I have heard this from many Business Leaders, Thought Leaders, CEOs, and CHROs’ S through their podcasts, videos, and articles, especially on platforms like Linkedin which are full of people gloating over their diverse teams.
What I have observed with most Organizations /Enterprises /MNCs even Family dominated companies their diversity is only confined to Gender. All efforts are for attaining over 30-40% of the workforce to be female. If you achieve this, your gender priorities are supposed to be met. You are supposed to be a thriving gender-neutral workforce. But are we truly diverse even if we achieve a 50% female workforce ?? Is diversity confined only to gender ?? Many do think in the affirmatory to the above notion that Gender neutrality is more than enough for diversity. Though they don’t express it explicitly it certainly helps to advertise the organization as gender diverse when potential employees do window shopping looking for diverse companies. I have a different take on achieving the truly diverse organization status for that they need to look at the following parameters.
First and foremost -Alumni /Pedigree. Organizations across the world look for tags of branded institutions while recruiting hence depriving nearly 80% of the potential job seekers from the race. What is disheartening is most of the organizations are very forthright in this requisition. This is a clear-cut mental bias that comes from the fact that Top schools /colleges can churn out great candidates and the rest are removed at the ATS LEVEL ITSELF.Do we really mean that ppl who come from not-so-branded schools /colleges/institutions are not good enough?? Is qualification the only parameter for success in life ??? I can tell you from my own experience we have never looked at alumni while recruiting a candidate in fact we always look for ppl who come from purely middle-class or lower-middle-class backgrounds as they bring a lot of patience, perseverance(resilience), and passion with them to succeed. Most of the time these very candidates are well equipped with cognitive abilities or cognitive intelligence(CI) which other well-to-do ones don’t have. It’s high time Org’s start leveraging these CI traits which are abundantly available in huge no’s. But for that to happen we need to come out of the ATS brand of recruiting or looking at resumes with keywords
Second -Age – Theirs a general feeling among organizations that we should only take younger candidates. But is that serving the purpose if you have a young-centric workforce?? Any workforce needs to have a proper blend of old /mid and young age groups then you have ideas and processes which are far more stimulating catering to different age groups.
Third -Geography/Religion /Language -There’s a general negative bias towards some candidates coming from a particular geography, religion, language, class even caste. Though many feel these biases don’t exist in the corporate world but actually they exist in many organizations though openly not specified. It is a general unwritten rule in many organizations that no recruitment of candidates from these backgrounds. Here I would like to add India as a context where the issue of diversity takes different connotations. We are touted as one of the most diverse nations in the world. Yet, our behavior as a society often reflects problems with assimilation and shows a lack of acceptance of differences. The problems faced by people from the state of Kashmir or Northeastern states or from states like Bihar /UP in big metros like Delhi/Bangalore or the racial slurs occasionally thrown at African students is a case in point. We also have biases among the companies depending on the ownership and geographical HQs of the org;.If the org is North India based u won’t find many South Indians working there and the reverse is also true.
Fourth – Disability. How many organizations want ppl with disabilities to work with them??? In spite of such candidates having tons of talent, they never get breaks even if they get it in minuscule proportions. Should we have reservations for what leads to at least 10% of our workforce with disabilities and give them a semblance of respect for their talent and resilience?
In the days to come the world will witness huge instances of migration, assimilation, and adaptation compared to what it is witnessing today. High-time organizations recognize the fact, the diversity that people of multiple origins bring to an organization is immensely enriching. Much like a nation can maximize its collective strength by leveraging its diversity, a workplace benefits immensely from embracing diversity and making it a part of its culture. So first things first have a diverse HR or Talent Acquisition team headed by a person who comes from a varied pedigree this might solve your diversity issues to an extent. Diversity has to be part of a corporate strategy if it’s not it will never be achieved in its true sense. Just like sales, revenue, and profit no’s are supervised quarterly diversity no’s also need to be given due importance.
A greater feeling of belongingness among the employees, greater inclusiveness, free flow of ideas, variety of enriching perspectives, enhanced productivity, better retention, and a collective burst of positive energy are some aspects associated with greater diversity at the workplace. I am hoping in the days to come Org’s strive for this and make it part of their KRA’S.