“People feel included when they are treated equitably and with respect.”
I recently read an article by Deloitte Insights called, The diversity and inclusion revolution: Eight powerful truths, and came across a figure that described their inclusion model. You can find it here below.
The power of inclusion in the workplace
As concepts, diversity and inclusion are popularly clubbed together, but in practice, the focus tends to be drawn towards the diversity aspect of things. But the formula identified by Deloitte is pretty straightforward: Diversity + inclusion = better business outcomes.
Diversity without inclusion isn’t worth anything, unless they are combined together. Often, within organizations, the concept of the power of inclusion in the workplace is left to one’s personal interpretation of it. Without a clear and shared understanding of inclusion, people are prone to miscommunication, progress cannot be evaluated, and leaders can’t be held accountable.
The power of inclusion, at its highest point, is expressed as feeling “confident and inspired.” Each of elements illustrated in the image above are necessary to encourage a diversity in thinking to emerge. Therefore, when organizations are clear about their objective, only then can they turn their attention to the elements that drive inclusion, and consequently take action and measure results.
A study by McKinsey found a statistically significant correlation between diverse leadership teams and financial outperformance. Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability, while those that went beyond gender to incorporate ethnic or cultural diversity were 33% more likely to lead in profitability. These initiatives to form teams diverse in age, experience, and gender and sexual identity only increases performance success, and raises the bar for companies to follow suit.
A study from the International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences describes how Indian companies have been investing in diverse workplaces. In addition, MNCs are attracted to India to explore its diverse markets. These organisations are voluntarily making efforts towards inclusion of various groups of society to fill the skill gap and gain the benefits of workforce diversity.
Here are some notable workplaces around India that are leading the way in making the workplace welcome and inclusive for its diverse employees.
Myntra is raising the bar for how they approach gender sensitisation and diversity is approached in the modern Indian workplace. They’ve taken measures such as reserved parking for expectant mothers, and the #WeForShe initiative, which conducts brown bag sessions which comprehensively addresses the challenges faced by women in the workplace.
The food delivery giant announced paid maternity and paternity leave for all its employees and also extended this facility to non-birthing parents (parents who have adopted children). Zomato also introduced a Period Leave policy for all women and transgender employees who are facing discomfort due to menstruation.
3. Godrej Group
The Godrej Group values diversity in experiences and beliefs to shape an inclusive workforce. The conglomerate’s HR policies allows employees to add a partner as a health insurance beneficiary and not just a spouse. They also have work-from-home policies, flexible timings, and other measures to give employees more freedom and flexibility in their schedules.
4. Tech Mahindra
Tech Mahindra is globally recognised for its excellent Diversity and Inclusion policies. They have introduced a host of policies to meet the needs of parents, children, the LGBTQ+ community, new mothers, people of different sexes, differently-abled people, underprivileged communities, and more. The company has also introduced programs for women, such as COLORS, Mentoring Tables, Role Model Series that give them an opportunity to develop their careers.
5. Culture Machine
Culture Machine introduced the transformational First Day of Period Leave as part of the leave policy of the organization, for all its women and transgender employees. This policy faced quite an amount of opposition and backlash, but also an overwhelming amount of support.
The company is well-renowned for its open and inclusive workplace which they integrate right from he beginning of an employee’s journey at the organization, the performance evaluation process, people planning strategies, and employee engagement activities.
One of the remarkable initiatives by Lifestyle was called the “Creating A Ripple” program, in which the objective was to create an ecosystem where employees display a high degree of sensitivity and empathy towards each other’s issues, problems, or grievances. This cultural change was encouraged through activities and training programs conducted across the organization. As a result, the employees were introduced to the idea that they could help another employee with a grievance when they were given the choice to be an empathizer.
The technology consultancy has D&I ingrained in the DNA of the organization which influences all aspects of its business, including its culture, policies, and decision making. Thoughtworks has a multi-pronged approach to D&I, with various initiatives to drive it across all its new functions, from recruiting, HR, training programs to marketing. Their initiative Vapasi assists experienced women developers who are looking to re-enter the wold of programming after a career break. The company is committed to being a safe and bias free space for women, and to being an ally to the LGTQIA community.
Preserved in the Indian constitution is the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of race, caste, religion, sex or place of birth, as well as the promotion of equal opportunity in public employment and protection from social injustice and exploitation. Due to its multi religious and multicultural nature, Indian workplaces are comprised of people from a wide range of faiths and identities. Across the country, major efforts are being made to protect the rights of women, the LGBTQ+ community, and the differently abled.
Indian organizations are setting the standard of what it means to work in a diverse and inclusive environment. Providing opportunity and protection to a spectrum of identities is critical to fostering success and leadership. Inclusion in the workplace will continue to be an ever-present ideology. And Indian enterprises are well on their way to building empowered, diverse, and inclusive workplaces.