The push mandating listed companies to have at least one woman director on their boards, the Central government extending maternity leave to six months, passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and leading corporations promoting LGBT rights at workplace — there has been a conscious effort from the Government, as well as India Inc., to promote diversity at the workplace over the last few years.
It goes without saying that more companies in India need to incorporate D&I programs. A strong D&I policy helps produce better business results, while helping with hiring and retaining top women professionals. As a result of this, several Indian companies — from leading corporates to startups — implemented projects and policies in 2019 to develop more diverse and inclusive work environments. In this spirit, the panel discusses some key initiatives taken by organisations to build and leverage a culture of inclusion.
What determines the cutting-edge of innovation? It comes as little surprise that the answer to this is ‘diversity’. And what comes as even less of a surprise is the fact that the responsibility of implementation of diversity programs currently lies with the senior management.
The JobsForHer’s 2019 DivHERsity Benchmarking Report found that 78% of all companies’ CEO or COO reviewed the D&I group’s performance every quarter. Also, an equal number of companies had the D&I group directly report to the CEO or COO.
But is this a practice that should continue to be encouraged? Does the buck stop at the C-suite level? Should performance reviews, bonus, salary revisions and promotions be based on the success of diversity programs? Is innovation, therefore, directly proportional to diversity?
While many companies now ensure that there is definite participation of women in L&D programs, what is achingly apparent is that women need more women to advance at the workplace. Access to mentors and senior leadership, a clear definition of career paths, horizontal moves to new roles, a chance to network and create their own personal brand are all key to aid a woman’s professional growth. And while many organisations work towards providing these platforms to women, what does the next-gen woman leader really need to break the glass ceiling? Is this merely restricted to L&D programs or can we do a lot more?
*Please note that the above topics are subject to revisions at the discretion of the organizer