Historically, human organizations were built on premises that negated diversity and inclusion. One of the biggest challenges faced by HR and L&D experts is the rapid pace at which the workplace is evolving. With most organizations taking D&I very seriously, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines diversity as “the collective mixture of differences and similarities that include, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.” Being inclusive is a conscious effort and it is imperative for companies to establish a clear understanding on all the aspects of diversity. SHRM defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.
There are two ways of viewing diversity in the workplace: –
- Visible Factors – Traits that are often emphasized like race, gender, physical abilities, age, and body type.
- Invisible Factors – Traits like socio-economic status, sexual orientation, education and parental status.
A lot of companies have been talking about diversity and inclusion and are now doing everything possible to foster an inclusive climate at workplace. Leading diversity practitioners in the industry are beginning to adopt very focused approaches to D&I programs. Companies hire women in large numbers to maintain their gender ratio balance. It is essential to know that real diversity goes beyond genders. It is not about having a diverse workforce but creating a haven for folks where they can embrace their uniqueness enabling him or her to contribute to the fullest. As mentioned earlier that inclusion is a conscious effort, it takes time to settle in.
India is arguably the most diverse country with a plethora of cultures, languages, and emerging dialects, however, seeing Diversity and Inclusion through the lens of India, the country still has a long way to go, we are still at a very nascent stage when it comes to recognizing differences amongst people. Here are a few ways to deploy at workplace to promote diversity-
- Make HR Policies flexible for expectant mothers by way of having creche facility in the workplace, maternity leaves
- Creating a zero-tolerance environment for sexual harassment and setting up a redressal council that shall hear their concerns in case an incident has occurred
- By protecting the rights of LGBTQ community and ensuring the members of it are not discriminated
- In most companies which are high on mobility, they have considered to hire people with disabilities
- Timely training of laws and regulations pertaining to diversity- This will help induce reduction in workplace complexities
Hiring and developing people from the same background will reduce the company’s scope to expand, as a result they will miss out on diverse talent pool and their capabilities. A diverse and inclusive workspace is a boon for any business that wants to be an agent of change. Even if 90% of companies become inclusive, society will become resilient. Additionally, this will foster increased business results!