Diversity and inclusion not only enhances effectivity in an organization but also stimulates innovation. Diversity broadens one’s outlook and betters understanding, improves communication and provides a greater opportunity for learning and teamwork.
India is a land of diverse culture and employees in an organization come from different geographies (states), backgrounds, education, etc., with different abilities and sensibilities, and add to that the gender mix. When people work interact with each other, their outlook expands and in most cases rises above their regional and social beliefs to work as an integrated team.
Today, not only are employees from diverse backgrounds working together but they are also working with people of different nationalities.
While organizations across India are transforming their work ethics and culture, it has paved the way for diversity to take the centre stage in business culture. Indian companies have assimilated trends, work cultures and the best practices from around the world and customized to the local needs as well the global scenario, and this has resulted in positive attributes in a company’s productivity and efficacy. The year gone by has only honed this as people were much more accessible ‘digitally’.
Just for an example, we have people from 17 different nationalities working with the Group and only the other day, we had a zoom call with marketing colleagues from India (from different backgrounds) and from Nigeria, UAE, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil. For some it was early morning and other very late evening but every one accommodated and we got some phenomenal results. Each one learnt from the others, there was diversity but also a lot of common ground.
When people from various sections of society meet at one place, it usually leads to new ideas and improved interpersonal relationships. It enables stronger bonds with the workplace ecosystem and this results not only in increasing employee satisfaction but fosters positive attitudes and helps in creating better decision making through combined efforts.
Diversity and Inclusion are two different notions, but the essence remains the same. Both need to coexist and integrate with each other for best results. Practiced individually they don’t give the expected benefits. Diversity is also about including people with skills and mindsets that the existing team may lack but the business needs. It is important to remember, especially when acquiring talent, that one must not seek ‘Mirror images” even though it is the most ‘comfortable’ i.e. to have people who think alike! However, that could end up not strengthening ‘weak ‘links’. Thus, a very important aspect of diversity i.e. strengthening in areas where the team is lacking gets ignored.
In the last few years, HR and management have been effectively integrating and practising diversity & inclusivity in the work space. It has become a way of life. Every employee is a professional and hired only because they fit the job requirement. It does not matter what background, region, ethnicity they come from. Gender also is no longer a criteria, especially in the metros and corporate functions.
Today, women form a sizable portion of the workforce and breached many male strongholds. The equal percentage share will still take time but we are getting there. In many professions, women are in leading positions and also in greater numbers.
However, diversity sometimes can bring odd experiences too, but what remains crucial is the approach. We should always be collective in our efforts and mindset then only we can bring positivity to the team.
To bring a change in our society and upgrade ourselves, we have focused hard to hire people with different experiences, skill sets, and talents because that’s how a company builds a great foundation. In my opinion, encouraging diversity helps in attracting and retaining better talent. Thus, this improves communication and enhances learning power among colleagues, and leads to a stronger organizational culture.
Diversity cannot exist without inclusion, both are interrelated to each other. Diversity is about the representation of different groups and bringing all under one roof, whereas Inclusion is about the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups of people valued by top leaders. Inclusion levels the playing field and provides equal opportunities and is the bedrock for innovation. We believe, innovation is a way of life and every single member is encouraged, recognized and rewarded for their innovative ideas which have been implemented.
A positive inclusive environment embraces diversity, engagement, and belonging. When employees feel included, the sense of belonging drives to increased positive performance and empowerment within the organization that will radiate throughout. Everyone has to have a voice irrespective of designations and categories.
I firmly believe when businesses encourage individualism, inclusion, and diversity tend to score better in achieving a durable competitive advantage.