Diversity Works - A Practical Introduction To Inclusion In The Workforce

Young startups and companies are becoming more flexible and this is certainly an achievement for our nation.

Lloyd Mathias, Angel Investor & Business Strategist was the session chair for another panel discussion, one on how diversity inclusion in the workforce, works. He began by summarizing his own journey and discussed some examples of how diversity inclusion in the workforce works. He added examples from his experiences and was very vocal and interesting as he spoke about a plethora of trends and examples.

Varda Taneja, Senior Assistant Vice President, Invest India, stated that she was speaking from the experience where she worked. She said that Invest India built up the number of employees from a few to 250 to 300 people as of now. They have ensured inclusivity and diversity. They have employees from almost all the states in the country. “The workforce is also got a lot of female employees as 52 to 53 percent of them are women. 50 percent of the employees in the senior management are also women. We feel that the performance of the company in stakeholder management, engaging with the government, at the top tier - whether it is senior bureaucrats or ministers etc. I think the experience has been great as we have been able to build our value in the system very well, given how young and at what a nascent stage we are and what the organization prides itself in celebrating all these things, and it is not just about putting a logo in a multi-colored fashion and then celebrating that as diversity in different kinds of people. It is really actually incorporating it in your practices.”

Tanvi Bosmia - Group Account Manager, Brand Experience, SoCheers said she has also been a part of an organization which grew from ground up. “It is very important to have various perspectives and our industry is such that every perspective is very important and having various voices in a room helps in various ways of opening up our mind also in general and it brings a lot to the table overall, because the minute we start getting perspectives from every single member in the room I think that there is a possibility of a great creative solution of that.

Plus we are in an industry which markets to an audience of 1.3 billion people of different thought processes so it helps in crafting innovative strategies when we come together and build those solutions together. Other than that now we have a work culture which is pretty open and everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute at every given point.”

On a slightly different tangent, Devesh Rohmetra - Sr. Art Director, Dentsu, Webchutney said that “I feel the changes we have to make an impact are a lot of policy and design changes. Because inclusion also means inclusion of LGBTQ communities, an inclusion of disables, more disables should be empowered with not just a job but an equal opportunity in those terms. For example most of the medical claims that we get from corporate groups but the fact is that most of these medical claims can include their spouse or partner in their medical claimer healthcare. Whereas, if you were a part of the LGBTQ community and you have the same gender partners, no matter how serious or long it is, most of the organisations don’t offer those options. As a country, economy and society we need to evolve much further. Coming to design changes, a lot of offices that we work at have a lot of flexibility for disables but there are a lot more things that can be done to make it more inclusive. These are serious issues. I come from a very young industry. Now we have increasing representations of women in the higher managements.”

Addressing the key points that should be in our nation’s education system Anjana Sastri - Director Marketing, Sterling Developers Pvt. Ltd. stated that, “What I think of diversity is that it is something that we learn from our childhood and is something that we all actually grow up with, begin to recognize, become sensitive to it, as we go along building our professional and personal lives. I think now it is increasingly very important for the education system to build in diversity as a learning for a child at a very young age. This is because as you grow older it becomes things that you know, things that you are aware of versus an aspect that needs special attention. Coming from the real estate space it has been very male dominated. It currently still is but companies are doing their best to try and bring in diversity with respect to gender in the workforce. I think historically the reason why there was not much diversity was because of the multiple layers of bureaucracy or government or things like that you do end up dealing with in this form of business. Diversity is not just about gender, age, ethnicity, or religion. It is now more and more about diversity in leadership styles, in thought processes, in problem solving processes and strategies.”

Young startups and companies are becoming more flexible and this is certainly an achievement for our nation.

Gautam Raj Anand - Managing Director, Hubhopper, stated “Young companies such as mine are potential torchbearers of how you can integrate inclusivity from an early point in an organization going forward. Some of the things we do are firstly, we have a quarterly OKR cycle. Instead of the management giving the employees ratings on their performance, it is actually the opposite that happens. The employees can remain completely anonymous in their answers which they have given to the management. The management is such that they are accountable where they are not only asked questions about work but also according to things like inclusivity and also things like general code of conduct across office. Secondly, we have a daily stand up where the managers will speak to their teams for 5 minutes where half of it will not be about work. It is based on their mental peace, how they feel about the organization and whether they are they feeling pro the organization, are they feeling negative about the organization about certain things? It creates the potential of open conversations or bilateral conversations to exist. Thirdly, we try to have a cooling off period where every week before the pandemic we go out for coffee where we wouldn’t talk about work at all. In fact, work was off the table. In creating the potential for interpersonal conversations in that manner automatically, these sort of discussions, would come to fore. Finally, what we try to do is that all our communication whether it is through newsletters or it is the format of what we write across our products, we are constantly creating a vision and culture that promotes inclusivity. If you don’t fit into that culture you don’t belong to the organization. These 4 pillars that we follow are important.”

On a conclusive note, we can say that inclusion is being taken very seriously by young people as well and that our society is changing its mindset with a vast variety of acceptances from within.

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