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Does your organization really follow both diversity and inclusion?

By Praveen K Jha, Principal Architect, GlobalLogic

Organizations are increasingly getting diverse. Diversity usually means hiring different people who are in the minority like differently-abled people, people from different ethnicity, background, and gender. However, rarely will we see the minority group in the leadership position. Organizations proudly claiming to be diverse and providing equal opportunities have faltered along the way for the sustainable and long term growth of the people in the minority. Different groups find difficulty in performing as they often bear the brunt of negative vibes and comments because their views are outside of the prescribed societal norms. The behaviour of the organization and people is the outcome of deep-rooted beliefs, prejudices, and biases that makes the acceptance outside the norm difficult. The result is high attrition due to work-related stress, lower job satisfaction, non-inclusiveness among the diverse group. The focus should not be on diversity alone. What is missing is the inclusiveness. It means,

  1. Openness to share different perspectives
  2. Valuing, appreciating and promoting the diverse talent
  3. Respecting and accepting the differences
  4. Reasonable accommodation for their various needs
  5. A diverse culture that embraces and celebrates the different opinions and thoughts

A change in the mindset achieves inclusion, which is an adaptive process. A person will perceive inclusion in the work environment when there are fairness and respect, along with a sense of belonging within the team and the organization. To foster a sense of belonging, organizations, and leaders should strive to extend the network of influence and include diverse groups to connect and hear their voices. Inclusion requires rewiring the system to rewire the behaviour. The rewiring process involves,

  1. Training to reset the culture – Mindset change to overcome the prejudices and beliefs
  2. Adjusting system – Accommodating (Example – no racial comments, making work environment suitable for all women including those who are pregnant)
  3. Using data to pinpoint leaks – Inclusion in the network of influence for career advancement
  4. Setting tangible goals – Organization to decide on the percentage of diverse employees at each hierarchy level and actively working towards it

A diverse and inclusive group helps organizations to outperform and innovate through different ideas, perspectives, and general outlook. In today’s world, where organizations are finding it hard to survive in the face of enormous competition, diversity, and inclusion is the key to unlock the potential and sail through the storm.

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