The current times are evolving, have evolved and we are looking forward to workplace scenarios with increased acceptance of inclusion and equity. Now, what is “Inclusion”? Many of us are familiar with this term as we keep hearing about it in social media, company websites, or at times from our network of professionals. Do we really understand and implement it in the true sense? I believe the answer to it would be maybe, yes somewhat.
For a minute, just pause and think that in our current workplace, our colleagues come from such diverse backgrounds – be it region, culture, language, education, qualification, work expertise, ethnicity, etc. The list goes on. The beauty is how we all come together to work cohesively and collaborate to achieve a common business goal. So, when we are brainstorming for a project that is steered by Engineers there are Team Members from Procurement, Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, Accounts, Human Resources, and many other related functions who contribute to the delivery of the project. There could be challenges at times with language or the culture that one belongs to but the perseverance that a Working Professional displays either can do wonders or break down the entire project.
When we talk of Inclusion, geographical distance, lack of technological advancement, and rigidity towards acceptance of certain sects of people are the common challenges that organizations normally face. Irrespective of the online meetings or virtual sessions, it is equally important to meet our colleagues/ Team Members and our Seniors so that there is a personal connect that gets established which goes a long way when it comes to professional and personal development.
Businesses face challenges as it becomes practically impossible to bring a mass workforce physically into one location. This is mainly because of the project deliverables, stringent timelines, lack of skilled manpower, etc.
The other related concept is that of “Equity”. It is basically an act that ensures that any process that is implemented in the organization will be free of any bias, or prejudice and eventually the outcome is fair. A common challenge that organizations face today, is how to ensure that the result of an initiative will have fair implications for all its employees and have no disregard whatsoever. For e.g., while hiring are we flexible to hire the third gender and will they be accepted by the existing Employees? What would be their take on this subject and will they extend compassion for the 3rd gender as they would do to other fellow colleagues?
The other common issue is that what if the majoritarian set of employees who have a certain thought process starts influencing the newcomers or the lesser experienced working professionals? This sets a kind of chain reaction in terms of behaviour which is stemming from a set thought process. Organizations then find it very difficult to overcome this barricade and progress eventually slows down.
In certain scenarios, technological advancements are also rejected by conventional thinkers and this directly impacts the overall growth of the organization. As a result, the quality of candidates applying for an organization depletes which is also a deterrent to the progress of the business. The issue may snowball and may lead to drastic changes which may be catastrophic at times. It is suggested that a smart organization should address these developments and challenges in the initial to mid-stage so that there is a cascading impact both in terms of acceptability and settling inclusion and equity as a part of our daily routine.
At times, the high-handedness of a certain section of employees could pose a challenge to implementing fair practices. In such scenarios, companies engage in professional counselling and sessions wherein the importance of such advancements are addressed, and insecurities are diminished. When brought to a common platform, many of the hidden challenges also get resolved. This inculcates a sense of healthy work environment. A Workplace where employees can freely express themselves without being judged or lambasted later.
For Business, on one hand, it is important to maintain a positive work ambiance & on the other to adapt to newer concepts of fairness, humanity, and technology. All this is to be done bearing in mind the Customer’s needs, Cost, Budget, Profitability, and striking the right balance. Change is the only constant factor. Technologically, employees and organizations must be agile as it is evolving at a very high pace. There is an unsaid race to be ahead of technology. Here, again it is important to manage the balance between what is required and what can be done in times to come. But if we choose to ignore technology completely then organizations will suffer sooner or later.
I firmly believe that this education of inclusion and equity must begin at home, in our schools, play areas, colleges, and institutions so that they are naturally imbibed in our daily lives and don’t have to be tutored as special sessions later in one’s life.