Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Sustainability and ESG, Lemon Tree Hotels

Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Sustainability and ESG, Lemon Tree Hotels

Aradhana is a TEDx Speaker and leads Brand, Communications & Sustainability Initiatives at Lemon Tree Hotels – including planet/environment and people/inclusion and diversity.

 

Podcast

Overview

Sustainability, Inclusion, and Diversity, are three words that go together as a trinity. It is hard to define. If we look at it, we can see that diversity comes from the word “diverse” which is “different in nature or kind”.

So, inclusion is about bringing or keeping people together. Sustainability, on the other hand, is the ability to sustain. To be sustainable, we need to be able to sustain. So, what does all this mean?

What does this have to do with business and HR? In this episode, Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Sustainability and ESG, Lemon Tree Hotels explains these words in length.

About Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Sustainability and ESG, Lemon Tree Hotels

Aradhana is a TEDx Speaker and leads Brand, Communications & Sustainability Initiatives at Lemon Tree Hotels – including planet/environment and people/inclusion and diversity.

Sustainability, Inclusion, and Diversity at Lemon Tree Hotels

Initially, it was started as a pilot but within two years, it was evident to us that it should be a part of the HR strategy and part of the business model. Today, about 17-18 percent of our employee workforce is either a person with a disability or a person belonging to an economically or socially marginalized background.

We have realized that by bringing in people with different disabilities and different needs, we are able to create diversity, which in turn creates a higher level of creativity and problem-solving.

Process of Training 

In these 15 years, we have developed an inclusion model, and we have learned from our own journey. There are several pillars to it.

  1. As a leadership team and as a company, you must accept the ideology and understand that it makes business sense.
  2. To have someone focus on it is what I do.
  3. To sensitize the team.
  4. Job mapping. When we have to do the recruitment, we need our NGO partners because these are the people who work in the disability sector. Our NGO partners give a lot of input to these candidates, and we train them. So these candidates get a six months internship, and then we hire them.

Sustainability and Inclusion in the Corporate world

About 20 years ago, people did not know the meaning of these words. They certainly did not know that is called ESG, i.e. Environment Social Governance. In the last five years, if businesses want to succeed, then sustainability aspects are as crucial as revenue and profits.

I believe the corporate sector takes sustainability very seriously because they have understood the cost and the operating benefits. Regarding diversity and inclusion, I think people are discovering, and they are willing to do trials.

Sustainability for Financial Market

In the last six years, we have had large institutional investors in Lemon Tree. When they are looking at our level of success, they are looking at what is our potential revenue earning capacity going forward, which means the lens is on growth.

Then there is the level of risk, how high is the risk, like how we survived the pandemic. What our cost model is, becomes another area of understanding that this company will survive when the economy is down. The investors are also looking at sustainability performance.

Millennials and Gen Zs on Sustainability, Diversity, and Inclusion

When they get to know about this initiative, the first thing they do is to go on social media and talk about it to their friends. They put the feedback on the sites they have booked their travel from. They tell our story and become our brand ambassadors. Our employee base is also in the region of 30, and they are showing us how they believe that the waste should be managed well and recycled.

Three key milestones

  1. When I switched from Sales and Marketing around 10 years ago, that was a turning point.
  2. I left Hindustan Lever for Lemon Tree Hotels when it was just setting up. It was a leap of faith.
  3. After six years of working in the industry, I went for my MBA.

Profile

Aradhana Lal is Vice President – Sustainability Initiatives and National Sales Coach & Mentor. An MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, Aradhana has 21 years of experience in Sales & Marketing, Corporate Communications, and Sustainability.

She was earlier Vice President – Sales & Marketing at Lemon Tree Hotels. Aradhana was previously Sales & Operations Manager at Hindustan Lever Network (known as Aviance), the multi-level marketing business of Hindustan Unilever. Prior to that Aradhana was with the Taj Group of Hotels. Aradhana is a passionate movie buff, a theatre enthusiast, and an amateur writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.