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Case Study: How Lululemon Built its Women-First GCC

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Lululemon Athletica is a high-growth Canadian athletic apparel retailer. Lululemon wanted to establish its Global Capability Center in Bengaluru, India in 2021, with the aim of doubling its revenue to $12 billion in the next five years. The GCC would power the technology capabilities touching all aspects of the retail value chain.

The Challenge

 

Lululemon wanted to set up an India-based data science lab that would power its operations across the globe. Simultaneously, the company aimed to ensure that its ethos – work-life balance, diversity, equity, and inclusion – was an integral part of its Bengaluru GCC. This meant ~

  • Hiring Silicon Valley-calibre professionals across a wide range of tech functions in a highly competitive talent market 
  • Replicating the culture of the Canada HQ in the Indian GCC by building a vastly diverse, women-first workforce. 
  • Ramping up the Bengaluru GCC from 300 in 2021 to 1000 in the next 3-5 years

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Our Solution


Multi-channel sourcing + AI powered screening

 

Leveraging our expansive Global Talent Network of 1.5 million global tech professionals across 200+ job boards, we built a talent pool tailored to lululemon’s requirements. We strategically partnered with women-centric professional networks Pride Circle and Aspire for Her, prioritizing the recruitment of female candidates. Enhancing our recruitment efficiency, our AI fitment engine rigorously screened and shortlisted profiles based on 100s of parameters, achieving an impressive 80% accuracy rate in candidate selection.

Our recruiters went above and beyond to champion affirmative action throughout the recruitment process, actively fostering increased female participation. On noting that the percentage of drop-offs was highest among the female candidates, our team followed-up diligently, maintaining the highest level of flexibility with interview and assessment timings.

Today, lululemon’s Bengaluru Center is actively using Data Science, Machine Learning, and Full-Stack cloud engineering to support merchandise planning and product & location information management for the entire chain, globally. Not just that, lululemon banks on its Bengaluru GCC to develop AI and ML solutions that power Generative AI tools for consumers online as well as across their stores. 

Targeted employer value proposition

 

Our team recognized that securing top-tier talent in Bengaluru’s fiercely competitive market demanded an exceptionally powerful employer brand. As the first step, our employer branding team worked with lululemon’s brand and marketing team to create an employee value proposition that would help us attract highly skilled and diverse talent. 

This included women-friendly employer benefits like a parenthood program with 6 months of maternity and paternity leave, mental health & well-being insurance with LGBTQ partner coverage, and a ‘Sweaty Pursuits’ program, targeted at helping team members become more fit and healthy. 

Next, we reinforced our employer brand through assets like a dedicated microsite and hiring brochures, spotlighting our inclusive culture and diversity initiatives with stories and testimonials. 

Our efforts paid off, resulting in the recruitment of 300 employees within the initial 9 months. In just 9 months, lululemon India achieved a significant transformation, with nearly 40% of its workforce being women—far exceeding the national average of 21%. As of 2024, lululemon Bengaluru is 500 people strong. The Bengaluru Center regularly organizes fitness-related events, ranging from weekly pilates and online yoga sessions to ‘Sweat with Pride’, a community sweat event for all employees and the local LGBTQIA+ community members and their allies.

Results & Impact

300 Full-time employees

Hired in the first 9 months, growing to 500 by 2024.

Generative AI across the value chain

From product design and creation to optimizing the supply chain and delivering personalized customer experiences.

40% women

Representation in the GCC, is way higher than India’s average of 21%, with women leaders across multiple CXO and SVP level positions.

D&I Partnerships

With women-centric committees like Pride Circle and Aspire for Her for diversity hiring.

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