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Sewing in threads of Diversity and Inclusion into the corporate fabric with CSR

The implementation of a well[1]developed plan for CSR depends on many crucial factors, including diversity and inclusion. This undoubtedly has a positive connotation for the brand image and goes a long way in enhancing, creating and maintaining engaging and positive relationships. A diverse workforce is an inescapable reality, for companies, as the world progresses at breakneck pace towards establishing a global village identity and companies getting increasingly multi locational. Acknowledging people’s differences and appreciating this as valuable will in fact set the foundation of managing diversity. Good management practices will help prevent discrimination, and will promote inclusiveness. Both the internal and external stakeholders of an organization view diversity and inclusiveness through their own special lens. An employee would want to know the impact of diversity on their work environment, their personal wellbeing and career development.

Customers on the other hand would be keener on its impact on the company products, and its social impact. The investors would be interested in the impact of diversity on financial performance, reputation and risk management. Effective communication as part of the CSR strategy undoubtedly plays an important role. The diversity efforts must be communicated in a way that is transparent and goes towards enhancing the corporate image. The diversity initiatives can be showcased through case studies, testimonials, data and so on. The challenges and learnings along the way can be highlighted too. Another effective model is that of dialogue and feedback. The stakeholders’ views and concerns must be heard and responded to. Criticism is inevitable and must be addressed in a positive way.

Communication is never a one-way street, so leveraging the power and credibility of allies and partners who believe in the company’s vision and values must be sought as a collaboration partner. The modern workplace sewn with the threads of inclusion and diversity is reckoned as a better business infused with manifold benefits. The main ones being

  • A richer and bigger talent pool – companies need to have a broad and inclusive mindset; the talent acquisition should not be biased and exclusive.
  • An increased employee engage[1]ment and trust- employees feel connected and fulfilled if they see their own kind and feel that they belong.
  • More Innovation comes to the forefront as an outcome of diversity. When the employees feel comfortable enough to challenge status quo and experiment.

Diversity goes beyond gender, sexual orientation, religion or race. It can encompass neurodiversity, a diversity of backgrounds, thinking styles, perspectives. An organization should encourage the promotion of diversity in their recruiting methods, and this will help create equal oppor[1]tunities for all sections of society. A culture of mutual respect must exist . Just a mere mention of disability inclu[1]sion and filling up the quota is not enough. An inclusive workplace should be established so that people with disabilities and impairments serve as an inspiration and motivation for the rest of the team and they get their due, and are acknowledged for their accomplishments and abilities. A healthy and growth-oriented environment can be created through technology.

Technology that can foster inclusion. Equality at the workplace requires regularization through an organiza[1]tions’ societal and ethical responsibil[1]ity, where is seeks to work towards integrating equality in diversity, inclu[1]sivity into the CSR framework. Going by recent examples the #MeToo movement unleashed many instances of racial and gender friction but with the new public consciousness, agreement and engagement around the SDG’s a new level of inclusion on a global scale is emerging rapidly.

Globalization is on an upswing, and a trickledown effect of it is being felt and is visible in the blurring demarcation between gender, social and cultural divides. There is a pressing need for creating more diverse and inclusive work places. For us in India this may not be such a mammoth task or novelty since diversity exists in the very fabric of our Indian heritage and culture. It is inherent in our work place as India is home to many cultures and the work force is drawn from that A basic understanding of the various barriers that exist in our country or those elsewhere is a pre requisite. Identifying ways and means to address those and the discriminatory practices that stem from gender, religion, ethnicity, identity and others follows as a natural corollary. Policies need to be structured accordingly. NASSCOM had undertaken a research study and that has revealed how diversity related goals are being set up by boards and senior leadership is investing time and nurturing diversity after a well-planned evaluation of it.

Programs on sensitization are also being included and policies being shaped for its effective implementation. Gender parity is emerging as a key focus area in most companies, and maintaining a healthy gender ratio within the work force is being given importance. Although crucial this cannot by itself solve the issue of diversity and inclusion in companies. Each company must identify the definition of inclusivity and diversity as its’ broad categorization covers the differences and similarities amongst people. This may span from gender identity, ethnicity, race, age, genera[1]tion, socio economic differences, marital status, disability, education, mental health, work style amongst many more. The exhaustive definition may also be limited to the laws of the countries. The inclusion and diversity programs need to be assessed keeping the legal limitations and adoption of practices that are sensitive. Working towards a culture of diversity and inclusion although not easy is definitely achievable by setting targets, mainstreaming processes, building up strong support systems and an employee network. Important statistics (source[1]https://builtin.com/diversity[1]inclusion/diversity-in-the[1]workplace-statistics )

  • Groups formerly seen as “minorities” may reach majority status by 2045.
  • 48 percent of Generation Z are racial or ethnic minorities.
  • Diverse companies enjoy 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee.
  • Diverse management has been shown to increase revenue by 19 percent.
  • Gender-diverse companies and executive teams outperform less gender-diverse peers.
  • 3 in 4 job seekers and workers prefer diverse companies and coworkers. Although there has been a steady and good pace of development in DEI (Diversity, Equity and inclusion) at the workplace there still remains a huge terrain to be traversed. DEI is assuming an important and far[1]reaching impact for business success currently and for the future as well
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