While the inclusion of gender and culturally diverse workforce has been slow, it has gained robust momentum over the last decade. It started as a neoteric concept in the west and has gradually penetrated into the global work culture. In today’s progressive business landscape, almost all organisations are taking conscious steps to inculcate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) as an essential facet of the company’s DNA. Moreover, workplaces that ensure an all-inclusive work environment have also witnessed a better overall performance.
Over the years, there has been a reformist shift in the Indian business environment. With more companies spreading their roots in the remote pockets of the country, it has opened new avenues for skilled individuals based in Tier-3, Tier-4, and even underserved geographical locations. It has further allowed hiring drives at the ground level, with companies hiring talent from different sections of society.
In contrast to the decades of stringent workplace culture, more organisations have been progressing towards an inclusive work environment with individuals belonging to diverse backgrounds, creeds, religions, and cultures. According to a Mckinsey survey, businesses that place a greater emphasis on gender, cultural, and ethnic diversity at work are more profitable than their competitors.
How DE&I Is directly proportional to the company’s growth
From leaders and innovators to company executives, almost all company roles call for merit, which is paving the way for an inclusive culture. In the past few years, most companies with target audiences based in the rural segment have benefited from a diverse workforce.
For instance, consider the Business Correspondent segment of the banking industry. Hiring employees from within the community is a great way to create an inclusive and diverse portfolio of customers too. With a significant workforce from the same community, there is a greater potential for relatability. This instills brand trust and loyalty in the customers.
Moreover, it is only natural that service-centric companies will have a diverse customer base. This holds true, especially in India, where the population is an ingrained mix of different cultures, social statuses, religions, gender, ethnicity and even race. Against this backdrop, an inclusive team of representatives in a company is better equipped to understand, explain and build a strong relationship between a brand and its customers.
In today’s business world, where understanding the customer’s psyche is crucial, people who are charting business plans and goals also need to relate with the audience. Here, an amalgamation of employees from different backgrounds is expedient. A diverse workforce comes with its own set of experiences, perspectives, and opinions. This, in turn, helps strengthen businesses at the grassroot level and curate customer-centric products and services. Research says that diverse and inclusive teams make better decisions than both individual decision-makers and non-diverse teams.
Reshaping company policies for an inclusive workplace
Today, we have companies promoting diversity at the organisational level but fail to instill inclusiveness. While they hire employees from diverse backgrounds, the organisational structure is such that the workforce cannot express themselves as their true selves and therefore doesn't find any motivation to stay in the organisations longer. However, gradually researchers and thought leaders are bringing change here. It is at its nascent stage in most organisations but will be at the helm of work culture in the near future.
Now, the question remains what can be done to retain employees from diverse backgrounds? The first step is introducing an equal employment opportunity policy to create gender and cultural diversity. A set of policies for a better gender ratio also plays a key role. Additionally, there have been multiple debates on gender pay gaps. In line with this, equitable pay, rewards, promotions, rewards, insurance policies, etc., help ensure talent retention.
A data-driven approach for talent retention
Interestingly, data plays a crucial role in creating a progressive work culture. Feedback, surveys, and one-on-one interactions are effective ways to include employees in the decision-making process, ensuring inclusiveness. Though the process is slow, it helps in reducing employee churning before it happens. Besides this, a time-to-time check of their health and wellness and mental health profiles enables organisations to devise employee-friendly policies.
Nowadays, skilling and upskilling are core to the success of any business. It is the means for each individual’s professional development, thereby the growth of an organisation. Most companies also use data-driven insights to design training and development sessions for their employees. A set of soft skills, motivational and product-related process training ensures the skill enhancement of the workforce. It plays a vital role in enhancing the quality of work and professional satisfaction, thereby improving the employee retention rate.
In the last decade, more businesses have transitioned towards a well-oriented inclusive work culture. For most organizations, it is the key to enhanced business growth and talent retention. Therefore, there is a greater emphasis to nurture a diverse workforce with the right policies and work environment. Ensuring inclusiveness is the first step towards fostering progress, growth and development for the organisation, as well as for the society as a whole.