Diversity and inclusion are no longer limited to adding more women to the workforce. Inclusion is much more than just considering two genders. Diversity extends beyond the male-female ratio. The parameters of diversity and inclusion are getting redefined. From leadership to organizational culture, the conversations around inclusivity are no longer about looking for a perfect fit for the corporate world. Instead, it is about how to harness the uniqueness that lies in diversity.
Redefining gender neutral leadership
Gone are the days when women leaders would surprise us. These days, boardrooms are filled with women who are making their mark in their careers. The discussions about women on the top ladder should be directed about how hard-earned her title is. About climbing the ladder and bagging the topmost chairs, all the genders have realized that competition and comparison between men and women is not the answer. Only good leaders can build leaders irrespective of gender.
Expanding the diversity definition
Big giants in the corporate world, such as CITI and MasterCard, are redefining diversity and inclusion. By introducing programs that help women to return after their career break, they are not only equalizing the gender gap but also filling the age gap. Going beyond the traditional definitions of diversity, many organizations are balancing the ratio between creative and technical minds, bringing the crowd from different social and economic backgrounds and hiring people with disability. Different people come with different perspectives, and hence, the key to maintain a diverse workforce is to leverage their unique skills and offerings instead of trying to put them in a box.
A workforce coming from diverse generations will bring more value to the table compared to a group coming from one generation. While the older generation carves its niche by strategizing and sound decision-making abilities, the younger generation comes with an innate compass to question the status quo. The key to developing a multi-generational workforce is to design generation-specific strategies to attract employees. Another crucial factor is having exceptional on-boarding programs. The on-boarding programs need to be not only smooth but also a value-add for their new professional journey. One of the best paybacks of having a multi-generational workforce is its impact on internal succession planning. CITI exhibits a stellar 60% of internal mobility for succession planning.
Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion
Building a culture of diversity and inclusion is no longer just a noise about how the organization’s efforts to do so. Instead, it is about normalizing inclusivity and diversity. When anything is termed as special efforts, it is automatically defined as uplifting or changing the not-so-okay practices. According to an employee, who had joined CITI in their second career program for women returning after a break, the best part about joining this international corporate was that there were no questions asked about her break. The culture speaks volumes about empathy and inclusivity when anything is normalized to such an extent that it is no longer questioned. For organizations that are still at a stage of creating awareness, detailed orientation sessions are an excellent way to head-start. Having in-depth sessions instead of selective information spreading will prevent the organization from creating a vibe of differentiation. LGBTQ networks in the corporate world should not be all about coming out but just spreading a mutual feeling of acceptance to everyone and anyone.
One of the best ways to measure the success rate of your diversity and inclusion measures is the exit interview. Making exit interviews a more personal affair than just paper pen ritual will help HR managers to evaluate different motivating and inhibiting factors. If HR managers can accurately gauge why the employee is leaving, they can reduce the attrition rates tremendously. Figuring out the reasons why employees leave can also help managers to curate their next career plans to attract people returning after breaks.
As diversity and inclusivity have started spreading its wings to accept many other wonderful facets that celebrate diversity, the corporate world is gearing up for it. By creating a workspace that has an ingrained culture of acceptance, the corporate world is serving as a great example for the society at large.
(This article is based on a panel discussion, ‘Beyond Gender and Generations’ held during TAC 2019 by People Matters.)