In the rapidly-changing and fast-paced business world today, innovation is the critical factor in staying ahead of the competition. But innovation needs a gamut of inputs and opinions to develop and thrive, making companies realise that to foster it, they need to cultivate diverse and inclusive teams.
To delve deeper into the power of diverse and inclusive teams in promoting innovation, People Matters spoke to Priyanka Anand, VP & HR Head for Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India at Ericsson, who shares insights on how such teams can drive innovation and achieve business success.
With her extensive experience, she also shares valuable insights and lessons that can greatly benefit young female talent.
How can diverse and inclusive teams foster innovation?
Diverse and inclusive teams are powerful engines of innovation as they bring together individuals from different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and skills. When people with diverse perspectives and experiences collaborate, they challenge each other's assumptions and ideas leading to more creative and innovative solutions.
An inclusive work environment gives space to everyone’s unique perspective and respects them for who they are and what they bring to the table.
Multiple studies have found that diversity and inclusion links directly with an organisation’s business performance.
At Ericsson, diversity and inclusion is an important building block of our company and fundamental to our culture and core values.
How do you ensure that diverse perspectives are heard and valued in your team?
I encourage a culture of open communication in my team so that my team members feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts and ideas. I encourage all team members to speak up, seek inputs and ensure that all feedback is openly discussed. To me, diversity and inclusion should be ‘non-negotiable’ for every organisation that wants to remain successful and have a culture of innovation.
At Ericsson, we rely on our open, transparent culture to help us realise the full benefit of competence and experience within our organisation.
I also encourage my team to recognise and value all differences in the workplace and work towards creating an inclusive environment that promotes respect, equity, and fairness.
How do you measure the success of your diversity and inclusion efforts in driving innovation and achieving business goals?
At Ericsson, we work proactively to improve our representation of diversity, a sense of belonging and inclusion throughout the organisation. However, it's crucial to track the progress to ensure that these efforts are driving innovation and achieving business goals.
There are various ways we do this including measuring the success of our diversity and inclusion efforts – this ranges from keeping a track of diversity data, regularly conducting, and analysing employee engagement surveys, tracking retention and promotion rates, customer satisfaction etc.
By measuring the progress of the diversity and inclusion efforts, we identify areas which may need improved policies or practices to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace.
What are some learnings and lessons that you would like to share with young women?
Here are a few learnings I’d like to share:
- Speak up! – This is most important. Don't be afraid to speak your mind and share your ideas. One never knows when a unique perspective and insight can make a significant impact on the team and the company.
- Be resilient - The tech industry can be challenging, and setbacks are a part of the journey. Be resilient, learn from failures, and keep moving forward.
- Embrace diversity – Industries need diverse perspectives and voices to thrive. We all must embrace diversity and seek out opportunities to work with people from different backgrounds and experiences.
- Take risks: Don't be afraid to take calculated risks in your career. You will be surprised by the opportunities that come your way when you step outside of your comfort zone.
- And lastly, have fun - Remember to enjoy the journey! Take the time to appreciate the opportunities and experiences that come your way.