Diversity & Inclusion: New Rules While Being On A Common Ground
Diversity is a proven driver of innovation, development of new ideas, and a key factor in real time alignment to the market place. When lending voice to diverse sets of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, organisations can expect a substantial increase in engagement and productivity. Leading organisations now see diversity and inclusion as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle to enhance employee engagement, improve brand, and drive performance. While interventions such as training are helpful, it is apparent that mere awareness is insufficient. Organisations should consider making structural changes, implementing transparent and data-driven solutions, to give decision makers an understanding of how bias impacts decision-making, talent decisions, and business outcomes.
While the HR fraternity unanimously agrees that diversity is the key driver for innovation, only 6% have moved forward to tie compensation to diversity outcomes. What are some of the diversity challenges that are dauntingly difficult to solve in the industry?
Dr. Niru Kumar: I have had the opportunity to be a Consultant to a cross section of Industries and levels- FMCG, IT and Software, Banks, Oil and Gas, Mines and Metals, Telecom, and Healthcare. I have trained top global leaders right down to the employees of manufacturing units in the remotest areas of India. There are some diversity challenges which are common to all; while some are Industry specific, some are location specific. That the Diversity and Inclusion journey is a slow-moving process is a common challenge. While it is relatively easier to frame or amend policies, rules and representations, the mindset, the key determinant while applying these policies and changes demand significant effort and time. Mindset and Inclusiveness is a very subjective zone and needs constant titration. For instance, a woman employee who was suffered from severe Post Natal depression had requested that she wanted to avail the facility of work from home offered by the company. Her reporting manager labelled this as a weakness of the mind and said, “The company spoils people like you, but what can I do, I will have to let you take it?”
Diversity fatigue is a common phenomenon observed in many companies who have been in the D & I journey for a few years now. Many organisations have noticed an initial surge in results and organisational health, that is followed by either a plateau or a decline. This is a stage where some organisations slacken their efforts. I have seen that those who are driving it are excited as long as they are the first movers of certain conversations and applications, and have a competitive edge. As soon as the conversation is seen to be highly talked about (which it should), it is labelled as clichéd, resulting in the driving teams losing motivation. Sustainability is compromised.
Tushar Joshi: Before highlighting the diversity challenges, let us reflect on few insights for Indian Pharma industry.
1. India is the world’s third largest producer of drugs.
2. With a contribution of 13.7 per cent to the global pharmaceuticals and biotechnology workforce, India has emerged as the second largest market for the industry.
3. With a total deployment of around 50 million employees, the Indian pharma sector has 10-15
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