Diversity in any workplace depends on the motivated involvement of everyone in the organisation – from top floor to shop floor. Skewered gender balance, deep rooted traditional mindset, uni-dimensional approach to diversity and lack of supportive policies are often the primary reasons diversity at workplace fails to get the encouragement it needs. So, how do we go about creating a culture of Diversity & Inclusion in an organisation?
Firstly, we must make sure to involve members of all genders working towards creating a fair and equal work environment that will be conducive towards building a gender-balanced organisation. We present 5 ways we all can create a difference and foster a culture of Inclusion and equality at work:
1. Make your company an inclusive employer: An inclusive workplace fosters a tolerant culture where human rights principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy are part of the organisation’s policies. Diverse teams are more creative, generate more innovation and better customer orientation by reflecting the diversity of our markets. Offer equal opportunities to all, everywhere.
2. Improve gender ratio in your organisation: We must aim to set in place clear and measurable objectives for reducing the gender gap in an organisation. As an example of how we can deliver on this, Schneider India had set target of hiring 40% women recruits across all levels in 2015. Additionally, SE India is looking at 50% of all campus recruitment being women.
3. Build a business case for diversity: It’s important to highlight why gender diversity is imperative to your business. Several studies and research have suggested that companies with a higher percentage of women at top levels deliver strong financial performance. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce boosts creativity and innovation, leads to better decision making, talent attraction & retention, problem solving, customer satisfaction and building an engaged work environment. As per another study, quality of governance and ethical behaviour is high in companies with high shares of women on boards. Diversity is gaining exceptional prominence as boards look to steer the intricate issues that companies face in the ever-evolving world of today where boundaries are constantly shrinking.
4. Development & capability building of women employees: It’s an imperative of all organisations to introduce women leadership training programmes in order to help accelerate learning and development of women leaders. Also, create and improve policies that promote gender diversity in all departments of the organisation. These include having flexible work arrangement policy , maternity policy, training programmes etc. It’s also important to run awareness campaign on gender diversity regularly in all your sites – including corporate offices, R&D centers and factories.
5. Drive commitment from top leaders: Ensure that Diversity and Inclusion are included in the core value set of the company, and get the necessary buy-in from your leadership. Without an express nod of the senior staff, attempts to have an inclusive workplace are likely to fall. Says Schneider Electric CMO Chris Leong: “Uni-dimensional thinking does not work in this brave new world. All humans are the product of diversity. Today, we are taking diversity from our homes all the way to our workplaces and creating a much more beautiful world.” Senior leadership needs to set up standards and identify and promote practices that encourage women to succeed.
These are some of the building blocks that can help encourage and foster a culture of Diversity & Inclusion in your workforce. We must actively commit ourselves towards promoting gender equality and empowerment not only for our own organizations but also as our contribution towards well-being of the society.