An Inclusive Workplace Makes for a Strong Organisational Culture: Flipkart CPO

An Inclusive Workplace Makes for a Strong Organisational Culture: Flipkart CPO

The future of the workforce needs to be positively different from what we used to know, and we must not only collectively embrace it but also enable it.

2020 was a year that none of us could have foreseen. It made most individuals, businesses and governments revisit their priorities in many different ways. It was also a time of awakening and renewed purpose. There was a catalysing effect, which led to organisations revisiting their perspective and reflecting on their good purpose. There was introspection and transformation as more people voiced their opinions and feelings. One clear and positive outcome is that a renewed focus has been placed on what it means to be progressive, with a spotlight on the ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ charter.


Inclusion can mean different things to different people. In the recent past, it has been gaining importance in word and — selectively — in deed. It has been a goal for some and a far reality for others. An organisation’s success greatly depends on its relationship with its workforce, and a healthy environment can be assured only when every employee feels valued. When an organisation’s culture makes every individual feel included, empowered and trusted, they will be deeply invested in doing the right thing, which can have a positive impact on the organisation’s overall success. Inclusion is a value that needs to be consistently seen and truly felt.


At a time when working from home is the new normal for most of us, how can we ensure that we continue to move forward in this mission of inclusion? How can we enable all stakeholders to revisit this value with renewed purpose?


The next decade will be powered by the forward thinkers. It’s time for everyone to embrace a vision for inclusion and be a driver for change.


Actionable insights will lead to a positive transformation


Real inclusion happens when both individuals and organisations communicate in a transparent fashion, develop an understanding of what inclusion means to them in a collaborative manner and take the necessary actions. Some of the steps can include addressing inherent biases against gender, people of colour, or demography. It can encompass addressing unconscious biases in hiring, creating the right opportunities for career growth, ensuring equal opportunity of work and involvement in key projects, creating a forum where voices are heard, and so on.


Today, people are more self-aware than ever before and are willing to voice their concerns about what is right. Therefore, the efforts to be more inclusive in the workplace can have a big impact on society at large. Organisations can play a big role in creating acceptance in society and facilitate change through education. Prioritising the right training and creating an actionable plan for employees can lead to a positive change in society, too.


Inclusion, when kept at the centre of an organisation’s goals, can have a positive effect on business performance.


While establishing inclusion at a leadership level is key, it’s also important to build advocacy among those who make decisions on a day-to-day basis.


Creating champions of inclusion who deeply understand its value and also transcend its importance to various stakeholders can have a positive effect.


Create opportunities and establish accountability through introspection


An important aspect that needs to be addressed with renewed rigour is the view on the constitution and functioning of an ideal workforce through the lens of inclusion. The definition of “inclusion” itself has transformed in today’s world.


More organisations must go back to the drawing board to see how they can create a more inclusive workforce through the right workplace policies, new employee-focused practices and establishing forums for transparency. Setting tangible goals in place and making key stakeholders accountable will ensure meaningful commitment.



Ensuring equal healthcare coverage, making opportunities available to persons with limited physical abilities, extending hiring opportunities to aspiring students from smaller cities, maintaining flexibility in working hours that enable a work-home life balance, creating roles for ex-servicemen where their skills can be leveraged effectively, establishing structured programmes which support new parents on their journey back to work – these are just some of the efforts that are a good start to being a more inclusive organisation, when it comes to hiring and engagement. Creating a learning and development charter around inclusion-led plans can add tremendous value.


The next thing to do is to roll up your sleeves and get deeply involved to drive that change, set measurable goals and help everyone stay on the right path.


Set examples through purposeful actions


Transparency continues to be the need of the hour, and it’s important for the larger community within an organisation to understand the vision for inclusion. When leaders take it upon themselves to ensure that the very facets of inclusion are not only acknowledged but also purposefully driven, the top-down impact can be very positive. At the same time, it’s imperative for leaders to listen to their employees so that purpose-led growth is a two-way process. It’s important for the larger workforce to feel like they are not only on the same page but also share a common vision.



Actions are a priority, and it’s important to implement and enable the right tools in order to make inclusion a bigger reality. Today, more than ever before, people and organisations expect each other to demonstrate integrity and to do the right thing even when no one is watching. As we move forward, a key avenue to bolster inclusion efforts is to ensure that every employee understands the importance of inclusion, which in turn will make them more aware and responsible. We will begin to see more organisations integrating inclusion into an employee’s development and performance cycle, tying back to larger goals.

As the age-old saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and this holds relevance to the inclusion revolution that needs to happen.


More leaders and organisations must embrace a refreshed and current view on what it means to be truly inclusive, which may lead to a culture reset. This will remain dynamic, and only once inclusion is fully integrated into business processes will real change happen. Once the true meaning and impact of inclusion are understood, progress can happen. The future of the workforce needs to be positively different from what we used to know, and we must not only collectively embrace it but also enable it.


Krishna Raghavan is the Chief People Officer at Flipkart.


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