We need to actively look beyond our existing channels to find diverse, untapped talent: Indeed’s Nishita Lalvani
Nishita Lalvani leads the country strategy marketing team for India, South East Asia and Hong Kong. Together with a team of Evangelists, Country Marketers, and Content Marketers, she is responsible for developing, delivering and executing integrated marketing campaigns to drive brand and product awareness for jobseekers and employers (Enterprise and SMB). Previously Lalvani was the Regional Head of B2B marketing at PropertyGuru for SEA and was the Country Marketing Lead at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for India. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, she shares key insights on elevating the diversity quotient when it comes to hiring and enabling a sustainable culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging at the workplace.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation.
What are your DEI priorities for 2022?
For Indeed, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) is an integral part of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities. These priorities govern our operations and product development, making it a responsibility for every individual at Indeed to uphold. Indeed’s DI&B priority is to mitigate bias and barriers in our processes and systems for the employee lifecycle and help employers do this too. We aim to do this by building inclusive features, equitable design and accessibility into our products and internal processes and policies, globally. We are also ensuring that we create and maintain psychologically safe environments to intentionally incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences.
From your years of experience in the world of recruitment, what are some key challenges that come up when companies want to initiate diversity in hiring? What would be some of the strategies to overcome these?
One of the first steps that organisations should do when planning their diversity strategy, is to ensure that it is aligned with the larger business strategy. It is important to get C-suite buy-in to be able to ensure diversity is a priority to your business operations. Secondly, before hiring for diversity, it is imperative to recognize possible unconscious biases that exist within your hiring teams and systems. Ignoring this could result in investing time and resources on broken systems that are probably adding barriers to your hiring strategy. Finally, it is important to think ahead in the employee lifecycle. It isn’t enough to bring diverse candidates through the door if you do not have a culture of inclusion where they can thrive.
Our recent Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging report, Uncovering Blind Spots, which studied over 1400 employees and 1100 employers in India, shows that 1 out of 3 employees are afraid to be their true selves at work. This is despite almost two decades of focus on DEI programs and hiring. Evaluate your policies to ensure they are equitable and encourage open communication to get feedback on what needs to be improved.
A recent Harvard Business School report coined the term 'hidden workers' to reflect the missing talent pool in global hiring efforts. In your opinion, what is keeping underrepresented talent hidden despite the spotlight on DEI today?
At Indeed, we fundamentally believe that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. We need to be actively looking beyond our existing channels to find diverse, untapped talent. Because they do exist! However, a combination of factors have led to them being pushed to the fringes. For one, our inherent unconscious biases could be filtering out qualified candidates during the hiring process.
We need to be mindful and deliberate to break the cycle of hiring for “culture fit”, rather focus on “culture add”.
Secondly, like I said earlier, employers need to partner with organisations that are actively working to bring more diverse and non-traditional candidates to the workplace. As a job site, Indeed is committed to developing products and platforms that are accessible to all candidates, whether they are new to the internet, from different backgrounds, have disabilities or require special accommodations like language or accessibility support. You’ll hear more about this at our upcoming event, IndeedWorks.
Lastly, it is important to have an authentic employer brand, one that is truly in sync with your employees’ experience. In our latest study, Uncovering Blind Spots, we asked employers and employees in India about bias at work. What we found is that there is a fundamental difference in perception of what employers and employees see as discrimination at work. This would result in a disconnected employer brand story to potential diverse candidates, who may be discouraged to apply for jobs at your company.
We will be discussing this report and sharing insights on ways we can bring in more talent from non-traditional backgrounds at IndeedWorks on Thursday, 7 April. I would definitely recommend joining us to hear from Indeed as well as leading industry experts.
In the current working environment, how can organisations re-invent their DEI strategy to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability? What are the steps they can take to measure its impact?
According to our study of Indian workplaces, 42% of employees feel that companies who do not have formal DEI policies will not be able to sustain a diverse and inclusive culture. So, it is imperative to ensure you have formal policies and programs in place. Secondly, it is equally important to ensure there is intent to uphold their policies by proactively addressing any issues that may arise.
More than one in four employees (27%) state that while organisations aim to be inclusive and initiate relevant measures, the intent to address issues on the ground is often missing.
A great way to measure the impact of your programs is to seek feedback from your employees. Are your employees facing any kind of bias or can they be their authentic selves at work? Feedback will help you refine and revise your programs as you continue to build a diverse workplace.
What are some words of advice that you would like to share on weaving inclusion and allyship support in the flow of work?
I would say that one of the cornerstones of an inclusive culture is open and authentic communications. And it starts from the top. It is important for your leadership to communicate often and with intent. This will encourage openness and dialogue, which will help you understand your employees better. It is also important to ask questions and seek feedback from your employees to understand if your policies and processes are driving impact.
Diversity and inclusion should extend beyond just employees to every stakeholder working with your company. Whether it is customers, suppliers, vendors, hiring or CSR partners, by supporting businesses that have a similar goal or are working towards promoting equity and equal opportunities you can promote stronger allyship in the communities in which you work. When it comes to hiring and recruitment solutions, Indeed is committed to breaking barriers to create equal opportunities for all.
We invite you to join us at our upcoming virtual flagship event, IndeedWorks, focussed on “Breaking Barriers” to understand how we can create inclusive and equitable places of work for all.