Namrata Kapur and Dr. B. Janakiram
Diversity management practices in the Indian Context
This article attempts to present a systematic approach to the development of Diversity management practices in India. Indian global organizations are looking at talent not only from India but across the globe. Best Diversity management practices symbolize rapid industrialization which is the best solution to tackle the twin problems of unemployment and poverty stalking the country as well as making India a developed nation. These industries encourage to bring changes structurally and operationally to encourage seamless communication. The success is going to be about attracting and retaining the best people and about building diversity
Diversity,Globalization,leadership,Affirmative action , inclusivity
The world is looking for different kind of leaders especially those who are able to champion diversity.
Diversity these days, is a challenge of meeting the needs of the diverse workforce and sensitizing the workforce and managers to the differences associated with gender, race, age religion, ethnicity, functional, professional, geographic, lifestyle, income, education,status, work style tenure with the organization and any other perceived difference in an attempt to maximize the potential productivity of all employees. Diversity management refers to the voluntary organizational actions that are designed to create greater inclusion of employees from various backgrounds into the formal and informal organizational structures through deliberate policies and programs with the aims of :
Increase in productivity
Reduced interpersonal conflict
Effective inter group communication
Successful marketing to different types of customers
Better problem solving and decision making
The Diversity management practices has significance as Indian companies which are structured around the old homogenous model diminish their potential and ability to grow and compete in a global marketplace. This study portrays diversity as a systematic company wide effort based on the premise that for organizations to survive and thrive there is an inherent value in diversity . Diversity management can create a competitive advantage in areas such as marketing, problem solving, and resource acquisition (Cox, 2001). Therefore, diversity management is not the sole domain of the human resource function in the organization (as has been the case with affirmative or positive action initiatives) .
Even a marginal decline in the productivity can put an organization in serious jeopardy of loosing some portion of the competitive advantage(Loden ,1996).The statement draws support from a study (“Mercer’s Asia Pacific Diversity and Inclusion Study”, 2012) which reports that 60% of the participating companies in India reported having diversity and inclusion strategy at the global and regional level of which around 14.5% had a diversity strategy at country level. Among the 40% companies, who do not have diversity strategies at their organization, are looking into establishing it soon .Further, the reports states that the top three drivers behind an Indian organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy found were recruitment of talent (70%) employer brand (61.3%) and access to untapped talent pool (60%) .
Diversity management in India1 A study of organizations in different ownership forms and industrial sectors through an in-depth case study of 24 firms reveals the differences between Western MNCs and Eastern firms as well as the varying views of Indian managers and employees on issues related to diversity management. The CAPS 2 research 2014 newsletter indicates questions about how companies are succeeding in meeting or surpassing their supplier diversity goals and how they work with diverse suppliers to develop new business opportunities. HP believes that a diverse workforce encourages creativity and innovation and has a special ‘Diversity and Inclusion leadership Committee ‘ consisting of senior leaders from all over the world. More so the Gender diversity drive has taken many organizations such as IBM, Kotak Mahindra, SAP labs etc by storm. In fact Deutche bank offers a 2% additional fee to a recruiter for bringing women candidates to the bank.
Many corporate giants like, Infosys was the first Indian IT company to establish an office for diversity and inclusivity. Talent diversity is the key to propel it’s business growth engines and sustain momentum. Cognizant, Dell, Microsoft, Vodafone are working on” second career“ pro grammes for women. Major companies like Nike, Ford, MC Donald and coca cola are going all out to win over free spending ethnic consumers by recruiting minority market experts who speak each group’s language.
Hindustan lever Ltd. (HLL) Unilever is an extremely diverse organization in terms of its ethnic and cultural make-up. The Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE) comprises managers from five countries and the top 100 executives come from over 20. The company has a diversity board chaired by the CEO where there is a requirement that the shortlist for each senior job should contain a woman.
Accenture has been named to the 2013 Diversity Inc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, rising to number 9, up from number 12 last year. This marks Accenture’s seventh consecutive year on the Diversity Inc Top 50 list and its fifth consecutive year in the Top 25. Diversity Inc also included Accenture in three “Top 10” lists for
No. 7 for Global Diversity
No. 7 for Supplier Diversity
No. 10 for Persons with Disabilities
Wipro Limited received the ‘NASSCOM Corporate Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, 2012’, in the category ‘Most Effective Implementation of Practices & Technology for Persons with Disabilities’. It has also been ranked 2nd in the list of Top 25 U.S. diversity councils, by The Association of Diversity Councils, a practice group of diversity and inclusion consulting and training firm PRISM International, Inc.
Genpact Limited , a global leader in business process management and technology services, has been recognized at the NASSCOM Corporate Awards for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, in the category of best BPO company with more than 5,000 employees. Diversity is part of the DNA at Genpact and is integral to the company’s ethos.
The process includes defining and redefining diversity management strategies in Indian IT and non IT cos in broad areas such as ;
Recruitment and selection
Customer service and improving market shares and answering the basic questions such as ;
The ethnic, racial , religious and gender composition of workforce
The age span of the workforce
The percentage of top management are women, minorities or those who are disabled
The change in these percentages when they are applied to middle management , first line supervisors or staff
The uniformity in the cultural or ethnic distribution the same from top to bottom in the organization
The turnover rate by demographic group and age
Some managers try to walk the talk of diversity by following the golden rule’ that ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated. It sounds good in theory but only projects a ‘ One size fits all ‘ approach and unintentionally projects our own cultural programming. But the need of the hour in the current Indian scenario is an aggressive and war foot approach to Diversity management practices. The predecessors of diversity management – Equal employment opportunities and Affirmative action programmes meet a legal obligation but the reasons to develop a diverse talent pool ie. Diversity management is completely voluntary. Both are enforced through sanctions (monetary fines or incarceration), and affirmative/positive action policies are enforced through incentives (government contracts) respectively but diversity management is self-initiated by the companies themselves. It is not enforced or coerced but is entirely voluntary.
A fundamental misconception is thinking diversity to be synonymous with the word culture. This approach is inherently flawed because it reinforces stereotypes which those who value true diversity are trying to eliminate.