Diversity and inclusion are more than just policies and headcount. It is an ongoing effort to battle a history of biased and discriminatory behavior in the workplace. However, it can be challenging to juggle diversity, the needs of different individuals and even dealing with one’s own personal biases.
Diversity and inclusion is consistent effort in creating an inclusive and safe work culture. Sushrita Bhowal, HR Director, SAP Labs India states, “You cannot just celebrate one month in a year and call it a day. You need to make sure the policies are inclusive and the workplace is sensitised and comfortable with the diversity present.”
Swetha Harikrishnan, HR Director, HackerEarth adds, “Diversity and inclusion mean psychological safety at the workplace. This by default creates inclusion for everyone, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and work is valued.”
There are personal biases attached to the communities people belong to and the need to be conscious of personal bias and be open to feedback becomes crucial. Annapurna Swarup, Head - HR & Admn, Fime India Pvt. Ltd. comments, “Feedback mechanism is very important for D&I (diversity and inclusion). People are not perfect, and bringing groups together is not easy. D&I will not happen in a day, and while we may not always be inclusive, we are evolving. ”
Parul Mathur, SVP - HR & Training, Tradeindia.com suggests, “Let's do simple speech changes. Do not ask women about marriage and children or propagate yourself as a company that provides transportation because they are conscious of the safety of certain groups. There is no need to bring up diversity and inclusion with employees. What is said and the attitude you adapt contributes to the work culture.”
Megha Gupta, HR Director, Fiserv notes, “Flexibility beyond remote working drives diversity. Pandemic has opened up a big opportunity in the untapped talent that was not available before. Studies show that diversity contributes to businesses' growth and talent retention. This is a great time for businesses to create a culture that promotes diversity, inclusion and equality.”
Diversity is the first step that only contributes to a business through inclusion. There is a need to re-engineer and re-define workplace culture and integrate the old with the new.