The importance of Diversity & inclusion at the workplace is more significant than ever before. Diversity and Inclusion has evolved from being a good to have to a must have function in every organization and it has proved its place as a key lever for sustainable growth in the near and long term. For organizations to be progressive, sustainable and profitable D&I is critical fulcrum.
The pandemic, has created paradigm shifts in how we view the workplace. The pandemic has also given us the opportunity to examine our workforce models and relook at the opportunity to expand our talent sourcing network. It is imperative to understand the changing workplace and how a diverse workforce can be leveraged to meet the workplace demands in a post pandemic scenario.
Key questions that we need to address are how do we attract and build a diverse workforce and how do we integrate an DEI lens in all business decisions and operations? According to a recent study on D&I, 76% Of the global workforce believes diversity at work is a critical factor when considering employment and ~40% Of S&P 500 companies discussed diversity on earnings calls.
We need to look beyond and explore how alternative workforces can contribute to growing organisations and tailor policies and processes to suit the changing demands of the workforce. Diverse talent brings in multiple perspectives and these diverse perspectives are the levers for inspiring creativity, innovation across our product lines thus making business more competitive and profitable. A multicultural workforce gives an organization an important edge when expanding into new markets and the competitive advantage of adaptability.
D&I involves being able to accept one another’s unique strengths and abilities and also bringing inclusion in everything we do on a daily basis and strengthening our inclusive practices. This can be done by sensitizing people on what it takes to be inclusive as a person and in a team where each one needs to take accountability for their deliverables. We need to bring about a mindset shift in how we view career growth & inclusivity and it is both genders who need to contribute to that.
Key actionables which will help us move in this direction are
Creating Employee Resource groups for different profiles in the workforce offer a safe space for employees to speak and share their experiences and learn from each other.
Developing customized programs which enable employees to navigate through the various personal and professional situations unique to them to build key skills to develop their leadership potential
Building enablers for hiring diverse talent across sectors and strengthening engagement with our consultants who we work with to hire the right talent for roles
Strengthening Inclusion practices through focused conversations with senior leaders and sensitizing employees on what it takes to build an inclusive team and manage hybrid teams
Providing accelerated growth opportunities and working around mobility constraints
The concept of unconscious bias is not new and it is deep rooted in the way each one of us functions. As practitioners and advocates of DEI, it is up to us to highlight and tackle such topics to enable a bias free workplace. We need to make visible commitments to DEI and drive outcomes which enable growth and success for each one of us. While mandating certain things may work in the short term, the mindset shift is the one we need to work towards where we aim to provide equitable opportunities for everyone to succeed.
Dr. Sujatha Sudheendra
Head: HR & Admin
Aditya Birla Finance Limited
Head: D&I at Aditya Birla Capital