Founders Sairee Chahal and Anita Vasudeva describe their company Fleximoms as ‘India’s first workflex readiness specialist’.
In lay (wo)man’s terms, what they offer is a second chance for women looking to re-enter the workplace, and a vast, under-used talent pool for corporates to tap into! Fleximoms does this through a host of solutions, like job boards that connect employers with prospective employees, and ‘readiness’ workshops and advisory services for women. Founded in 2009, the company had partnered with over 200 corporates and reached out to 1 lakh women, with a presence in 25 cities by August last year. (Source: CNBC TV18).
“We used to run a management consulting firm and because we were a women heavy, workflex ready team, we would get resumes from other women who wanted to join us. We obviously couldn’t hire most of them for our needs,” says Sairee. That’s when Chahal, along with her associate, Anita, decided to start Fleximoms. “The first lot of resumes uploaded on the portal were from our inboxes!” she says. Over a period of time, they realised they could offer far more than just job boards and devised a host of programs that prepare women to find jobs and careers that suit them – second time around.
Fleximoms’ programs, like ‘2nd Chance Back-to-Work‘, are scheduled across multiple cities and offer women not just training but also a chance to connect with others like them. The program, according to the company’s website, “helps you achieve Balance, align your Approach, assess Realities, and finally make Appropriate Choices to take your next steps in reaching your professional and personal Goals. “
Others are tailored to help fulfill specific aspirations, like Seal the Deal and Setting up Shop, for building a sales career and becoming an entrepreneur respectively.
One-to-one advisory services are also popular.
Do they work?
We talk to two women who’ve used their services and discover what they gained.
Anu Singh Choudhary
Fleximoms Career Advisory alumna, Delhi.
I started working when I was 21. I had a very active life. I used to work well into the night, often clocking in 20 hours at a stretch. My last job was with a news organization, and you can imagine what the newsroom set-up must have been like. It was a big change, when I got pregnant and faced medical complications that hit the brakes on my professional growth. This was 5 years ago. During this time, I would take up the odd project that came my way, without striving for any particular assignment or planning my work.
But I don’t regret taking the break. Spending time to have and bring up your kids is important too. But when they began to go to school, I realised that I had to be more productive. I was working, but in a very unstructured manner. I heard about Fleximoms through a friend and started following them on Facebook. I even went for a couple of informal meetings and became friends with a few women who were part of the network. In many ways, that was a reward in itself. I come from a family, where none of the women from the previous generations have worked. So, I have no role models or access to experienced women who’ve been in this position before. I could always talk to my husband, but I knew his advice wouldn’t be entirely objective.
A few months later, I decided to sign up for their career advisory services. I sort of knew what I wanted. It’s just that I needed to sit down and talk about it to someone who would be objective and had experience in these matters. In fact, during my session, I was told that I didn’t need the counselling because I was asking all the right questions. But, I guess, it was good to have someone to sit and talk to. There hasn’t been a huge change in my career trajectory or anything, but I am trying to imbibe some of the more tangible tips, like not cluttering my schedule with too much work, being realistic about how much I can handle and so on.
Am I a happier, more hopeful ‘fleximom’ today? I guess, you could say so.
2nd Chance Back-to-Work alumna, Pune
I have had a very emotional journey with Fleximoms. When I first heard of them, I was the mother of a 2 month-old daughter, and I didn’t want to go back to the same ‘back office’ job I had. You can understand the kind of trauma I was going through. A first-time mom, with sleepless nights and a crying baby, trying to figure out her career! My maternity leave was running out and I was feeling extremely uncertain. That’s when I signed up for ‘2nd Chance Back-to-Work’ and also the Career Advisory program. I was desperately hoping they would say, ‘just quit your job’. But, thankfully, they were more honest. I realised that running away from a difficult situation was not the solution. Also, I realised it’s far too easy to fall into the trap of ‘I am a care giver and I also hate my job, so let me just give up.’
So I stuck on with my job and continue to retain the position I had before my pregnancy. My daughter is now 13 months old. Fleximoms is not just a service for women who wish to work from home. In fact, it helps streamline your professional thinking, offers you a great network of people and guidance. I have made the most of it, I cannot tell you how many times I have called up Anita (Vasudeva)! I have set goals, re-organised my priorities and have also been encouraged to pursue my other interests like writing. So, let’s see what happens.
This article first appeared in Money Chat