Diversity is empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin. Each individual in an organization brings with them a diverse set of perspectives, work and life experiences, as well as religious and cultural differences.
One prominent example of Diversity is Women in Leadership roles that still face barriers in their climb to the top. These barriers include:
- Expectation to take up more family responsibilities than men. This is more prevalent in Asia, where family commitment and values are deeply entrenched in the culture.
- Double bind of being either capable or liked—but not both.
- Limited access to network and sponsors, and have few female role models at high levels of leadership to look up to.
- Hesitation to advocate for themselves or ask for what they want.
Appreciating Diversity requires a sense of ‘inclusion’.
Inclusion can be said to be an organizational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed and equally treated.
Inclusion is a sense of belonging. Inclusive cultures make people feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or group. People feel a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that they can do their best at work.
How D&I is changing the current landscape:
- Many companies now have diversity and Inclusion (D&I) mandate which makes them look to hire more women.
- Diverse hiring and Inclusive Leadership is increasingly becoming the pillar of organization. Making inclusion a cornerstone of company culture is seen as a measure to ensure that every good idea is voiced and heard.
- It is seen as a growth strategy, not a cost. There is empirical data to establish that increase representation of women on the Boards enhances the productivity of companies.
- Businesses are instituting programs designed to educate the workforce in ways that create Diversity – Friendly environment.
D&I Initiative needs a Mindset change but is seen as an important factor of organizational success.
Ruchi Jain has over 17 years work experience as an HR Professional and currently working at IBM Gurgaon as part of Resource & Capacity Management group of SAP Service Line and Work force Management.