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Karma Global one of the top 5 labour law consulting firms in the country, has recently hit upon yet another significant milestone in the journey of tying up with SUNDEEP PURI ASSOCIATES AND ADVOCATE, where both these Firms have formally joined hands together to collaborate and create a bigger alliance by scaling up its business on Pan India basis and Internationally to give greater reach of its services together,  to its hundreds of clients all over.

Diversity and Inclusion – are the stepping stones for binding Indian-ness together!

Diversity refers to political beliefs, race, culture, sexual orientation, religion, class, and/or gender identity differences. In the workplace, diversity means your staff consists of individuals who bring new perspectives and backgrounds to the table.

Inclusion means that everyone in the diverse mix feels involved, valued, respected, treated fairly, and embedded in your culture. Empowering all employees and recognizing their special talents is part of creating an inclusive company.

Both aspects of D&I are important一diversity without inclusion can result in a toxic culture, and inclusion without diversity can make a company stagnant and uncreative.

Companies are starting to focus more on diversity, but many disregard the inclusion piece of the puzzle. Without a concerted effort towards both inclusion and diversity, your workforce will feel out of place and unsupported.

Benefits of diversity and inclusion at work

A diverse and inclusive environment establishes a sense of belonging among employees. When employees feel more connected at work, they tend to work harder and smarter, producing higher-quality work. As a result, organizations that adopt D&I practices see huge gains in the form of business results, innovation, and decision-making.

Enumerated below are some of the benefits
1. Bigger talent pool

Expanding your recruitment searches to more diverse candidates—including background, ethnicity, age, etc.—widens your talent pool and increases your chances of finding the best hire.

2. Increased employee engagement and trust

When employees feel included, they’re more engaged. Highly engaged employees go the extra mile for the organization. This higher engagement has a ripple effect on profitability, team morale, and retention.

3. New perspectives and innovation

Your company has a much higher chance of coming up with fresh ideas with a more diverse group. Diverse teams can also better identify products and services that fit the needs of emerging customer profiles.

4. Better decision-making

Diverse teams make better decisions. Cloverpop, an online decision-making platform, examined 600 business decisions made by 200 teams. They found that diverse teams have a 60 per cent improvement in decision-making.

5. Improved performance

McKinsey found that for every 10 per cent increase in gender diversity, EBIT rose by 3.5 per cent. Companies with significantly more racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to outperform competitors.

6. Stronger business results and profits

Diversity and inclusion are obviously beneficial to employees’ mental health, but it also has downstream impacts that are good for business. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that more diverse companies report 19 per cent higher revenue.

7. Challenges of diversity and inclusion

Of course, creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is easier said than done. There will always be growing pains when attempting to change your company culture on such a broad scale.

Below are some of the top challenges that organizations face when it comes to levelling up their diversity and inclusion strategies.
  1. Leadership involvement – D & I initiatives must align with your organizational goals and company values.
  2. Measurement – The only way to know if D&I is improving in your organization is to measure and track it.
  3. Intervention and training – This requires training management on what the company’s D&I goals are, why they’re important, and what’s expected of managers’ interactions with employees.
  4. Silos – Silos can become dangerous because they encourage exclusivity rather than inclusivity, decrease productivity etc.
How to foster diversity in the workplace?

There are myriad ways to start incorporating diversity into your workplace. Here are a few of the ideas to get started.

Base standards on objective criteria – Objective criteria reduce the chance of bias or prejudice.

Frequently recognize and reward employees – Appreciate employees for who they show that you care about them as a person.

Leverage tools to measure D&I – Use HR tools to monitor your progress toward becoming a more inclusive, diverse company.

Double down on employee resource groups or committees – Building employee resource groups (ERG) or networks is a fantastic way for certain groups of people to connect and meet each other at work.

Practice psychological safety –  Establish a culture where people feel empowered to flag situations that are alarming, or even just uncomfortable.

Gather employee feedback – Surveys and continuous feedback platforms give an opportunity to hear information directly from employees.

Document best practices and policies – A company’s policies and practices should be available to all workers at all times. The code of conduct should be updated regularly and outline a company’s approach to diversity and non-discrimination.

Reap the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce

Not only is D&I a move in the right direction morally, it is also smart from a recruiting and company growth standpoint. As many as 57 percent of employees believe their companies should improve diversity among the internal workforce. Furthermore, an increasing body of evidence suggests that organizations that maintain their values and commitment to employees during economic hard times are the ones that continue to thrive.

The Indian Legislative Framework needs more protection by including D&I

While India does not have comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in place, but there are certain laws which provide some shelter such as the

Equal Remuneration Act of 19761 (“Remuneration Act”),

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (“SCST Act”),

the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 (“PoSH Act”),

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (“Disabilities Act”),

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 (“HIV Act”) and The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (“Transgender Persons Protection Act”) have all been enacted with the objective of inter alia prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of characteristics protected under such laws.

Grievance redressal mechanisms

Another idealistic approach of ensuring diversity and inclusion at the workplace is to put in place systematic grievance redressal mechanisms. In order to be inclusive, organizations should shed their inhibitions and listen to their employees in order to build up a culture where employees feel heard and have the right to escalate their grievances without fear or being reprimanded. Controversies and conflicts are normal in any system that is evolving and actively working to become the best. However, a suitable grievance redressal mechanism will certainly help resolve such conflicts.

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