Diversity in the Workplace-an Enabler for Growth

The highest-performing companies on both profitability and diversity had more women in-line roles than in staff roles on their executive teams
Diversity in the Workplace-an Enabler for Growth
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Vice-president HR (Head Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership Development & Employee Engagement), HCL Technologies
3 min read
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Topline, bottomline, legal compliance and retention—these were always considered growth enablers. In recent years, however, a new terminology has been added to growth consideration of corporates—diversity and inclusion.

A McKinsey report, Delivering through Diversity, states that business performance is related to diversity. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 per cent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 per cent more likely to have superior value creation. The highest-performing companies on both profitability and diversity had more women in-line (i.e., typically revenue-generating) roles than in staff roles on their executive teams.

As per the report, it’s not just gender. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33 per cent more likely to have industry-leading profitability. That this relationship continues to be strong suggests that inclusion of highly diverse individuals—and the myriad ways in which diversity exists beyond gender (for example, LGBTQ+, age/generation, international experience)—can be a key differentiator among companies.

For a company looking to develop a more varied and comprehensive workplace, it is essential to understand what represents workplace diversity. When we think about diversity, we usually think of cultural background, gender, race, religion, citizenship status, age and other distinct differences between people. In the coming years, organizations that realize how to handle multiplicity in the office successfully will hold a definite advantage when it comes to utilizing and hiring talent.

In today’s challenging business environment, workplace dynamics have evolved to embrace diversity as an intrinsic part of their functioning. As this evolution paces ahead, the need of the hour is for companies to adopt an organizational culture that prioritizes employee needs and encourages diversity and inclusion across its practices. At HCL, we believe that companies that encourage inclusion and diversity in the workplace are more innovative and perform better.

Irrespective of cultural or economic background, disability, age and gender identity or introverted and extroverted personality types, everyone needs something different to feel like they belong and are valued. When people are not in an inclusive environment, they often feel excluded and find it hard to fulfil their potential.

People perform at a higher level when their comfort, orientation, and beliefs are considered. Hence, it is imperative that organizations should strive to ensure they’re free to work in a way that plays to their strengths.

Through sustained programmes and initiatives, HCL has moved the needle positively on gender diversity which stands at 26.67 per cent, an improvement of 1.8 percentage points over the last year. It continues to invest in various in-organization initiatives to create a larger social environment that facilitates gender-equal workspaces. Along with gender diversity, HCL has a significant focus on cultural diversity and inclusion. We have taken steps to create an ‘inclusive ecosystem’ through focused initiatives aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities. At HCL, we view diversity as a ‘differentiator,’ which is a representative of diversity in beliefs, behaviors, and skills within the organization. Our workforce represents a spectrum of 140-plus nationalities coming from many of the countries we do business in—where all work together to build a culture that respects inclusion.

Our diversity and inclusion strategy focuses on talent attraction, talent retention and talent growth. There is a long way to go before one can forge a true gender equal world. However, as diversity and inclusion moves out of HR remit and becomes a discussion agenda at the CXO table, we can expect more concrete action in implementing diversity and inclusion.gro

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