Lemon Tree Hotels: Opening Doors for Everyone
On January 1, 2017, the head of sustainability initiatives at Lemon Tree Hotels (Lemon Tree) in India was reflecting on the future of the company's inclusion and diversity initiative. Since the inception of the initiative in 2007, Lemon Tree had become the largest employer of persons with disabilities in the Indian hospitality industry. In 2014, Lemon Tree set an ambitious target of increasing the share of opportunity-deprived individuals, which included persons with disabilities, to 45 per cent of its workforce by 2025. To remain on course to achieve this goal, the head of sustainability initiatives needed to consider key areas of concern in expanding the initiative beyond its current level. For example, where would the company source and recruit persons with disabilities, what costs would be involved, and what specific types of disability would the initiative be open to? Most importantly, while expanding the initiative, how would Lemon Tree preserve its sustainability framework, which was based on the three pillars of the triple bottom line: profit, planet, and people? Should the company instead pursue deeper integration and more gradual growth, which would allow it to consolidate its learning thus far, but would require deeper analysis of training needs and delivery? The head of sustainability issues needed to discuss these options with the senior leadership team and plan the company's approach to best integrating, operationally and culturally, persons with disabilities and other opportunity-deprived individuals into its workforce. Shuchi Srinivasan is affiliated with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Akshay Milap is affiliated with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Pearl Malhotra is affiliated with Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Harsh Dadhich is affiliated with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Ajay Kathuria is affiliated with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.