initiatives. This made the community grow organically rather than following a predefined path. Another challenge we faced was to cater to a diverse group of members with varied requirements and to make our programs relevant for everyone. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we learnt.
One more challenge was to represent the community’s impact in numbers in just a few months of activity, as it takes a longer period for such initiatives to show quantifiable impact. The purpose of the group was to create a space for open, useful, and meaningful conversations that facilitate individual and professional growth. So, along with various numbers, we also noted member stories which helped us gauge the emotional impact the community has had. Like how people expressed their thanks to the group, what they shared in their interactions, how it made them feel, and other such intangible parameters. And slowly, metrics became a normal route too.
What will Swigstree’s focus be going ahead into its second year?
We will continue with what has worked well and will look for new ways to add more value. The connection rituals and the mentoring program will continue, so will the Jamboree meet ups and Cookie Jar interactions. In the second year, we plan to better understand what members want, increase the focus initiatives under the Influence and Impact pillar, go deeper into the problems faced by women at Swiggy, and develop more effective solutions. We are also thinking of ways to launch initiatives outside the community.