Article: Grip’s CHRO on what is key to a diverse and inclusive workplace


Grip’s CHRO on what is key to a diverse and inclusive workplace

A thoughtful approach to performance management that gives everyone an equal opportunity to thrive is critical to ensuring inclusiveness, says Nimisha Dua, CHRO of Grip.
Grip’s CHRO on what is key to a diverse and inclusive workplace

There has been a renewed focus on work-life balance, employee well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) in the workplace in a post-Covid world. The changing work culture has made HR leaders vital to check on statistics and help organisations formulate policies in order to survive in a competitive market and keep their talent intact.

In view of the changing role of HR leaders across sectors, People Matters interacted with Nimisha Dua, CHRO at Grip, to get her perspective on the role that DEI plays in organisational culture and processes.

What are some of the key values or principles that guide your company's approach to build a positive and diverse organisational culture?

At Grip, we believe that a diverse and inclusive workplace is crucial to our success and the success of our employees. One of the key values that guide our approach is open and transparent communication at all levels. We strive to create an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. We also strive to create a workplace where all employees feel valued, respected, and included.

The organisation has identified a set of cultural values, which is our shared language on how we will live and work in the organisation. It is universally applicable to all employees and helps us create an inclusive, safe, and transparent environment for our people. Our DEI approach is not principle-driven by the HR team alone. It is a guiding principle for all leaders and employees of all levels. We believe that everyone needs to share these values to be ingrained in the DNA of the organisation.

We promote a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and collaboration and provide training and development opportunities that cater to the unique needs and preferences of different sets of people who work at Grip – irrespective of their age, experience, gender, or thoughts. Also, we provide equitable opportunities to all employees and create a performance-based culture where employees are evaluated on their skills and abilities.

How do you foster a sense of belonging and inclusion among employees from diverse backgrounds?

We understand that diversity of thought and perspective is essential for innovation and growth, and we encourage all employees to share their unique perspectives and experiences.

We ensure all our people initiatives are launched and designed to enable a platform of voice -from goal setting to performance feedback, to our employee initiatives - all are designed in a way that encourages and allows for two-way communication and adequate participation.

Our team huddles/work on-site are structured in a way that provides a safe and supportive space for employees to connect, share ideas, and raise concerns.

From time to time, we run training programs to sensitise employees on various policies like the POSH Act to enable an environment of safety and comfort for both genders. Our R&R programme is also based solely on demonstration of our cultural values, so no unconscious biases/favouritism can creep in, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to these benefits.

Further to create inclusiveness, it is ensured that we evaluate employees on their performance and the feedback meted out by managers is not pointing to any personal characteristics and preferences. For this, we conduct training sessions for managers to help them understand the biases that can seep in while giving feedback and how to avoid that to keep the environment fair and inclusive. We believe that by generating awareness, we can foster a more inclusive workplace that values and respects everyone's unique perspectives.

We have also established a gender-based diversity and inclusion group, called Grip Women’s Circle (GWC) to help guide our initiatives and ensure that all our employees feel valued, heard, and supported. GWC is a platform that provides a safe space for our women employees to connect, share experiences, and support each other. It is designed to encourage mentorship and professional development opportunities for women in the workplace, which we believe helps to promote a culture of inclusion and belonging. We also regularly conduct workshops on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive leadership to ensure that all employees are equipped with the tools and knowledge to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace.

Lastly, we regularly evaluate our recruitment and hiring practices, performance evaluations, and promotions policies and procedures to ensure that they promote diversity and inclusion. 

What is your strategy or approach to navigate a difficult cultural or diversity issue?

Our approach to navigating difficult cultural or diversity issues is centred around open communication, active listening, and a commitment to continuous improvement through regular feedback and tailored initiatives.

To ensure that we are constantly improving and addressing the needs of our diverse workforce, we conduct regular employee surveys and focus groups to gather feedback and insights. This information is then used to create our diversity and inclusion initiatives and ensure that they are tailored to the specific needs of our employees.

How does your company measure the success of its diversity and inclusion initiatives? How do they ensure that hiring practices are inclusive and bias-free?

One of the key metrics to measure our diversity and inclusion initiatives is the tracking of the representation of our employees at all levels of the organisation. We also regularly conduct employee surveys to gauge the effectiveness of our initiatives and identify areas for improvement. In addition, we monitor our hiring and promotion processes to ensure that they are inclusive and bias-free.

To ensure our hiring practices are inclusive and bias-free, we have trained our hiring managers on unconscious bias and provided them with tools to mitigate bias during the recruitment process. We also ensure that our job postings are inclusive and avoid any language or requirements that could create barriers to the diversity of our applicant pool.

As part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we have also established two-way voice platforms to not only foster a sense of belongingness but also serve as a valuable feedback mechanism to ensure that our DEI initiatives are meeting the needs of all employees.

How important is it for an employee under consideration for a leadership role to have a strong knowledge of DEI principles, and if yes, how to ensure they have that knowledge?

A diverse and inclusive workforce is essential for building a successful, innovative, and sustainable organisation. Therefore, having a strong knowledge of DEI principles is critical for employees who are being considered for leadership roles. It is also important to foster an inclusive culture and promote diversity.

To ensure that employees have knowledge of DEI principles, we have incorporated DEI education and awareness into all our organisation initiatives and programmes. We also encourage them to attend external training and development programs to enhance their knowledge in this area.

Additionally, we ensure that there is a regular review and update of our people policies and practices to ensure they are up-to-date, effective, and aligned with industry best practices.

What is your approach to performance management and goal-setting for employees, and what role does feedback play in this process? How have DEI initiatives impacted the performance management process?

A fair and equitable performance management system is critical to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to thrive and grow. Our approach to performance management is centred around regular check-ins and feedback conversations between managers and their direct reports. These conversations focus on setting clear goals and expectations, providing ongoing coaching and support, and ensuring that employees have the resources and tools they need to be successful.

In terms of DEI initiatives, we recognise that creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace requires us to take a more thoughtful and intentional approach to performance management.

We have implemented a number of measures to ensure that our performance management process is equitable, tangible, and unbiased. For example, there is a dedicated goal-setting exercise for each employee, where goals are set in a specific and measurable way. Further, we regularly review our performance metrics to ensure that they are fair and objective.

Overall, we encourage our employees to provide candid and constructive feedback on our DEI initiatives, and we use this feedback to continuously improve and refine our approach.

How can HR leaders ensure that work-life balance and wellness initiatives can support diversity and inclusion?

It is HR leaders’ responsibility to ensure that the initiatives are developed and implemented in a way that supports diversity and inclusion.

Our approach to create wellness and work-life balance programs should be flexible and cater to the needs of different individuals. For example, we offer remote and flexible work hours options and mental health support programs that are easily accessible to all employees. In addition to this, the organisation has sponsored access for all employees- for a physical fitness platform, as inclusive wellness includes aspects of both mental and physical wellbeing

To promote work-life balance, we have ensured a best-in-class leave policy, for example, the maternity benefit leaves are just not limited to women conceiving themselves, but there is leave provision for adoption, surrogacy etc within it.  We also promote taking weekends off, enable carryover of unutilised leaves in a year to the next year, and conduct offsites to promote a culture of fun, balance, and celebration.

Additionally, we ensure that our wellness and work-life balance initiatives are inclusive and culturally sensitive. For instance, we recognise and respect different cultural practices and holidays and allow employees to take time off accordingly.

Furthermore, we promote an open-door policy where employees are encouraged to approach HR for any professional or personal issue. We encourage open communication and feedback from employees to help us continually improve our wellness and work-life balance initiatives. This feedback helps us ensure that our programs are meeting the needs of our diverse workforce.

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Topics: Diversity, Employee Relations, Life @ Work, #DEIB, #Work Culture

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