We have been thinking and talking about inclusion and diversity for more than 3 decades, but we hardly find a real implementation across the organizations. This is still a talking piece now.
Especially in India, we have seen hiring advertisements focusing on castes, gender etc just to fulfill the diversity agenda in the past. It is still there in many government institutions. What are we going to achieve from this?
Many of us do have unconscious biases, these biases are vey unique such as you like to greet someone first who plays football with you on every weekend, another example can be from your religion or culture. So, the unconscious biases are not visible to us because of the simple fact that they are not recognized by our mind immediately. These micro behaviours are different due to various factors such as our education, culture or backgrounds. We should be aware about such instances, identify them and change this attitude towards people and see the change but it is difficult to do on a day to day basis. Such behaviours impact our employee engagement practices.
Putting the right people on the right roles is a challenge for every leader in an organization but that’s the key. Leadership must be trained on this and there must be an organization wide practice of identifying people managers and placing them on the right spot. We always take emotional decisions over data and logic while taking employee decisions, but it doesn’t work out sustainably well if you look at across the organization.
Inclusivity of diverse skills is something every leader should look at. While doing these activities, diverse skills may come from anyone irrespective of gender or culture, religion, caste and language. We should respect this process and then move ahead, include everyone towards one larger organizational goal. Just simply saying, we should have more women at the workplace, that may not be fitting in to the macro agenda of what diversity means. We should be inclusive in nature and then diversity happens. Its like we do have 5 fingers in our hand, all of them work differently when we work and it is difficult to manage ourselves in case we loose 2 of them. It is simple. Do everything possible that brings inclusion first.
We should listen to our employees on a regular basis and those ideas and suggestions make our data stronger while taking organizational decisions. A good leader can do that very well.
Let me write a little bit about selecting women at the leadership or management positions- Why this is crucial and what it demands?
The leadership positions may demand uninterrupted and unsocial hours of work either in office or at home which becomes unpredictable. You may have to travel extensively for such work. You may not like such practices. When we talk about women, we need to break that stereotype and move ahead and all women have to be ready to do everything possible in spite of having challenging lives like managing their house, growing their children and so many activities that a woman does. I doubt, how many of them want to be like a “superwoman” but the society must change in terms of their attitude and look at women at par with men.
We still have a long way to go and let’s think about the reason of low inclusion and then think backwards to find out various solutions involving all stakeholders in the society.