Imperative to drive the D&I agenda to foster innovation

Companies catering to a diverse range of consumers need to ensure diversity in the workforce to cater to the myriad needs of the consumer base. This essentially translates into the way they structure their workforce, drive business plans and chase targets. Making diversity and inclusion at the core of a business strategy is a recipe for success.

 

Often misconstrued as the quest for gender equality, the roots of diversity and inclusion at the workplace were sown over a 100 years ago. A pioneer to this effect was the Franklin Roosevelt, who made concerted efforts to end the discriminatory recruitment processes in the workforce. Over the years, the concept crossed boundaries, businesses and sectors to be where it is today.

 

In more ways than one, true workplace diversity is in understanding, accepting and valuing differences between people from different ethnicities, races, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, and sexual orientations. Inclusion involves the creation of a collaborative, supportive and respectful environment at the workplace.The knowledge of these concepts had made its way to the minds of people but the implementation still has a long way to go. A recent survey by PwC, indicated that while D&I is a stated priority for organizations, it has yet not translated into tangible results.

 

The devil is really in the detail. The D&I process is typically long drawn and calls for leadership teams to be patient enough for it to show results.  In India, there has been widespread adoption, with the governmentleading the change by recently appointing its first ever full timewoman finance minister. This comes closely on the back of the government legalizinghomosexuality with guidance from the Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority in Indiaand extending the maternity leave policy to 26 weeks. This clearly indicates that the ecosystem is gradually aligning towards making D&I a part of its DNA.

 

Despite driving unity in diversity with the presence of multiple languages, caste and creeds, Indian firms continue to find implementation challenging. This is evident in the fact that Indian companies have D&I goals and targets but only 27% publish them1.

At PayPal, our approach towards D&I is that of a journey. One which stands for inclusion, innovation, collaboration, courage and positive change. We work every day to build inclusion into our DNA as a company. This is far from a campaign or a day long training module, it is an attempt to make it a part of our cultural fabric.

 

We have a diverse global workforce, with employees representing 122 nationalities in 55 offices across 31 countries. In the United States, 17 percent of our overall U.S. workforce is made up of underrepresented ethnic groups.

 

While there might still be a long way to go for us, we believe the journey has begun – towards an environment where our employees have belief in their workplace to express their full selves and fulfill their highest potential.

 

Further zooming into the tech sector, Diversity and Inclusion, gender bias and opportunities for women have become board room conversations. Gender bias is a key barrier for women to succeed in the tech space and half of them feel they are treated differently due to their gender, the percentage rises to 59% for women in the senior leadership roles and 58% for executive board members2.

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