Building Role Models for a Diverse, New-Age Workforce
Creating impactful leaders for a diverse and modern workforce is not a one-time exercise, but an ongoing endeavor.
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Never have organizations operated in markets more complex and disruptive as they are in the current times. Businesses need to continue investing in their employees in order to stay relevant and ahead in the game. Forward-thinking organizations have realized the importance of developing their workforce - especially today, when the environment is dynamic; and are steadily focusing on areas such as leadership development.
Understandably, a key part of the leadership planning and development conversation is ‘diversity’. It has been observed that while many organizations do well in building a diverse workforce at the entry levels and in the lower strata of the hierarchy, the ratio dwindles as one moves up the growth ladder.
Diversity and gender inclusivity in organizations is an area with a much larger scope. Conventionally, societal norms have conditioned women from early childhood about how certain significant leadership attributes like vision, decisiveness and assertiveness are typically associated only with men. Categorizing professional roles based on traditional aptitude stereotypes is a major contributor to the ‘glass ceiling’ phenomenon. Women often hesitate to seek growth opportunities and struggle to find the courage to move up the hierarchy because of these entrenched mindsets. To add to this, they also face life-event intermissions that make the entire process of career growth quite challenging.
The fact remains, that lack of gender diversity in leadership roles creates a culture imbalance and organizations suffer in the longer term. When women are not adequately represented in senior management roles, the sustainability of business progress suffers, and the organization misses out on the strength of diverse ideas and talents; and the culture falters for the want of empathy and sensitivity. Conscious gender diversity at the leadership level is non-negotiable for successful business and people outcomes. The onus is on organizations to empower women to lead. We need to create the right role models who will inspire our early career professionals.
Considering the limitations and safety considerations of the current times, this program is completely virtual, designed in-house by a team of HR and business experts, well supported by the leadership team. This multi-functional team spanning over three continents and several time zones came together to create a program which matches the capabilities of a conventional in-person leadership development module.
This program encapsulates the elements of talent diagnostics, virtual workshops, micro learning and action learning projects. Interactions with industry leaders and role models from within DXC are covered in this program, which makes for an exciting journey for the chosen participants. Undoubtedly, this journey will add immense value to the holistic development of these women leaders by building on business insight, digital dexterity and a growth mindset. Another highlight of the program is the enablement of networking and navigating within the organization; as well as personal branding. The idea is to provide a platform and equip these talented professionals to achieve their potential as leaders of tomorrow.
Creating impactful leaders for a diverse and modern workforce is not a one-time exercise, but an ongoing endeavor. The work begins right at the entry level, where higher focus is required on hiring a diverse workforce. Recently, DXC India also onboarded 500 women in a single day. The crucial factor of acknowledging and acting on the need for a gender-diverse workforce as well as leadership, is key to an organization’s future successes.
(Author of the article is Lokendra Sethi, Vice President and India Human Resources leader, DXC Technology )