Diversity was never in more limelight than it is today. This is so because lagging behind in incorporating diversity is not considered just the unwillingness to spend money, but it denotes that the management doesn’t want to march to the tune.
Yes, the organization gets the image of “slow-to-change.” There is a direct impact of this on the company image and employee engagement.
In light of this, more and more companies are reviewing their diversity programs and making necessary changes to rebuild and revive the same. Those who have never taken it seriously in the past are also working on it seriously.
Experts say that diversity ROI is difficult to calculate if you look at it from the perspective of tangible benefit. However, there are innumerable intangible benefits in the long run.
All this ultimately helps in building the corporate image and establishing the company as a serious player in the field of workforce diversity.
The definition of diversity has changed
Before we have a dip test of a few leading companies of global stature, let’s understand how diversity today is different from the past?
It is no longer restricted to creating a workspace inclusive of gender, race, and sexual orientation. Rather, it has extended up to including talents with different problem-solving skills as well.
Companies with a future-thinking perspective understand the dangers of ignoring diversity. Hence, they constantly review their retention and hiring practices.
Even the standard operating norms also get changed from time to time to include and accommodate the changing diversity scenario.
Does it mean ‘all is well’ everywhere? Well, looking at a few cases that hit the news headlines recently, it doesn’t seem so. There have been many cases where big companies were found ignoring the basic diversity norms.
Case #1: Google and Facebook
Well, one of the biggest name today is “Google!” According to the annual diversity report published by the company, the tech giant is far behind as far as diversity is concerned.
The company is largely dominated by male employees (white). Asians contribute almost 30 percent, and African Americans are about two percent.
Facebook also shares the similar trends. The diversity report published last year revealed that the half of the workforce is white and hardly two percent are African American.
Though both giants officially assured that concrete steps will be taken to increase diversity, the real impact can be seen after looking at the subsequent reports.
Since there will be pressure to release the data publically, we can assume that something better will emerge in the coming years.
The trends have been similar for decades. Hence, it will take some time to change the situation. It will be possible only if companies put sincere and honest efforts to correct the disparity.
SOME LOCAL FLAVOUR-
Case #2: Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and Pepsico India
Indian companies are realizing the importance of workforce diversity more today as compared to the old days. Bajaj Allianz runs all-women branch which focuses on female employees to make them insurance experts. However, there is still a long way to go as far as implementing diversity up to the fullest extent.
Pepsico India has almost one-fourth women employees and even at the higher management levels the company has sufficient representation of Women.
As far as other diversities are concerned, they are not much significant in India. For example, racial diversity doesn’t exist at all and diversity based on the sexual orientation is still a taboo in the Indian society.
Hence, the studies conducted in our country are predominantly focused on the gender diversity. In companies like Pepsico India, the corporate policy looks women with a unique perspective and approach. The HR feels that the significant representation of women helps in healthier, well-balanced teams and better decisions.
Research projects conducted by top-rated organizations such as McKinsey point out that companies that strive for gender diversity are more likely to have better returns than the national industry medians as compared to those who don’t bother about gender diversity at all.
Bajaj Allianz HR feels that gender diversity gives an opportunity to tap the vast talent pool of women. The company calls it a ‘win-win’ situation for all.
It is a fact that companies are looking for a change in their perspective and making sincere and honest efforts as well.
It is needless to say that in spite of so many claims and commitments by corporate houses about maintaining workforce diversity in their respective organizations, still there is a long way to go.
If we see such a pity situation in the biggest companies in the world, it is difficult to imagine the same in small and medium level companies.
With the focus on diversity worldwide, companies are altering their hiring and retention policies accordingly. Experts feel that it is more of an attitude issue than policy.
Even if you make stringent norms about it, the situation will not change unless there is a change in the mindset of the people.
Hopefully, the situation will change eventually, and we will see more dynamic and diverse workforce everywhere.