Fujitsu Explains; Why Companies Must Ensure a Truly Diverse Workforce in 2021?
Fujitsu has been working hard to foster an inclusive work environment for all and has been helping employees including persons with disabilities, neurodiverse employees and others through its EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and ERG (Employee Resource Group) programs.
A culture of diversity and inclusion can help boost morale and creativity among employees, thus leading to enhanced productivity for the organisation. It is important now more than ever that organisations understand the importance of D&I beyond gender.
Fujitsu has been working hard to foster an inclusive work environment for all and has been helping employees including persons with disabilities, neurodiverse employees and others through its EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and ERG (Employee Resource Group) programs. The successful implementation of various such initiatives has led to the employment rate of persons with disabilities at Fujitsu Limited to reach 2.23% in FY ‘19.
Hence, Sumit Sabharwal, Head of HR Service Delivery, Global Delivery Centers at Fujitsu, shared insights on what companies can do to enable a more inclusive culture this year with BW People’s journalist. Let’s read through their candid conversation and see as to how differently does Fujitsu treats diversity at their workplace.
- The importance of D&I at mid-management and senior management levels to inculcate a diverse culture throughout the organization
While raising awareness around diversity and inclusion is a good practice, it is not sufficient to ensure an inclusive work culture. In order to attract and retain diverse talent, it is imperative that organizations actively involve senior leaders and mid-level managers to implement D&I initiatives at all levels. Senior leadership can contribute to the setting of D&I goals and objectives and mid-level employees can help action these goals. Additionally, since managers directly influence the employee experience on a day to day basis at an operational level, they play a critical role in fostering an inclusive work environment. Hence, it is important to train mid-management employees, and equip them to deal with D&I related queries, thus boosting a culture of inclusivity at the ground level.
2. How can companies work towards creating a more conducive environment for all employees?
It is essential that organizations look at diversity and inclusion as an ongoing journey rather than an end objective. Creating awareness, conducting seminars around the experiences of different groups such as persons with disabilities, neurodiverse individuals, etc. can help all employees be more cognizant of their co-workers’ experiences and challenges. For instance, Fujitsu hosts forums that aim to support persons with disabilities in the workplace. Every year, forums are set up to have a variety of themes, such as rational considerations for people with disabilities, lessons for universal design, and developmental disabilities that are difficult to see, among others. In addition to this, organizations must work towards adapting their recruitment, hiring and retention strategies to suit a broader definition of talent, thus attracting and enabling a more diverse workforce.
3. What are the initiatives that Fujitsu will undertake to enhance D&I in 2021?
This year, Fujitsu is focusing on the theme of ‘Recover better’, a set of initiatives through which Fujitsu will help people address challenges that have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which was rolled out on Human Rights Day, will focus on embedding equality throughout our operations, promoting social and cultural rights, and encouraging participation and solidarity throughout the organization. The program will also focus on the physical and mental well-being of employees through a monthly webinar series, where members of the leadership team and external speakers will address challenges they have faced in the last couple of months, their experiences and tips to recover and grow. , Fujitsu also recently launched Ability Matters – An Employee Network for Disability and Accessibility. The network is open to all employees, including persons with disabilities, family members and friends of persons with disabilities, and allies of disability inclusion. In addition to this, we will continue to work on adapting our policies to attract more diverse talent and foster a more inclusive workforce.
4. Elucidate on how Fujitsu is consistently adapting its programs to work towards a broader definition of inclusivity?
Earlier our focus as an organization was largely on enhancing gender diversity. However, over the last two years, we have formed various Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) through which employees can engage, express and endeavor to influence change in areas that are of common interest that they are passionate about. These programs have been received well by our employees and we will continue to build on these initiatives further. A key example of this would be our neurodiversity ERG, formed to help neurodiverse individuals utilize their strengths at work and thrive through one another’s support. We have received positive responses from participants as Fujitsu took an initiative towards learning the needs of employees and creating a community of support for them.
5. How has Fujitsu been working towards fostering an inclusive work environment for all and helping employees including persons with disabilities, neurodiverse employees and others through its EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and ERG (Employee Resource Group) programs?
At Fujitsu, we have always been committed to ensuring that our employees come first. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which was initially rolled out in India, is now being replicated in 8 other Global Development Centers (GDCs) around the world. The program, designed to facilitate overall well-being and development of employees, focusses on monthly themes such as emotional wellness, financial stability, etc. and consists of webinars, fun activities, quizzes, and so on. Our Employee Resource Groups offer employees a means to connect with their coworkers over shared interests and experiences. Fujitsu currently has ERGs for neurodivere individuals, for working parents with young kids, and employees with elderly parents, among others.
6. With changes in amendments in code on wages, how are you planning on reworking on the compensation part of your employees when take-away is clearly being reduced to extensive amounts?
Much like the rest of the industry, we are closely observing this development and will adapt as the situation evolves. Our people will always be our topmost priority, and we will continue directing our efforts towards enabling an inclusive and conducive work environment for our employees. As an organization, we will continue to adopt all the necessary measures that facilitate opportunities for growth for our employees and help them perform to the best of their capabilities.
7. In these uncertain times, do you foresee the pay cycles being transformed in a new sense? Will it change to a daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis?
The pandemic has permanently changed the course of the Indian workforce landscape, with corporates adopting work-from-home or hybrid models to adapt to this new normal. According to a survey by Aon, organizations in India have shown tremendous resilience this year, and are betting on recovery. Up to 87 per cent of firms are planning salary hikes in 2021, compared to 71 per cent in 2020. Such trends are clear indicators that compensation and benefits will witness a positive overhaul in the industry, and we will accordingly work towards providing employees more flexibility as the situation evolves.
8. As an HR Leader, what are the three major areas you would focus on to build a more resilient and strong organization?
In the current scenario, there are various elements that have changed around how an organization functions and the initiatives that it needs to undertake for the growth of its employees. As organizations now move towards more sustainable operations, they are trying to build resilience across all operations to make the workplace respond better to change. Developing empathy, not only at an organizational level but also at mid-levels is an important focus area for us. Additionally, we would like to blur the regular nine to five working hours and help people learn more at the workplace and help them handle situations at home. We would also like to focus on informal communication so that employees have more meaningful conversations with each other beyond work.
9. Witnessing digitization in every area, how would hiring take the new face in the virtual setting?
Organizations have been on the lookout to revamp their recruitment processes and the pandemic has helped expedite this process further to suit evolving needs. This has led to organizations implementing a new wave of digital tools that have simplified and streamlined the recruitment process to fill vacancies faster, while significantly reducing efforts spent on the overall hiring process. Fujitsu has been an advocate of automation, long before the pandemic. We have various tools and mechanisms to connect with people virtually. We also understand that face to face interactions are important and we encourage people to visit offices if the conditions permit.
10. New policies and initiatives that Fujitsu plans to introduce in the coming year
At Fujitsu, we are currently focusing on the overall well-being of employees, helping them with more flexible working hours to achieve better work life balance. As the situation evolves, we will also work towards transitioning to a flexible working model under Fujitsu’s ‘Work Life Shift’ program, thus helping us redefine working styles for a more creative, productive, and empowering work experience.
11. According to you, how the future of work and workplace looks like?
For us at Fujitsu, the future looks promising as we are working towards a more flexible workplace, in line with the global team wherein employees can work from home 50% of the time. We are taking this transition as an opportunity and our redefinition of policies has already received positive feedback as we are creating an inclusive environment. As organisations, we need to listen to our people, capture their feedback and adapt our policies to run a more democratic way of taking the organization to the next level. More inclusive, resilient, and adaptable is how I would define the future of work and the workplace.