Thriving in New Normal with Diversity at Core
With businesses continuing to innovate for an increasingly varied customer base, the need for a diverse workforce, fuelled by an inclusive culture, has never been clearer.
COVID-19 has impacted the employers as well as the employees across the globe, changing work and life as we know it, probably forever. Corporates accelerated their speed to adapt to new digital technologies like never before, leading to a massive change in how we hired associates, communicated with our teams, and how we celebrated festivals as an organization and community. The skills required to be able to fit into this new environment became a priority for business leaders. Hence began the journey to increase the agility among employees and develop a new culture for this new way of working.
The pandemic has also drawn attention to the need for a more compassionate and inclusive leadership globally; with diversity being a strategic intervention for sustainable equity. It is imperative for businesses to recognise the critical importance of a more collaborative, equitable culture, not just for their employees and direct benefits to their oragnisations, but the wider business and local community. It’s about making each individual realise how they can impact in the bigger picture, it’s about joining the dots to a circle.
Advent of virtual ‘glocal hiring’
As the ‘work from anywhere’ culture becomes the new normal, organizations are realising the positive impact of this culture - be it associates with being more productive or the increased engagement between teams. With location not being a restriction anymore, not only will enterprises be able to tap into a larger talent pool, but also hire more diversely with the expansive reach. To ensure that we as an industry are creating equal and fair opportunities for everyone, we will have to engage with potential employees and contractual consultants in an inclusive manner.
The starting point for these inclusive actions is in the very wording and positioning of job roles and postings. Organisations will benefit from wider pools of applicants and talent for instance using gender-neutral pronouns will encourage candidates from varied backgrounds to apply for a certain position often occupied by male candidates.
Innovation for All
With businesses continuing to innovate for an increasingly varied customer base, the need for a diverse workforce, fuelled by an inclusive culture, has never been clearer. Especially in technology sector where innovation is happening at a lightning speed, the presence of a diverse workforce can not only drive transformational growth but can also help leaders make conscious decisions by exploring all facets of a new strategy or solution – good and bad.
While women are still in sadly under represented when it comes to applying for jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or working in the field, encouraging flexi- and remote work, as has been enforced by COVID, means there are less barriers to businesses gaining the benefit of diverse perspectives.
Another group that is unfortunately still a minority in STEM related fields are differently-abled individuals. There are over 1 billion people worldwide that live with some form of disability. That's roughly 15% of the world's population. But why are they still in minority? The first step in being truly inclusive is by understanding the barriers in the way of the specially-abled individuals and putting mechanisms in place to remove these hurdles. Remote work again in many ways tends to bridge this gap.
As individuals are working alongside their colleagues in the virtual workplace from a space already designed to their comforts, they are able to achieve higher job satisfaction, a level playing field and in turn increased productivity. This coupled with inclusive internal apps with features, like text to speech, speech recognition and visual aid descriptions, can aid in maintaining an equitable environment. With the help of assistive technology in this digital age, we can eliminate barriers systematically and embed diversity at the core of our workforce. Also, with emerging technologies under our wing, individuals with neuro-diverse and specifically autistic individuals, who are detail oriented, can also reach their full potential and thrive.
It’s no time to fit in
When the diversity of thoughts and perspectives come together, they help build more inclusive societies and create opportunities for innovation to be at the forefront of this digital evolution.
Progressive companies are no longer looking for a cultural fit, they are looking at individuals who can add value to their organizational culture while being aligned to their values. The reason for this is the behavioral aspect, where strict, restrictive, cultural fit mechanisms result in increasing homogeneous personality traits, that cannot easily adapt and change to new requirements. Different perspectives on solution resolution give benefit.
These biases will not only impact the organization culture but will also in turn impact the products, solutions and services of the organization. This can be mitigated by removing limiting barriers in the hiring criteria, so as to move away from a monoculture. This will also mean relooking at the company policies, procedures and revising its best practices.
At Commvault, we are always focused on building a diverse workforce across the globe. For instance, we are looking at recruiting women in for profiles, such as user experience, which would have traditionally been held by a man. We believe it is essential to have a fair chance at having a high quality of life which is measured in terms of progress including equal experiences, equal wages and equal opportunities for career advancement for both men and women. Organizations need to have progressive policies that not only encourage diversity but also equity to ensure that sameness for all its employees. This is key to equality.
Whether we’re talking about our user experiences or women’s rights, it’s impossible to have equality if we don’t have equity. As a software company, we have an opportunity to solve both by creating a product that adapts to different needs across our industry and focusing on larger social issues, like gender equality. While at times inequality is disheartening, the best solutions are creative and factor in each voice and its unique needs equally.
As we progress onto our journeys to becoming better facets of the society, giving everyone an equal opportunity towards development and progress by going beyond gender, generation, culture, age, PWD, LGBTQ+, disabilities can lead to a better quality of life for all. Our goal is clearer as the grit we use to debunk systematic conditioning will tell us how we’ve faired to achieve this ‘utopian’ dream.
Like Maya Angelou beautifully put: ‘We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.’
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house