I feel like the more I work, the more I learn about how to turn multi-work key terms into short abbreviations. it seems like every day I spend in India I learn a new acronym, and everything I do on my day to day at work involves a multitude of letters that to an outside observer mean absolutely nothing. because acronyms are so prevalent in my work life, I felt like they would be a pretty good way to direct any attempts to describe what I do at Shahi. So here they are:
- SEPL: for a large part of my two months here, I was convinced I worked at Shahi, India’s largest garment and textile manufacturer. But then we went to Shimoga, a rural town where the company has one of its many (truly, so many) factories and saw all employees there with a new, weird name embroidered in their uniform: SEPL. I was at first confused, thinking maybe we were seeing another company altogether, until someone explained to me that SEPL was nothing more than an abbreviation of Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd. The more you know!
- LSD & MNB: right on our first day at Shahi (a.k.a. SEPL) we were inundated with an incredible amount of knowledge about our new workplace. Among the swarm of other important information, we learned two new acronyms that would stick with us for the rest of our time here. LSD, standing for Ladies Special Division and MNB, standing for Men’s aNd Bottoms, are two of Shahi’s divisions, which specialize in producing a certain type of garment (I guess it’s pretty self-evident what each specializes on).
- OD: this one is pretty straightforward. Our internship was in the Organizational Development department, which oversees all worker wellbeing initiatives at Shahi. The OD team is composed of many people across all factories, but the core staff worked in the same office where we spent most of our days. They were responsible for developing and implementing programs, mostly in partnership with brands, to improve working conditions and enforce wellbeing in the factories.
- GBL: alongside OD there was another organization devoted to worker wellbeing. The Good Business Lab (GBL) is an independent research center incubated at Shahi to develop economic research on the benefits of some interventions. they measured impact and worked in the implementation of several different programs, being responsible for several randomized control trials (RCTs – another acronym!)
- CSR: each of the four CASI interns was responsible for their independent projects to be developed with the OD team. One of the projects I had was analyzing Shahi’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and creating a central strategy for them across all factories. I compiled a list of all CSR programs and gave recommendations on instances where the programming should be expanded or streamlined. I also aligned the CSR strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs – wow, another one!!), using them as a guideline for the strategy as a whole.
- GPG: my second project was calculating Shahi’s gender pay gap – GPG. I was surprised that Shahi would trust me to do such an important job, and especially that they would give me the payroll information for more than 90,000 employees. It was daunting at first to receive a spreadsheet with almost a hundred thousand lines and be told to use it to calculate something, but excel really helped me and in the end I was able to complete the task.