ITC hotels ethos of responsible luxury has been a path breaking initiative and has served as a leading example for businesses beyond the realms of the hospitality industry. Indulgent luxury while being conscious to the environment and community is what the hotel brand has promised and delivered for years. And one of its most popular hotel landmarks in southern India, the ITC Kohenur in Hyderabad, has just made these credentials even stronger.
In what is one of the first, structured programmes to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive, the team at ITC Kohenur conceptualized and launched, “Project Nur”, a mission to provide enhanced employment and growth opportunities for women, people with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community.
ITC Kohenur has a workforce of about 400 associates: over 100 women, 6 specially abled and 4 from the LGBTQIA + community.
Spearheading the initiative – Shaariq Akhtar, General Manager – ITC Kohenur reminisces – “When I look back now, it indeed has been a dream come true. We truly felt that this would add a lot of strength and experience to our growing work force. In the beginning, we were jointly involved in understanding how we could make this a reality. With the guidance of various experts in the field, notable foundations in Hyderabad and with the inputs from the senior leadership at ITC hotels, we now have a benchmark that hotels can follow.”
The name for the initiative, ‘Nur’ means light and the team at ITC Kohenur hopes to radiate positivity to all those who wish to work with the hotel team and make a significant contribution with their skill set. He further adds that “Diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice. To be inclusive, we have to change mind sets. So, beyond the numbers and percentages of diversity, it’s important to have the right environment that helps enable an equal platform for everyone and new team members are warmly welcomed and well-adjusted into our culture. This is just the beginning; we have to keep making this better and bigger and be open to feedback from all stakeholders.”
Project Nur was divided into various phases, each of which had goals defined, followed by a series of sensitisation sessions for all concerned. This also included hiring, on boarding and a settling in period. Regular progress meets with all stakeholders helped keep the project on course and the excitement alive. The credit, he says, goes to the progressive approach of the hotels team, especially the Learning and Development & Human Resources wing.
Akhtar opines that, “What we do today as an organization will shape our future. ITC hotels has always pioneered such landmark initiatives that inspire the hospitality industry. Accepting and respecting everyone for who they are is important. At the end of the day, we are humans serving humans.”