If you had a six-member team comprising Maria, Ramya, Fatima, Kumar, Joseph and Asif, would you call it diverse and inclusive? If not, we are on the same page! If yes, you might want to reconsider your view after reading this post.
Diversity in the workplace doesn’t mean gender equality. It is more about achieving a workplace that fosters diversity in terms of skills, ability, culture, gender, interest, ambition and more.
We thank Sudeep Kumar Sen, VP, Gi Group and Manan Sharma, Director and Country Head of HR & Admin, India, Blaize, for being part of our Parichay Webinar Series. During a recent edition, they discussed the various facets of diversity in the workplace, implementation challenges, benefits and its impact on productivity.
In this post, we have summarised the key benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Not every problem can be solved by people who think alike. When you involve people from diverse backgrounds, better solutions are likely to emerge faster. That’s because some of these people would have either handled similar issues or contributed to similar solutions in the past.
It pays to involve the key people of your organisation in your decision-making process. If you succeed in achieving this inclusivity, then you are empowering your entire organisation to solve short- and long-term problems.
If you are aiming to achieve workplace diversity at an org. level, you need to take quick-fix solutions with a pinch of salt. Real change happens with bold, collective and sustainable decisions that result in sustainable benefits.
If your organisation is like a pyramid, then you need to see that there is some element of influx of these thoughts into people at all levels.
Sudeep Kumar Sen, VP, Gi Group
Explore the possibility of identifying managers (change agents) who have achieved diversity in their teams. Then use their success as a beacon for others who are hesitant to embrace the change.
When teams think and work in silos, learning becomes limited to the respective team members. Diversity is about thinking together for the benefit of everybody in the organisation. When you have diverse perspectives, you will discover more possibilities for finding solutions to problems.
Unrelenting focus and an emphasis on the need for a diverse workplace is needed from all the teams and all the management groups. That's how everyone gets the message that diversity is not a choice. It is basically a smart thing to do.
Manan Sharma, Director and Country Head of HR & Admin, India, Blaize
Teams that have embraced diversity should volunteer to propagate their feat so that other teams can also borrow a page from them. A case study from another organisation that has achieved greatness is also a great source of learning.
If only the cultural aspects of diversity are considered, productivity enhancement initiatives are likely to take a beating. Workplace diversity is about the diversity of skills and ability to solve problems collectively and effectively.
Multiple perspectives encourage learning and help increase the overall productivity score of employees. How? A multifaceted team has people who have learned from failure and also people who are trying to replicate their previous success. Therefore, no organisation should fail to be inclusive, and embrace a culture of performance.
When employees feel that their job is becoming mundane, they are likely to scout for new opportunities. So, it is important that you allow them to share their views and involve them while addressing challenges or solving problems. This makes them feel empowered.
Some companies also provide an interdepartmental transfer option where employees get to learn from new team members and vice versa. Since hiring or rehiring has a cost component, some departments look at retention as a primary benefit of workplace diversity.
The task of brand building is not restricted to the marketing department. Even the HR has a big role to play. Your internal initiatives, related to engagement, diversity and inclusion, will eventually become visible to the world outside. A satisfied team member is your best brand ambassador! When the good news spreads, you get to draw the best and diversified talent from the market. Who doesn’t love to work for an equal-opportunity employer!
When your organisation chooses to embrace any one aspect of diversity, the action may not yield the desired results. Any D&I initiative has to be based on a holistic approach that is aligned to the core business objectives of an organisation. Also, this initiative is not the sole responsibility of HR. The leaders and functional heads have to do their bit in building an organisation where performance, growth and sustainability become a culture that’s embraced by all.