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Diversity in organizations helps establish inclusive cultures that not only drive growth but also unlock new possibilities and enhance performances through creativity and collaboration. Diverse customers demand a more inclusive servicing enterprise with equally diverse minds to think differently and to address a wide range of needs. Diversity is a workplace priority as well, since employee engagement is crucial for long-term resilience in these uncertain times. The tech industry fares poorly as against its counterparts when it comes to gender and racial diversity. Solving this issue is a matter of both inclusion and diversity, because by being inclusive it is possible to be diverse.

Inclusiveness, the silver lining of the pandemic

While the pandemic has been devastating, it has made enterprises across the world embrace a more humane work culture. With such a high percentage of the global workforce operating from the safety of their homes, meeting etiquette has become more relaxed. Borderless workspaces are promoting a better understanding of diversity and a more tolerant workplace culture. On the flip side, there is the question of whether continuing to work remotely and being unable to meet people face-to-face will make it difficult to generate a positive organizational culture.

To stay diverse, enterprises need to embrace the fact that people can be from any part of the world. Borderless workspaces with the workforce operating from their homes have leveled the playing field in terms of accessibility for the physically challenged people. Likewise, the lockdowns have caused a better understanding of work-life balance amongst those in supervisory roles. Enterprises have also become sensitive to the mental well-being and care-giving needs of their employees and are consciously building programs to take care of these unprecedented diverse needs.

How can enterprises ensure that inclusiveness consciously permeates every stage of their employees’ life cycle?

Hiring and Onboarding

Inclusive hiring is already a part of the recruitment policy of many global enterprises. Of late, enterprises are carrying forward this trend while seeking to fill senior positions at the CXO level as well. Going one step forward, enterprises are now asking candidates specific questions during interviews about inclusiveness challenges they have experienced. This helps to get examples of instances when candidates might not have felt included, or when they had to go above and beyond to ensure that their organizations are inclusive.

Talent Development

It is important to deliberately track diverse employees within the right potential talent identified for going up the ladder. There could be employees that are unaware of their own capabilities and may need a push from their organizations to help them develop these skills and find mentors and career advisors. Career path conversations and carefully designed development programs can ensure that the diversity mix continues to be healthy not just at the entry level but at various leadership levels as well.

Employee Engagement

Belongingness and inclusion are important now more than ever as both workforces and customer profiles have become more diverse. Employees can leverage internal organization charts, databases, or social networks to gain visibility, connect and collaborate with each other. This promotes the social objective of the enterprise as well as the belongingness and mentoring needs of employees. Borderless workspaces by nature encourage collaboration among geographically diverse teams as well as enable differently abled employees to overcome their physical limitations. With the evolution of collaboration technology, switching on videos, for instance, can promote employee engagement. All it requires is a good collaboration platform, tech-savvy participants, and an organizer conscious about various global time zones. Reiterating the cultural values of the organization would also help ensure a positive work environment.

Significance of Measuring Inclusiveness

To tackle the problem of inclusivity correctly, it is crucial to periodically measure it, track it and observe the difference. By recognizing inclusiveness, an enterprise-level KPI, and tracking and reporting it, a change in mindset will eventually follow, where diversity is consciously embraced by everyone at all levels. There is a necessary level of innovation that may be required in the implementation of such initiatives to ensure better results.

Technology Enabled Inclusion

Technology can enable a more diverse enterprise by driving transparency in opportunities and diversity representation through data and analytics. Successful enterprises are those that consider attrition analytics seriously to identify the impact of inclusiveness on employee retention. Human capital management and cloud solutions by leading vendors such as Oracle can empower HR leaders with helpful insights on these aspects and develop the workplace of the future.

Inclusive teams that enable the thriving of diversity are more innovative, powerful, and collaborative. Active conversations about conscious inclusiveness can promote diversity. Enterprises would also benefit from expanding their definition of diversity, to includes equality and cognitive diversity, which is diversity of thought and the mind. Diverse leadership is key for enterprises to be leaders in inclusiveness.