Article: SMEs need to focus on building inclusive leaders: Harshada Sarode, PlayerzPot

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SMEs need to focus on building inclusive leaders: Harshada Sarode, PlayerzPot

In a top-down approach, team leaders and managers can miss the opportunity to capture diverse thoughts. Leaders should create a psychologically safe ecosystem where the bottom chain is comfortable to share their thoughts and opinions, suggests Harshada Sarode, Human Resource Manager, PlayerzPot.
SMEs need to focus on building inclusive leaders: Harshada Sarode, PlayerzPot

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are on the cusp of transformation, navigating many business and talent challenges. Ensuring continuity, adapting to new models, and attracting and retaining diverse talent are critical tasks.

Emerging SMEs are not only looked at as key economic generators – they also have a huge role to play in ensuring equal and inclusive workplaces. As small companies and startups focus on regaining their momentum and driving growth in 2022 and beyond, they depend heavily on the talent economy. How can SMEs move the needle for diversity and inclusion with their small yet impactful HR teams and people managers? 

Harshada Sarode, Human Resource Manager, PlayerzPot, discusses the role of leaders and managers in solidifying inclusion, and shares how a fast-growing organisation in a developing gaming sector creates a diverse workforce. 

What are your top three DEI priorities for 2022?

The top DEI priority for the year is to maintain gender-neutral hiring to ensure fair practices for employees irrespective of their gender. 

Another major focus for us will be on imparting quality education and developing required skills for our employees – be they a fresher or experienced person – to give them an opportunity for self-improvement.

Last but not the least, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have made us look further into promoting wellness and a healthy life for our employees. 

As a small yet fast-growing organisation in the emerging gaming industry, how are you ensuring you have a diverse pool of talent?

As the gaming industry is developing and the opportunities are expanding, the talent pool has accepted this industry as a growing one. The gaming industry is not just about playing games, but there are a lot of functions like tech, animation, data science, marketing, finance, product development, growth hacker, and so on. These give a lot of opportunities to the current generation. 

We have started receiving applications from people of varied educational backgrounds per the interest of the candidates, who sometimes fail to secure the desired job role in a company and end up applying somewhere else. 

At PlayerzPot, we customise the job role to match the individual’s career goals, and we thereby meet the organisational goals. 

This ensures the diverse talent pool gets an opportunity to deliver their best and that they benefit the organisation as well.

What are some key challenges you face while ensuring a diverse workforce, and building an inclusive culture?

In a diverse workforce, the bottom-to-top communication approach becomes a problem or is challenging because the employees at the entry-level are hesitant to communicate with their immediate managers or the big boss. 

In building an inclusive culture, employees also need to understand and adapt to the diversification, to different beliefs, and give and expect respect across all levels of the organisation.

How do you see the role of leaders and managers in solidifying inclusion? How essential is manager sensitisation to enabling sustainable inclusion?

In a top-down approach, team leaders and managers from the top and mid-level should create a psychologically safe ecosystem where the bottom chain is comfortable to share their thoughts and opinions. The diversity of thoughts boosts innovation and fuels productivity. 

To sensitise and have sustainable inclusion, the manager should be aware of unconscious biases and develop a strategic training program while onboarding the employee. They should also be open and include people across the hierarchy in critical discussions. 

What role can SMEs play in creating a more diverse and inclusive world of work? 

SMEs have the remarkable ability to fuel economic growth. They create many new job opportunities, and drive the bandwagon of innovation and development.

To ensure a more diverse and inclusive world of work, I believe SMEs need to focus on building inclusive leaders and create global opportunities that tap into a larger and more diverse pool of talent. 

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Topics: Diversity, #SMEcorner, #BreaktheBias

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