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Diversity can never be successful without Inclusion
Generation Z Will Disrupt
Deriving benefits from Generation Gaps in the workplace
Unity for Diversity
How Generational Diversity affects Workplace Learning
Growing together while being other
Diversity in Workplace
Diversity of Thought – A connect to missing dots
Gender Diversity at India Inc.
Why diversity in organisation is the need of the hour?
Book Review - Manjula Deshmukh
The impact of
our Brain on
Puja Kohli, Founder, People & Change
Do you consider yourself a biased person? Most of us would emphatically say no.
When we reflect a little deeper, each of us carries with us a mental map of the world that enable
us to navigate the world intuitively. These mental maps get formed based on our experiences,
observations, prior information, associations with other similar situations. We deploy decisions or
actions that do not generate any stress or analysis but help us navigate life quickly.
This general rule of living driven by associated memory also gives rise to other realities that
may not have pleasant outcomes. Implicit or unconscious bias happens by our brains making
incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us even realising.
Our biases are influenced by our background, societal conditioning, cultural context and personal
experiences. We may not even be aware of these views and opinions, or be aware of their full
impact and implications.
For instance, we form notions of what people from the south or north are like (regional), how
men and women typically are or behave (gender); how the attitude of the younger generation
is a departure and regressive from senior age groups (generational), how lawyers and doctors
come across (professional), how a criminal might look like (moral). These images come instantly to
mind when we see similarities with people and we take a position or stance towards them. These
positions form opinions that are moulded by our preconceptions.
They can be both positive and negative images and drive our behaviours and actions about people
when we meet, hear or even read about.
Why do we behave like this?
The answer lies, in a simple truth on how are brains are wired. The human brain is unwilling to
expend much of its energy and processing capacity unless it really has to.
According to research, to keep from having to work too hard, the brain relies on simple, efficient
thought processes to get the job done, not so much out of laziness but more out of necessity. In
our cluttered world of activity and continuous streaming of decision making or navigation, the
brain is unable to give every individual and every occurrence its undivided, unbiased attention.
As quoted ‘So when it comes to perceiving you, your colleagues are (without realizing it) relying
heavily on assumptions, the miserly brain’s favorite shortcut. They guide what the perceiver sees,
how that information is interpreted, and how it is remembered, forming an integral part of his or
her perception of you.’
There are 2 forms of assumptions amongst many that have a powerful impact
Confirmation bias – occurs based on perception and experience from past behaviour. We make
decisions largely in a way that is designed to confirm beliefs that we already have. This behaviour
occurs unconsciously in both positive and negative ways.
Primacy effect - is associated with “the first impression.” Psychologists have documented that
interviewers’first impressions of a candidate play a powerful role in their subsequent assessment.
Another significant study found a correlation between amygdala (an almond-shaped set of
neurons deep in the temporal lobe) activity and implicit racial bias. It has also been found that
implicit stereotyping is associated with the left temporal and frontal lobes. The left temporal lobe is
important for storing general information about people and objects, this seems to be an important
place for social stereotypes.The medial frontal cortex is important for forming impressions of others,
empathy and various forms of reasoning.
Impact of unconscious bias
Through insights gained from our practical experience we have found that unconscious bias can
heavily influence important professional decisions surrounding people in the workplace and inhibits
progress of diversity. Some of the areas where it can be pronounced are
• Making hiring decisions
• Assessing and selecting
• Giving performance reviews
• Deciding promotions
• Providing career opportunities
• Listening to people’s ideas and suggestions
• Valuing and respecting perspectives
Unlearning through the process of Awareness and Sensitization
As biases are implicit and at many times an automatic responses, there are no easy solutions to
override them. Continuous sensitization built on reflection from scenarios, real instances of impact,
classical fear conditioning helps in unlearning behaviours and guiding responses overtime. As our
brains are governed by cognitive laziness, we have to develop a plan to mitigate the different types
of biases as we become aware and learn to recognize them.
While it seems uncontrollable – research has found that the brain is well-equipped for controlling
unwanted biases, if the person detects their presence
Exploring unconscious biases is foundational to the field of inclusion and diversity.While we learn to
appreciate diversity, it is equally important to control our responses to biases and progress to being
Learning interventions should appropriately be designed to understand and become aware of micro
inequities at work.
Leaders need to be aware of the impact of their decisions governed by unconscious biases. Managers
need to be conscious of appreciating differences and appreciating the strengths that diversity brings
to the team. Being prejudiced to backgrounds, personality types, thinking styles or experience
can have far reaching impact on how careers get managed and the engagement level of teams.
Individuals need to continuously self-reflect on the impact of their behaviours and actions on their
peers and colleagues.
The 3 steps that organizations and leaders need to take
of awareness can be achieved by a guided reflection technique to make the unconscious …
2. Reframe the conversation to focus on fair treatment and respect
3. Review every aspect of the employment life cycle for hidden bias
Email: email@example.com Ph: 9845422751
Abhijit is the Chief Learning Officer at theWipro
group. Prior to this he
led HR teams at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Colgate
and Tata Steel and worked
in India, SE Asia and US. He is among the top HR
Influencers on Social Media in India today. To
know more about Abhijit, you can visit: http://
I remember getting stumped when a college student asked me to define the word career. I
remember mumbling something about it being much more than just the job that we do. It was
only when I looked up the Oxford Dictionary that everything fell into place. Career is our journey
through life. Yet when we talk about Gen Z careers most people only mention what organizations
have to do differently.
They are people born in the late nineties and are barely out of their teens. To understand a
generation it is important to understand the defining events that they have experienced. These life
experiences will influence the lens with which they will view the world.
Nineties was the era of Liberalization. It was an opening of the economy in India and the rise of
the IT sector. The media exploded with choices and social media became a word. New sectors like
the BPO emerged and started hiring younger people. Careers were not just about being a doctor
or an engineer. Mobiles became the dominant mode of communication and television channels
exploded. Urbanization increased, the joint family was not the default norm. Rising rates of divorce
made single parent families fairly common.The marginalized communities found greater tolerance
than before.The LGBT community, People with Disabilities and many more groups came into center
stage. A more affluent India started traveling abroad and made the world their home. Experience
of cultures beyond the native culture started being accessible to the middle class as well especially
Choices: This generation grew up with choices. Plenty of them. The ability to change tracks and
pursue dreams is the greatest privilege this generation has experienced. Unconventional career
paths have opened up. It feels like a buffet of equally attractive options that are available. The
natural response is for people to try out a spoonful of several different career options and suddenly
discovering that there is no space left for more. The shortened attention span leads to a need for
were taught to love what they got.
Role models: Every generation will have its role models. In India the aspirational jobs and role
models no longer come from the corporate honchos. Today the startups and entrepreneurs are
the new role models. Generation Z has the financial cushion in the family that their parents did not
grow up with. That has resulted in Gen Z having financial surplus at very early stages of their career
and being able to take more risks. YouTube and other social media stars have the kind of following
that several movie stars envy.
Hyper-connected: The digital natives have always experienced all answers instantaneously at
the click of a button. This generation does not need to depend on previous generations for any
need – social, emotional and least of all – entertainment. They learn from their peers and trust
their opinions on choices to be made. Lack of information asymmetry makes them feel equal to
people who may have more experience or tenure. In organizations where the rules are still made
by the previous generations, the senior leaders have to get used to being challenged by the mobile
wielding fresh hire.
As the restless and individualistic Digital Natives enter the workplace armed with digital savvy,
they will cause disruptions in organizations that have no precedent. And this generation has barely
“If you are a Hotmail user, we will not hire you”, said an advertisement. “These baby boomers are
now leaders in various organizations and don’t understand what the millennial want.” I am sure
you all have heard this. Personally, I believe that these gaps in generation exist but they have more
benefits, if the diversity of the teams are leveraged properly.
It is true that generational gaps exist. This is because each generation is born in to a different
context. In to a world that is quite different from the earlier generations. For my grand dad, having
a fan in his house was a luxury. For my daughter, this will sound absurd as she was born in a house
with fans and air conditioners. Similarly, with gadgets. When I was born, there were no computers
in India. Today, children are born in to a world filled with gadgets that network the whole world.
Given the different environments and contexts that generations are born in to, the thought process
will be different. How they view a particular situation will be different. How well they collaborate
will be different. However, the innate fact that we are all human beings does not change. The same
emotions run within all of us - whether a grand dad who was born in 1930s or a millennial.
From an organization perspective, it is essential to note few key things about all its employees:
1. Everyone wants to be treated with respect and as a human being;
2. Everyone wants to be seen as part of team and contributing to the organization;
3. Everyone would like to know how her/his work contributes to the end objectives of the
4. Everyone wants to be compensated fairly for her/his contribution.
This is true of all employees whether they belong to the baby boomer generation or a millennial.
These basic aspects of managing employees have not changed and will probably never change.
Every other aspect such as how one leverages technology to approach work, what are some of the
drivers at work, etc. change based on the context in to which we are born.
I was sitting through a talk where an elderly lady was speaking to young high school children.
She said, “You children have it very easy. You do not understand the value of money. You want
your parents to buy you gadgets every year. In our days we needed to walk 5 kilometres to School
crossing 2 streams along the way. When I went to college I had a bi-cycle. We lived in small houses
that did not even have fans.”She had lost the audience as they just could not relate to what she was
saying. So what if she had to walk 5 kms to School? Their problems now included someone in class
having a cooler gadget or the air-conditioner in the car not working or they having to come by bus
because the car has gone for servicing, etc.
Let us bring this to the work place. I have heard people who are baby boomers say that a job is for
a life time. You get in to a job and a company and that is it. You should not be looking at any other
company. They talk of career being a rat race and dog eat dog but still say, in the same breath, that
Collaboration is a must. It seemed to be a rat race because the generation then was focused on
building personal financial capital. They saw the job as a means to doing that. It helped them own
a new and larger house, pay for better schooling and expenses. So, the more the money, the better
the living standards. Therefore, the job was critical and promotions in the job were even more
critical. They fought tooth and nail to get promotions and many a time used unfair means. So, this
was a rat race for them. Their grandchildren are now in a situation where they live in large houses
and have a very good standard of living. Their objective in life is no more capital accumulation. It
is more about getting excited at work every day. It is about working with others and doing things
differently. The paradigm has shifted but our older friends still keep talking of dog eat dog. This is
the generational gap and how it plays out.
As a Leader, I have found it useful to remember the four points that are mentioned above in this
article and have used it to lead a team across 58 countries with an age range of 22 to 64. The
principles given above worked really well across all age groups and across geographies. I noticed
that attention was needed in the way we approached work from a technology perspective and
from the perspective of what could motivate a particular age group. Though individual motivation
was driven by the circumstances in which that particular individual was, we could come up with
some general conclusions for each geography.
This is best described in the picture given. We not only looked at the baby boomers mentoring the
millennials but also reverse mentoring. It worked wonders in driving an organization to move from
an output driven one to an outcome driven one.
in which we grow up. This conditioning is very strong and though times change, our ability to
change does not keep pace with changing times.The behavioural issues created by these gaps can
go out of hand if we are not careful in handling situations. However, if we focus on the 4 aspects
mentioned above and use a large dose of common sense, we can derive benefits from these gaps.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 9845422751
M Keshav,a journalist turned Experiential Learning Coach, is Founder-CEO of
MANTRA, a Chennai-based Attitude Consultancy
We have all grown up hearing that hackneyed clichéd term about Indian culture being described as
as an underlying principle for managing change. Hence, should we call it UNITY FOR DIVERSITY as a
pre-requisite for diversity to develop? Managerial Diversity or Diversity as a management principle
must learn from Nature that the very existential foundation of Biodiversity is : Swim or Sink,
Survive or Perish, Grow or Go! The problem is that the rest of Nature has no problem with sinking
or swimming but MAN who needs to‘manage’seems to discover difficulty with handling Diversity
and Change in the workplace. Truly, as man ages, he barely manages to cope with the hard reality
that faculties will fail forcing one to ACCEPT that the “Old Order Changeth, yielding place to the
new!”This fundamental principle of harmony that we Indians discovered thousands of years ago
explains the Cosmic world of Pluralism :”Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudha Vadhanti!” The Rig Veda tells
us that“The TRUTH is One, Sages call it by different names!”Indeed all Vedic literature is based on
the fact that there is one thread of the Cosmic Whole that holds together and runs through all the
various life forms of all matter and spirit, the manifest and the unmanifest. We are today seeing
how India’s pacifist attitude of living and letting live is getting noticed and even recognized and
celebrated by the rest of the so called“Developed”world!
To the modern Brand Marketing strategist, the more exclusive, exquisite and exemplary a product
or a person, the better it is to market the brand for profit. Just look at the legendary cinematic
icon of Bollywood, Mr Amitabh Bachchan and the way he has re-invented himself to become an
ageless brand ambassador in International markets! Yet, like a typical Jim Collins prototype of
a ‘10X’ Leader, the Great ‘AB’ who acted in a recent Hollywood version of The Great Gatsby is as
much filled with humility as he is with competence. He sees himself as a‘mere instrument’through
which ‘acting’ happens. He is able to cope with Diversity and Change as a true Champion as he
accepts the attitude of gratitude that he is, after all, gifted by Existence to do what he does best :
Converting POTENTIAL to PERFORMANCE. In the process, he reaches the top of Maslow’s Heirarchy
Pyramid: Self – Actualisation! To be uniquely gifted is one thing but to have the right attitude
to one’s ability is quite a few steps higher in evolution. Success, after all, they say, is merely the
intersection where ability, or talent, meets opportunity. Hence Talent management is all about
picking the right set of unique talents and ensuring that enough opportunity is given to convert
such talent into performance through Strategy and Execution. The other recent example of such
humility in communication came recently from our iconic RBI Governor after one of his more visible
press appearances recently : “I am Raghuram Rajan and I do what I do!”Touche! Indeed, a billion
Indians like me could afford to do likewise!
Diversity in Managerial terms is not about Inclusion or Tolerance. It is about CELEBRATING VARIETY
of Creation with a “Win-Win” Attitude of Assertiveness that Live and Let Live is the only law of
Harmony. Mangers are hired to manage MONEY but rarely understand that beyond mere money
lies HARMONY, the basis of UNITY that if I have the right to live, I need to equally and equivocally
respect the others’right to live. It talks about a “I am Okay- You are Okay”attitude born of comple
CONFIDENCE in SELF and TRUST in OTHERS. Therein lies the Harmony of the ecosystem that
Diversity of talent will love to bloom in. In a culture of Distrust and Disharmony, such talent will
not thrive and hence the brain Drain that our Prime Minister is wooing back by rightly calling it a
Brain Gain or Deposit, by aiming for better GOVERNANCE.
How can one try to create that HARMONY in the ecosystem to ensure that DIVERSITY becomes a
strength for a corporate culture to ensure that well-being and talent are not just promoted but
celebrated? The Google workplace culture is nowadays very popular as an example for celebrating
Diversity of all kinds, promoting INNOVATION based on TRUST and WELL-BEING. Meeting all the
needs of the Maslow Ladder till people reach the top of the pyramid and Self-Actualise themselves
like Yogis and Rishis. One wonders if all is as well as it looks from the outside but for staffers, it is
a mere question of adopting the Right Mindset to work in the true “Google Spirit” of enabling a
world of unlimited possibilities! Will the bubble burst? Nature says, everything must end sometime
materially or transform spiritually. On a personal basis, I have a small checklist of FIVE SKILLS that
one must look at for CULTURAL DIVERSITY to reinvent itself and stay relevant. The most basic is
investment for ant talented professional today is in constantly upgrading FUNCTIONAL SKILLS. The
second is MEMORY SKILLS especially as one ages. The third is COMMUNICATION SKILLS, where one
or Trust – based Relationship Networking where the lawyer who knows the Judge beats the lawyer
who merely knows the Law! However, the last and most important is what I call“ATTITUDE”SKILLS
which is based on Emotional Intelligence or the ability to show the right Sensitivity to situations
and Empathy for people. Leadership demands that TQM (Total Quality Management) comes from
TQM (Total Quality MIND)
So, to me, ATTITUDE is merely another word for MINDSET. The Bhagawad Geeta says that the Mind
is Man’s best friend as well as his biggest enemy. Depends on how he aligns with his mind. That is
what we call Emotional Intelligence. To celebrate DIVERSITY of thought, word and deed, it all starts
with ONESELF! Self Awareness is the key to handling the planet more sensibly and sensitively.
Is it all in the mind? Good question. Want an answer? Never mind! Celebrate Diversity. FAITH is the
“This generational stuff is just socially acceptable stereotyping…politically correct rationale offered for
My managers are barely “technologically literate” yet they’re never open to suggestions on how to
improve a process with technology.”
“I’m older, have more experience and stop asking so many questions.”
So what is the Challenge?
To quote a newsletter by Harvard Business School “Managing multigenerational workforces is an
art in itself.Young workers want to make a quick impact, the middle generation needs to believe in
the mission, and older employees don’t like ambivalence. Your move.”
Let us understand the Four Generations
Understanding differences between the generations is fundamental in building a successful
multigenerational workplace. For each generation there are particular experiences that mold
specific preferences, expectations, beliefs and work style. Here is a brief description of each
generation and their socioeconomic experiences and how they have impacted their work and
The Traditionalists (Veteran Generation):
Any of these statements sounds
familiar? I am sure they do and most
probably all of them. This is what
Generational Diversity is all about. We
are living in very dynamic worlds: the
present workforce comprises of four
different generations working side
by side; the traditionalists, the baby
boomers, generation x, generation y
and the millennials.
The Veteran Generation, born between
1925 and 1945, were brought up in
a more challenging time with life
hardworking, financially conservative,
and cautious. Organizational loyalty is
of an essence and they have advanced
with the premise that the seniority is
important to advance in one’s career.
They do not like the change, have a
respect for authority and hard work.
The generation X, born between 1965 and 1980,
was the first generation raised on“to do lists”and
grew up with high rate of blended families. They
witnessed their parents sacrifice greatly for their
companies. As a consequence, they developed
behaviors (not values) of independence, resilience
and adaptability more strongly than previous
generations. In opposition to the hard driving
Boomers who live to work, they work to live and
view the world with a little cynicism and distrust.
The Baby Boomers
The Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964,
were brought up in an abundant, healthy
post-war economy, becoming an egocentric
generation. Nuclear families were the norm.
More than anything, work has been a de-
fining part of both, their self-worth and
their evaluation of others. As such, they see
the workday at least 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is a
significant tension point between them and
the new generations, as they expect others to
have the same work ethic and work the same
The Y generation, born between 1981
and 2000, has been portrayed as
the next big generation. They were
brought up during the‘empowerment’
years where everyone won and
everyone got a medal. They were also
and taught to question authority,
expects to influence the terms and
conditions of their job. Generation Y
(as well as X, to a lesser
degree) is also the first to grow up with computers and the Internet as a significant part of their lives.
problem-solving situations.This generation of worker is coming into the workforce with networking,
multiprocessing, and global-minded skills that the traditionalists and baby boomers could not have
imagined. Let’s take a quick glance at the different generational preferences:
Having understood that there are definitive differences in the way things are done in all the
generations within a socio-cultural context and also accounting for major technological upheavals,
it is but natural to approach their learning in a different way.
How to Train Across Multigenerational Workplace? So how do we learn? We are all aware of the
70:20:10 principle given by Centre of Creative Leadership (CCL), which holds that individuals obtain
70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with
others, and 10 percent from formal educational events.
The question is how to provide the GenX and GenY’s with more learning opportunities in formal
training and on-demand training, through series of structured web-enabled job related modules,
creating virtual mentors.
How to Design an Effective Training Policy
Implementing a training policy framework is an essential prerequisite to serve as a facilitator of
the training practices. The basis for successful implementation of training programs is the training
policy that emphasizes an equal access to training across multigenerational groups based on
the organizational needs as skills development requirements. Managers play an essential role in
empowering the employees to design the training plan that would be reflection of the gap analysis
between existing and required skills for the job, keeping in mind career progression opportunities
and cross training, most important for Gen X and GenY. Listed below are some suggestions:
1. In house Mentoring Program: By working with Managers, the Talent Management group can
identify and train Mentors in each business unit as well as develop the system to keep track of
measurable impact of such program. This program should relate directly to job function and
trainee should be provided with one on one consultative style coaching related directly to the job
function. This approach can ensure the high performance and high level of engagement of the
new employee, especially throughout the On-Boarding phase.The target group for these roles can
be older workers which will add to their job satisfaction and engagement with the company.
2. Designing knowledge database and Multimedia Learning Opportunities: An effective e-Learning
strategy requires three main components: relevant and engaging course content, an effective
platform for the delivery of courses, and an ability to manage employee learning. The e-Learning
is most beneficial and cost effective in the area of mandatory training and skills building. It is well
received by GenX and GenY.
3. Make it Interactive: As different generations have different learning styles, it is important to
design the training policy and training program that would foster interactive learning experience
and use combination of variety of styles.
So what is the way forward?
Mix up different learning styles:Traditional classroom setting utilizing predominantly lectures with
excellent mentors as a source of institutional knowledge and experience.
For task specific Transformational learning style: Traditional classroom learning extended to
learning through participation, critical reflection, reflection and feedback.
Self-Directed or Self-Paced Learning: Highly receptive to e-learning series of structured lectures,
requires integration of technology and media in learning. Make it easy to access the information
and industry procedures Informal, incidental learning.
The poignant use of different technologies along with a judicious mix of traditional approaches
can ensure that learning needs of all generations are met. Whatever be the dynamics, I am sure we
as true partners of business will find a way to learn and transfer learning across generations.
RAVI K CHAVA
CEO at Metier HR, State of the Art,
Cloud based HR Automation Suite
WHILE BEING OTHER
When people think of diversity, they may think first of ethnicity and race, and then gender; however,
diversity is much broader than that. Diversity is defined as “otherness or those human qualities
that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet present in other
individuals and groups.” Dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to: age, ethnicity,
ancestry, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background,
geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, religious beliefs, parental status,
and work experience.
Diverse segments of the population, who due to their social position, view the world differently.The
fact that where you stand determines what you see is a reality in most situations, and it is especially
true for the concept of multiculturalism and the practice of managing diversity. Managing diversity
means acknowledging people’s differences and recognizing these differences as valuable; it
enhances good management practices by preventing discrimination and promoting inclusiveness.
Heterogeneity promotes creativity and heterogeneous groups have been shown to produce better
advantage in an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness. An organization
needs to be flexible and adaptable to meet new customer needs. Institutional structures and
practices which present barriers to some dimensions of diversity should be examined, challenged,
Managing diversity is defined as“planning and implementing organizational systems and practices
to manage people so that the potential advantages of diversity are maximized while its potential
disadvantages are minimized,”according to Taylor Cox in“Cultural Diversity in Organizations”
DIMENSIONS OF DIVERSITY
The first is recognition of the rich diversity in a given society or organization. For the longest
time racial/ethnic minorities, the physically disabled, and women have not been given the same
recognition as others. Respect should also accompany with recognition. Respect and recognition
are not the same, since recognizing the existence of a group does not necessarily elicit respect for
the group. There has been a long history of not respecting the rights of the powerless.
The next step is to also encourage and enable the contribution of the various groups to the
organization. Not everything can be utilized, nor is of the same worth and value. But it does have
value, even if for no other reason than the effort invested in bringing it forward. Such efforts must
be encouraged, for who knows from where the next great idea may come—from a youth, from an
elderly person, from a single parent, from a high school dropout, from a business executive, etc.?
The word enable is important, because what lies behind it is the concept of empowerment - the
process of enabling people to be self-critical of their own biases so as to strengthen themselves
and others to achieve and deploy their maximum potential. People’s sense of self-worth, value and
dignity is most often determined not only by the kind of support and encouragement they receive
from others, but also from how willing they are to self-examine negative behaviours in their own
life and in their cultural group.
Today’s diverse population pool and workforce is going to increase. This is the direction of the
future—multicultural, multi ethnic, multilingual communities. And effective leaders, concerned
with the bottom line—the maximizing of profit, whether material or nonmaterial—are recognizing
this new direction.
The art of managing diversity is thus of great concern to all persons charged with the responsibility
of overseeing the work of others. Organizations, however, that try to force today’s reality into
yesterday’s management styles will seriously jeopardize the viability of their enterprise. Beyond
the challenge of creating a humane working environment where management and staff of diverse
backgrounds and experiences learn to appreciate each other, lies the additional one of changing
the structural arrangements.
Diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace.
Organizations that seek global market relevancy must embrace diversity – in how they think,
act and innovate. Diversity can no longer just be about making the numbers, but rather how an
organization treats its people authentically down to the roots of its business model. In today’s new
workplace, diversity management is a time-sensitive business imperative.
Stephen Covey once said: “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Diversity is critical for
organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment. Diversity is essential
to growth and prosperity of any company: diversity of perspectives, experiences, cultures, genders,
and age. Why? Because diversity breeds innovation. And innovation breeds business success.
Top 10 Reasons Why Diversity Is Good
1. It reflects the real world – something every company should be sensitive to.
2. Healthy debate can lead to better decisions.
3. Divergent backgrounds mean tackling the same idea in differing ways.
4. Great ideas come from disruption of the status quo.
5. Your clients and customers are diverse.
6. This can make your company knowledgeable and sensitive to a wider variety of groups.
7. Counsel from a variety of authorities is sensible.
8. Setting an example at the top will hopefully have a trickle-down effect within the organization.
9. Improved reputation and brand.
10. A variety of backgrounds can make the company more adaptable to its ever changing
Mixed gender executive boards have outperformed all-male ones by 26% over the last six years
according to research by Credit Suisse, while global studies have shown that organizations with
diverse and inclusive cultures are 45% more likely to have improved their market share in the last 12
months, and have employees who not only give greater discretionary effort but are also less likely
More and more leaders are starting to add Diversity and Inclusion to their strategic agenda, and
it’s about time. While diversity can be addressed as a compliance issue and tracked fairly easily, the
range of individual behaviours which make up inclusion mean, it’s trickier to pin down and add to
an HR leader’s goals.
Generational gap is a phenomenon of nature’s swiftness depicting process of evolution, and
evolution always moves forward, never backward.Whether it is really in progressive and prosperous
direction may be questionable to some!
This means that whatever and wherever we are today in mind, body and spirit, we will not be
that and there in a certain duration of time. While time is the biggest contributing factor to this
progression, importance of space and environment cannot be under mined.This process is so slow
and gradual that there are no panics; there may be surprises, but no panics.
And since we humans are a product of this nature, we just cannot by-pass this process; and so the
forever existing generational gap.
In present times, generational gap is broadly categorized as per birth-year:
Source: As Reported by UN.
If you closely look at the categorization above, you will observe that the gap-years have shrunk - for
Baby Boomers it is 18 years, Gen X - 15 years and for Gen Y - 9 years.
So does that mean nature is not swift anymore - what happened to the gradual and slow process
of evolution here?
Multiple sources of information regard this gap to aspects such as victim of wars, witness of civil
upheavals, boom of industrialization and dawn of information technology.
And all of these aspects have contributed immensely to the space and environment factors,
including the shrinking gap. Each of these aspects has evoked different emotions and energy to
the generation to not only sustain but also propagate itself - the prime purpose of nature.
Currently, information technology is the biggest environmental factor that is increasingly shrinking
this gap. The focus is shifting from back-ground and experience to what one brings to the table!
How does this gap affect an organization and its culture?
It affects immensely as a workplace relation consists of multiple layers – communication channels;
feedback methods; commitment and dedication etc. Let’s consider these observations to
distinguish the psychology:
Here, take a minute or two to reflect upon the information in the table above and answer these
1 What patterns do you observe?
2 What else would you add to this table?
Well, as we started, evolution happens - one can clearly note the process of Natural Selection in the
information above, i.e. pick what’s best and discard the rest!
So is it possible to bridge the Generational Gap without unpleasant surprises?
Of course it is, co-habitation is extremely central to us, we are social animals. We need a societal
construct and we actively categorize. It’s just that this construct and categorization is happening at
a very fast rate now. We are now very actively forming groups of similar interests so we can share
and collaborate more effectively. As process of evolution, we are moving towards a generation that
wants to collaborate with the best in a certain field and not just with anyone, not just by chance.
The reliance and focus on specific knowledge, skill and attitude is at an all time high.
And the more we progress with years, the more this generation will take over. So it is upon the
earlier generations that how best they pass the baton and how best they assist in this process of
‘pick what’s best and discard the rest’!
Some methods that can be adopted to bridge the generational gaps, in your organization, across
1 Promote Networking: Create groups within your organization where people with similar interests
get to network. Let these groups explore - from technology to arts!
2 Feedback Channels: Train your teams in importance of giving and receiving feedback and ‘how
3 Appreciation Days: Host focused appreciation days every week/month wherein the entire day the
team-members have to give appreciation to each other or at least acknowledgement to what has
Generation gap is a natural process and information technology has just accelerated its speed. So
here the organizations need to learn to adapt to its most important assets - people - and create
more and more ways to ally them and align them!
Co-Founder and Chief Mentor,
Women entrepreneurs constitute only 10 percent of the total number of entrepreneurs in the
But the ecosystem is getting ready for a change. The biggest improvement has been an increase
in the percentage of women entrepreneurs who are using new technology and introducing
innovative products. In addition, there has been an increase in the percentage of women
entrepreneurs who are ‘growth oriented’, that is those who plan to add more than 10 new
employees and achieve 50% growth in five years.
Being a woman entrepreneur I would like to share a few tips on how can woman use diversity as
a tool for business success.
Diversity in Team
As a woman entrepreneur selecting the right team is very crucial for business success. Women
need to analyse and identify the challenges their business needs to overcome and choose the
right team to address them.
With technology advancements world is getting smaller and competition tougher. Diversity is
an advantage for any company and with globalised marketplace it is necessary to have a diverse
team for your business.
Diversity in Experiences
Knowledge gained at any stage can always be reused.As an entrepreneur woman must always
try to gain varied experiential knowledge like how to develop and finance new organisation,
how to lead & hire people, how to attract & retain customers, ways to serve market, etc.
Entrepreneurs must always believe in exploitation of what is known and exploration of new
Diversity in Mentors
A mentor is your secret weapon. A good mentor will always make you think and add value with
his experience. A woman entrepreneur must always look for mentors, not only in business but
in other aspects of life. Having good mentors around is always an advantage as they can always
guide you with their expertise and help you avoid the same mistakes.
Diversity in Learning
The online learning space is growing rapidly and everyday some new technologies are added. As
an entrepreneur one must make full use of various learning tools available like live video based
training, personality driven business program, Google for entrepreneurs, and membership based
Other than online programs there are also various offline programs which encourage woman
entrepreneurship. Joining and attending them can add value and experience to woman who
dream to start up on their own.
WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS–So now you know how to use Diversity For Prosperity
The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people. Therefore lets welcome people of all religion
from across the world for the benefit of helping each other, learning and sharing the rich experience and
moving from one continent to the other continent. This would help foster stronger trade relationship and
in turn help the country towards development and growth. And what would be the best place to foster this
relationship than workplace ?
“Strength lies in differences not in similarities “ So said Stephen Richards Covey. The famous American
educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. And his most popular book “The Seven Habits of
Highly Effective People” is a proof of how diversified culturally difference groups can come together to
build a successful organizations.
Most people believe in the golden rule: treat others as you want to be
treated leading to“Diversity in Workplaces”
True Indian companies have woken up to this culture a long back but a
lot needs to be done respecting the values, beliefs and the way they treat
their employees of a different ethnicity. Leaving few of them who prioritize
it and made it mandatory to include diversity many organizations are
far behind in this race. These organizations need to understand that great
relationships are about two things. And train their people about the same.
First to find out the similarities and second to respect the difference which
speaks volumes about“Diversity”. This is because once you understand other
people’s cultural background, it becomes easier to connect with them easily
for smooth running of any organization.
I believe we need to understand in its truest term what
diversity is all about when it comes to workplace culture.
It means accepting, understanding and valuing differences
among individuals. Having a diverse workplace gives your
business ideas and innovations from a variety of
backgrounds and cultures. Many large corporations s
eek out suppliers that are over 50 percent owned and
operated by diverse owners. Developing a diversity
strategic plan for the workplace helps your company
operate in a global marketplace.
Having a diversified cultural environment is all about an inclusive workplace where the human
rights principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity, gender sensitivity and autonomy are
promoted and are part of the organization’s everyday goals and behavior.
It is also a good idea because the benefits can spread much further than the walls of your
organization. Many people spend more waking hours at work than at home. Getting relationships
right in the workplace is a way to start getting those relationships right in the wider community.
Incorporating inclusive working into the key values of your organization can therefore have a
threefold effect: good for your business, good for your staff, and good for the community around
Promoting equality, human rights and inclusive working can help to increase productivity, improve
motivation and retention, and provide an inclusive and adaptable service to customers and clients.
An environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, where the talents and skills
of different groups are valued, and where productivity and customer service improves because
the workforce is happier, more motivated and more aware of the benefits that inclusion can bring.
To be a part of this dream organization it is the Human Resource department that can play a
vital role in instilling this diversity culture among its employees from day one of their induction
The human resources department is often called upon to lead the way when companies commit to
managing or valuing diversity. True, organizations come in all sizes and shapes, with staffs ranging
from mostly homogeneous to totally diverse. In the same way, human resources can be a problem-
solver. And it is this HR which is also an influencer, wise to the political climate of the organization
and able to use this knowledge to protect and nurture the fledgling diversity program. Human
resources supports the efforts of all participants, and thinks strategically, ever careful to include
long-term as well as short-term goals into the overall planning.
resources should not be. It is not, for example, desirable for the human resources department to be
the sole, or even primary, focus of the diversity strategy.
Dealing effectively with diversity-learning not just to manage, but to thrive on the rich mosaic of
differences-is an issue for all areas of the organization. If efforts to manage diversity are seen as
“just another human resources program they will simply not work.
What is required is real change-in attitudes, practices, structure and policies-from the executive
suite down. The human resources manager should not be the sole person responsible for driving
the diversity initiative. Companies must spread out the responsibility, or the program may die early.
Hence to manage diversity focus should be on maximizing the ability of all employees to
contribute to organizational goals. Affirmative action focuses on specific groups because of
historical discrimination, such as people of color and women. Affirmative action emphasizes legal
necessity and social responsibility; managing diversity emphasizes business necessity. In short,
while managing diversity is also concerned with under representation of women and people of
color in the workforce, it is much more inclusive and acknowledges that diversity must work for
But if ignored there can be many consequences of leading us no where. Because ignoring diversity
issues costs time, money, and efficiency. Some of the consequences can include unhealthy tensions;
loss of productivity because of increased conflict; inability to attract and retain talented people of
all kinds; complaints and legal actions; and inability to retain valuable employees, resulting in lost
investments in recruitment and training.
Workplace Diversity has many advantages. As an organization’s success and competitiveness
depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively
assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple
benefits are reported such.
Increased adaptability, offer many services, shares many opinions from different people but it also
of diversity friendly policies etc. But with the right policies and strategies in place this too can be
over come by any organization and only if people are willing to change & give ways to their self
development and contributing towards economic development as well.
SO isn’t it time for us to say “If we cannot now end our differences, at
least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
John F. Kennedy
Email: email@example.com Ph: 9845422751
Hello there! Before you read any further, quickly close your eyes and think of a creative person. Who
did you think of? My hunch is that you thought of a creative man, not a woman. I’m not surprised.
In study after study, when asked to picture a creative thinker - writer, innovator, musician or artist
- an overwhelming majority imagined a man. Even in groups that had equal number of men and
women respondents, the result was the same.
Now, some of you reading this (especially women) have probably already decided to dislike me, but
hold on. This gets interesting! I’ve spent over two decades in the creative profession of advertising,
and I’ve worked with both men and women. More recently, I’ve founded a corporate team building
/ core values idea based on creativity, music and experiential learning, called Harmonica Huddle.
So based on all my experiences, I’m going to offer you offer some of my own theories on creative
Creativity is a subjective process. It is also very dichotomous. It’s complex at one level and startlingly
simple at another. Either way, the process of creativity / innovation is fraught with feelings of
insecurity, discomfort and vulnerability. Also, in some ways, creativity is a leap of faith, even when
creative people tell you they are ‘absolutely sure’! Therefore, to even start out on the journey, one
needs certain traits. Not just ‘imagination / vision / intuition’… I’m referring to far more practical
traits like risk-taking, self-reliance and dealing with ambiguity.
Here’s an interesting hypothesis. Let’s go back in time – to 200,000 or more years ago. Homo Erectus
had just arrived on the scene, so to speak. At that time, there were basically two‘occupations’. Either
you were a Hunter or a Gatherer. Naturally, the men became hunters and women became gatherers.
We now know that apart from physical prowess, hunting also demanded the mindset of courage,
risk-taking, etc. There was a huge element of danger and uncertainty in every hunt. Any hunt could
go two ways: either you got the behemoth or the behemoth got you.
So, working with courage, urgency and intuition in the face of uncertainty were core skills required
to be a good hunter. Voila! These very traits are vital to the process of creativity; one could argue
that these traits have been passed on genetically to men. And while we have come a long way from
‘Homo Erectus phase’, these traits are still very much a part of the male DNA even today.
Interestingly, in another independent study, participants were asked to rate skills they thought are
central to creative thinking. They came up with words like Decisiveness, Competitive Spirit, Risk-
taking, Ambition and Daring, among others. The study also went on to suggest that these biases
have been further strengthened because of the ‘different roles’ that were expected of men and
women. Even as recently as a century ago, men were ‘the providers’ and women were ‘the home
makers’who had little time or energy to invest in innovating.
and walking shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. Not only is this a natural evolution
(the hunter-gatherer phase is long over, if you’ve noticed) but it must be seen as a welcome trend. In
this knowledge worker age, the lines between men and women are not just being blurred but being
erased, in professional and social contexts. And this is wonderful because I believe that mankind
will emerge the better for it.
I’ve had the privilege of working alongside several talented creative women – writers, designers,
strategists… I’ve admired them, respected them and learnt from them. As the founder-facilitator of
Harmonica Huddle, I’ve also been a keen observer of how creativity unfolds in mixed groups. I feel,
when it comes to creativity, it is almost impossible to rank men over women or vice versa, for that
Yes, men may be quicker off the block (perhaps genetically wired to act and take the first step).
Women, on the other hand, like to be sure (more risk-averse?). I’ve also seen that women who are
able to overcome the initial feelings of hesitation do very well with abstract concepts like music.
In fact, many women participants in my workshops have emerged as clear pack leaders, with traits
like clarity, perfection and sensitivity. I’ve also seen that teams with women participants invariably
do well overall. It could be because of core creative traits or other vital traits like‘nurturing, creating
harmony or keeping the flock together’which you’ll agree, are essential qualities to build any kind
of team, leave alone a creative team.
So when it comes to creativity, there’s no right or wrong way. There’s no better or worse approach
– just different routes. And we need that difference! Creativity thrives on variety, feeds on cultural
nuances and grows in an environment of diversity.
In conclusion, I say it is a fact that men and women approach creativity slightly differently. But if
you tell me one is better or more creative than the other, I’d say that is a myth. Cheers to creative
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 9845422751
It’s time to rethink diversity. Till date, diversity in its true
terms, largely addressed the fairness for race, gender,
underrepresented workforce etc. However; organizations
in the present era needs to nurture a more potent kind
of diversity – ‘Diversity of Thought’. Developments in
neurological research that are sorting out how each of
us thinks and solve problems can help organizations
operationalize diversity of thought and eventually
transform how they describe and harness human capital.
It refers to an idea that all of us know subconsciously and
experience throughout our lives. Every human being has
a distinctive assortment of personalities, philosophies,
and practices that represents how he conceptualizes,
comprehends, conveys, communicates and undertakes a
job. Diversity of thought goes outside the avowal of parity.
The emphasis is on apprehending the chockfull potential
of employees, and in turn the organization, by believing
and valuing the potential of each individual’s exceptional
viewpoint and different way of thinking.
The inference of this different frontier in diversity is that
corporate frontrunners and organizations must leave the
impression that there is“one right way”and invariably pay
attention to create a learning culture where employees
sense an ambience of their ideas and thoughts being
welcomed, and dynamically pursue to learn from each
– A connect to missing dots
The advantages of diversity of thought may be
listed out as follows:
1. Helps organizations identify their leaders
who think differently. A decade back having a
heavy, ugly looking, mono-colour cell phone was
for coming up with new designs of cell phones
this person was thinking something different.
PhotonSynthesis invented by Vivien Muller helps
you recharge your cell phone and camera with
this USB solar-cell tree charger. It has got 54 tiny
photovoltaic panels that help this device to store
energy in a battery during the day, allowing you
Present day managers are proficient at leading a diverse work force. In future, they will be more
sensitive not only to factors like race, culture, gender and skill, but also to the new research and
empowering technologies that will help organizations comprehend how employees contemplate.
Managers and leaders are required to understand the usage of emerging technologies to aid
employees assess their exceptional thinking strengths and recognize their optimum contributions
to the mission.Technology, of course, is not a panacea. Leaders will also need to learn how to adjust
their management styles and strategies to bridge the networks between individuals and their
ideas to advance problem solving, learning, collaboration, and innovation in their organizations.
Leaders and managers will thus face the need to take snowballing ownership of creating an
Talent acquisition needs to give room for having the basic diversity of thought in their workforce.
Contracting for a diversity of backgrounds in terms of cross cultural collaborations will not be
The recruiters should hire from different sources and also change the pattern of recruitment in
terms of finding a suitable candidate so as to get a varied pool of talent.
to reload your stuff whenever you need. All wires are plugged and hidden under the electronic
Workgroups and teams these days are competing not with any other organization but within
themselves. Interestingly, organizations are hiring a new position termed ‘catalysts’. A catalyst is
something that increases the speed of a reaction similarly, a catalyst in an organization induces the
rate of tension or competitiveness among workgroups. It is difficult to compete with another team
in the same organization who not only knows your strengths and philosophies but also knows
your weaknesses. These are the times when leaders need to think differently to benchmark and
2. Helps protect the organization against monopoly of thought process. We are what we are
for the decisions we make. When we make a collaborative decision, taking into account different
experiences and thought processes, it lands us at different heights.
The adhesive used in Post-it Notes were invented by 3M’s research scientist, Dr. Spence Silver. It
was a flop show as the glue was not sufficient enough to stick. Art Fry was a 3M new product
development researcher. He wanted to find a solution to prevent the scrap bookmarks from falling
out of his church choir hymnal. That was how he put the special adhesive to good use and Post-it®
pads were an immediate success.
Diversity of thought helps organizations build a better decision making framework and channelize
the processes in completion of a task by optimal utilization of resources as it elicits innovative ways
of information processing and handling difficult situations.
3. Helps to map new visions. The book ‘Built to last’ by Jim Collins reads about a concept of
BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.While organizations are envisioning a future as long as 30 years
to be successful in the present competitive era. Amazon’s vision statement reads as:“Our vision is
to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and
discover anything they might want to buy online.” On the other hand, a hotel named Henn-na in
Japan is investing in robots to serve their guests. Not only that; the guests can also have an access
to their rooms by face recognition and control the room amenities via tablets.
This innovative thought process can be achieved by linking numerous exercises and philosophies
in a different way. Robotics and gamification are result of such diversity of thoughts to enable the
capacity of organizations to resolve different demands of the era.
Guest check-in done by robots in a hotel in Japan
“Diversity of thought is a critical element in determining the ultimate performance of workgroups.
workgroups are most affected and most energized by diversity of thought. It is this component
that truly defines the word. Diversity of thought facilitates diversity of ideas, fuels innovation and
generates creativity”states a research paper‘Taking Diversity to the Summit: Diversity of Thought’
by Vincent M. Cramer & Clayton H. Osborne.
Input from the L&D vertical for implementing diversity of thoughts:
Few training interventions which would be immensely required in organization which is going
through a transition toward diversity of thoughts are; Conflict resolution, Stress management,
Effective communications, Emotional intelligence, Team building/integration, Diversity and
About the author:
The author is a passionate training professional having experience in financial and leadership
training of financial services sector. She is a social media enthusiast and blogger. She has authored
majors. She likes travelling and photography and is currently working as the Behavioural
Competency Lead of L&T Infotech; Bangalore.
Chandrakanth is Vendor management risk and
control specialist in Honeywell and has 9 years
of experience in procure to pay business. He
holds a Bachelor of commerce from Bangalore
university & also he is a certified lean sig sigma
champion. He writes mainly on Finance, career
& work life balance.
Logo for L&D group in face book was designed
by Chandrakanth. (this can be removed if it
doesn’t make sense)
Companies need to evolve in order to survive in the 21st Century and diversity presents one of the
biggest challenges. It requires a huge shift in the way companies run. Companies need to accept
difference, respect difference, work with difference and live with difference.
Diversity has traditionally been thought of in terms of demographic diversity (e.g.- gender)but
conversation has to shift from demographic diversity to diversity of thought as a way to describe
the desired end game, where different perspectives become the point of valued difference rather
than our visible characteristics.
How rich is our knowledge bank? Do we have the variety of perspectives necessary to deal with
complex problems and create innovative solutions? Are we fully valuing and leveraging the
potential of all our employees?’
We now live in an era where the quality of a company’s people has become the distinguishing
feature of a successful organization. People are the single sustainable sources of competitive
In essence, demographics act as a lead indicator as to whether organizations are drawing from the
full knowledge bank and making merit-based, rational decisions.
Diversity should be leveraged through inclusion which means the extent to which individuals feel
valued and included by an organization.
This can be achieved through inclusive leadership by ensuring all employees have the opportunity
to fulfill their individual and combined potential.
An inclusive leader can harness the power of diverse teams for creativity and innovation by shifting
potential conflict to collaboration.
Diversity + Inclusion will result in improves business outcome.
Educational Qualifications: PGDM (Marketing) Xavier Institute
of Social Service
Present Company: Bajaj Electricals Limited
Designation: Management Associate
I am an extremely optimistic person with a passion for writing,
travelling and exploring all the phases of life to the fullest. Being
a fitness freak, I practice yoga everyday that helps me buildup
inner peace and stamina. Have a strong fascination towards the
world of marketing and advertisement. I believe life is too short
to while away time, so I try to imbibe knowledge from every
moment to replenish my unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
G E N D E R D I V E R S I T Y
of males and females in a relevant setting. Improper representation of the different genders in a
certain setting gives rise to gender gap. With the elapsing time, the mindset of our society has
evolved and transformed to a greater extent which instills a hope in us that we can accentuate
gender diversity in the corporate world with an ease.
If we compare the general Indian mentality of present age to earlier times of our predecessors, we
will witness a stupendous change in it. There was a time when women were looked down upon
by the men folk and they were supposed to only look after the household chores, raise children
and be bereft of the luxuries of life. With the changing times, women were given the right to be
educated, but still the tethering chains were not gone, women working in offices were not very
well received by our society. They were supposed be altruistic and meek, sacrificing their desires
and rights. The revolutionary changes in the attitude of our society didn’t set in overnight. Women
had to fight for her rights of equality. Urbanization as well as westernization compelled our Indian
society to undergo metamorphosis.
In the present scenario, the attitude of Indian women today is no longer as it was previously
perceived – submissive, nurturing, obedient and emotional, but today’s working women are just
as aggressive and ambitious as men. They recognize their talents and understand their rights. The
number of dual income families and single working mothers has increased over the years.
The family structure in India is changing at a rapid speed. The joint family concept, where only
the male head takes decision for the entire family irrespective of the varied needs and choices of
the different family members, is now vanishing and nuclear families are cropping up, where both
husband and wives take family decisions together.
In modern India, women have the largest influence in decision making process of every purchase.
Thus, it becomes imperative for organizations to employ women in order to understand the psyche
of the target audience. Understanding the need of the hour, organizations worldwide have started
focusing on gender diversity. As the first step, organizations are recognizing the importance of
accepting the culture of diversity before putting in systems and policies to promote it.
Realizing the importance of gender diversity, a volley of programs is launched by many companies
these days to support gender diversity and attract and retain their women employees. The
underlying principle of the initiative is that gender diversity leads to a more creative, flexible
and innovative organization that is in tune with the society and the market. They believe that
by recognizing the strengths of each gender, working relationships become more productive,
increasing the mutual understanding, respect and trust.
Women’s representation in the boardrooms is being discussed innumerous times but still nothing
much has been done by the companies. As per SEBI’s directive all listed companies were required
to have at least one woman director on their boards from April 1, 2015 onwards; yet till a week
before the deadline, several hundred listed companies including PSUs were found to be non
compliant. Only a handful of companies with broad outlook were found to have competent
women in the boardrooms, rest of the companies were either having no women representation
in their boardrooms or appointed ladies from their own family, irrespective of their competency
levels. Data showed that nearly 57% of listed companies on the National Stock Exchange appointed
wives, sisters, daughters etc. to their boards. Their hurried action completely undermines the
potential and value that competent women can bring to the board and this also renders the SEBI’s
If we scrutinize the statistical data, we find that India is a laggard in terms of gender diversity in the
boardroom, with women making up only 4.7% of India’s corporate directors. We fare poorly when
compared to countries like Norway, Finland, France and Sweden that have over 30% of women
representation in corporate boards. Even among developing economies like China and Brazil,
India is the worst off.
in running companies results in better overall performance. A survey of Fortune 500 companies
indicates that companies with higher female boardroom representation outperformed on various
financial parameters like return on sales (ROS) and return on investment (ROI).
India is a vast country with people residing in various parts of the country with great diversity
in tastes, religions, culture and knowledge. Women in India are extremely hardworking, focused
and ambitious as well as rooted to their cultures in which they are raised. These qualities imbibed
together make them dynamic personalities. Providing the opportunities to the competent ladies
in the corporate world will not only foster gender diversity in the work culture of the companies
but would also help in the growth of the company by leveraging their knowledge and intellect.
Global studies have revealed that companies with greater gender diversity not only do well
financially, but are also characterized by better leadership, accountability, innovation, operational
efficiency and a motivational work culture. A recent study of the top 100 Indian companies (BSE
100) by Randstad shows that companies with women on their boards performed better. The study
revealed that the board of a private sector company, run by a professional CEO with a mix of both
men and women, helped Return on Equity (ROE) rise by 4.4% in 2014. In contrast, a similar company
with a men-only board saw its ROE rise by a mere 1.8% in the same period.
According to the statistical data of McKinsey & Company, women in India continue to have trouble
in moving up the corporate ladder and are struck at the junior and middle management levels.
There is a huge leadership gender gap in India out of the 22.6% of the women employed by the
organizations only 3% to 6% women are in senior management and pathetically only 4.9% women
are Board of Directors.
I have been talking about a lot of statistics related to women and their representation in the
corporate world but how can I forget that before initiating a career by entering any organization
a woman has to pass through a lot of stumbling blocks in her life. The hypocrisy prevailing in
our society is the biggest boulder that hamstrings her growth. They are taught to sacrifice for
their brothers, father and husbands. When a well deserving and competent lady climbs up in her
career at a faster pace than male colleagues, she may have to face false allegations raised on her
character, a very common phenomenon, when the male ego gets hurt. Male chauvinism is so
strongly ingrained in our society that whenever a lady attempts to add a feather to her hat, she will
have to be ready to face the stark sarcasm and hypocrisies of the crazy jungle in which we live, the
so called society.
One of the major concerns, which may hamstring gender diversity, is sexual harassment at work
place. Most of the cases remain stuck in oblivion and go unnoticed because if a lady raises her
voice against it, either it gets muted forcefully or her character is being assassinated by some male
Even though we say we reside in a modern society, but yet a lot needs to be changed in it. People
need to look at things on a much broader spectrum especially the way in which a society accepts
a woman living in it. Gender diversity is one of the key factors in women empowerment as well as
growth of any organization. Corporations and governments must capitalize on the contributions of
a competent woman. India needs to change its mindset and try to leverage on women’s expertise
and knowledge in good governance and effective management of the organizations.
The woman of 21st century has aspirations, dreams and the capabilities to do things as good
as or maybe even better from their male counterparts. Today’s women intend to be financially
independent and want to do things, they never did. Surprisingly, only 30% of all economically
active individuals in India are females.
Some background to this; Catalyst Inc., found in 1962 is a non-profitable organization that
promotes inclusive workplaces for women. In 2010, its statistics concluded that companies with
significant percentage of women on their boards performed better than those with no woman on
their boards – by a whopping 84% on Return on Sales, 60% on Return on Investment and 46% on
Return on Equity. These were astounding figures leaving the business world surprised.
How are women different from men? According to me, women are much better at team building
and nurturing, skills they acquire from mothering a child & leading a family. Women have more
modest goals, and thus have to face less of failure, also they are hard-working and have high level
of patience. Also, women are more willing to collaborate than men are.
Coming to India, we all know SEBI, The Security Exchange Board of India has made it mandatory
for all listed Indian Companies to induct at least one woman in their Corporate Boardrooms and
the deadline set was April 1, 2015 as per circular dated 17th April, 2014 under Section 149 of the
Companies Act, 2013, under corporate governance Norms. This was done with a basic aim to
improve gender diversity in corporate boards.
The initial deadline to comply with this order was October 1, 2014, which means India Inc. has
a good 6 months to do the required. But later, the regulator extended the deadline to April 1,
2015, just to align its various corporate governance norms as per the provisions in the updated
Companies Act. So, a timeline of 347 days was available with India. Inc. to look for and hire a
qualified woman director. Why qualified? Well, the companies were to hire for a Board of Director,
rite? So, someone present in the boardroom should be that eligible to be there rite? Well, these
were not mentioned specifically in the regulators order, and I believe most of the companies have
taken advantage of this loop hole.
But how well has it actually facilitated bridging the gap?
If research data from PRIME Database is to be believed, at 4.30 p.m IST, April 1, 2015, around 189
companies listed on the NSE did not have a woman on their board. Data also reflects that 58
companies had inducted woman directors 24 hours away from deadline. Quite a close shave to
the time line eh!!
Also, more than half the companies who have inducted woman on their board are relatives of some
or the other executive. The overall aim of SEBI to have woman representation in the boardroom &
company’s decision making is not completely achieved as these relatives will resonate the same
views as their promoters. Off course, I don’t say its wrong appointing a woman director who is a
family member, but someone who is not competent or qualified enough being inducted on the
board is wrong.
To name a few, Reliance Industries has inducted Mrs. Neeta Ambani, wife of the Chairman, Mr.
Mukesh Ambani. Vijay Mallaya’s step mother now is a director of the Mangalore Chemicals &
Ltd, Asian Paints, Videocon Industries, Godhra Phillips, JK Cement.
To conclude, I would just request India. Inc. to change its mindset and respect the spirit of gender
diversity, the basic aim behind SEBI’s directive. I don’t say, don’t induct relatives, or compromise
on the quality of the board to ensure woman representation, I am just saying that the selection
of Woman Directors should be based on their professional capabilities & competencies. I believe
this will result in enhancing the performance of the board, leading to better figures on the Annual
Mohit is currently pursuing MBA in Marketing from IBS Business School, Pune. He has an
experience of 6 years of working in the field of Network Marketing. He is also a motivational
speaker and guides youth in a proper way to unlock their potential and achieve their dreams.
Ideally, Indian companies should hire Indians, German companies should hire Germans;
companies from the countries like U.S.A, U.K, Russia, China and Australia should hire
people from their own countries. Moreover, companies from a particular region of a country
should be specific in hiring people of their region. Why there is a need to hire people from
different culture, country, state or a region?
Why top MNC’s like Google and Microsoft are looking from employees of different cultures;
If we consider any sports playing team as an organisation, why there is a need to hire foreign
coaches or support staff?
Following are various benefits because of which many companies value diversity in the
Why diversity in
the need of the
(1) Access to talent: Why to restrict yourself? When you are doing business globally,
you can also access the talent in various countries. It gives an option to select
employees with various kind of talent. As various cultures nurture people differently,
it helps them to develop in different ways. Thinking of diversity simply means
accessing various kind of talent.
(2) Various viewpoints: Why to think in only one way? If there are 20 people of the
same culture, assigned with a task, the chances are high that all of them will try to
find a solution in more or less similar way. What if that there are 20 people, 4 each
from 5 different cultures, the chances are high to get 5 to 6 different ways of working
on the same problem.
(3) Creative solutions: What if an organisation gets a creative solution for all of its
problems instead of traditional or conventional solutions? Well, if there are employees
working on a certain project belong to various class, culture, region, country, state and
race; and all of them are asked for solutions, surely we will get various solutions. If
we combine all the solutions, we can create a very creative way of working. If this
practice is repeated continuously, it will increase the productivity of the organisation.
(4) Global reach: As many employees of various countries working in an organisation,
that much information can be generated about the countries. Once the organisation
has the information, the organisation can plan to expand its global reach.
(5) Increased profitability: Diversity in organisation surely gives better way of working.
It helps organisations to do its businesses in effective ways. Surely, it helps to
increase the profitability of the company.
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Strategies for the
By Philip R. Harris, Robert
T. Moran, Sarah V. Moran
The fact that this book has survived and thrived for six editions and 25 years, speaks volumes
about the content of this book. Managing Cultural Differences(MCD) is a synergic effort of three of
the biggest names in the study of cross cultural diversity. In many universities, these books (or its
different editions) are a prescribed text for HR/Management students.
The book is not meant to be consumed in one sitting. Rather, you will have to savor this slowly
and going back to it regularly. It is a reminder of considerations that fuel tolerance, diversity and
inclusion in workplace and everywhere else.
The book is divided into two parts. First part with 9 chapters deal with Cultural Impacts on Global
Management. Aptly, the book begins with an attempt to explain the constituents of culture. The
book flows easily and definitely not very preachy, something that the typical management books
are wont to do.
The first chapter explores the generic concepts of culture, like systems approach to culture,
some cultural terminologies, heterogenic nature of global organizations, key concepts of global
The second chapter is about communication in the world of ethnic and linguistic differences. The
subsequent chapters in the first part deals with global leadership, negotiation across cultures,
managing change in the multi-cultural environment etc. There are some interesting stories and
anecdotes that you can very easily connect with.
In the first part, the authors also cover transitioning to a new culture, globalization, diversity and
inclusion in workplace. The last two chapters of the first part also covers very essential element of
diversity, the gender.The women in global business is an great read even in its independent entity.
I found the second part of the book very interesting. In six chapters, the authors outline the key
Latin Americans, Asians and Australians, Europeans, Middle Easterners and Africans. Of course, to
understand the book better, I dived mainly in the section for Asians and Australians. Here there is a
section for every country in the region. Again, I read the section on India was left a bit disheartened.
While it is an interesting read, it is very archaic and does not reflect the urban Indian workforce.
Similarly, the European section also has a set of countries and some generic notions about the
The second section left me slightly disappointed. However, when I think that this book was
originally written about 25 years ago and mainly some of the key facts and numbers are updated,
it does make me think about what a wonderful resource this book must have been to the students
and managers during that time. Remember folks, there was no internet or the magic wand of our
lives, the google, at that time.
The language is simple and concepts discussed in the book are not something new. However, MCD
is definitely makes us recall some key concepts.
Winner Amit Goswami
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Recently, I was a speaker in a panel discussion organized by a premier B-School.
The moderator of the panel discussion asked me how my organization is dealing
with the challenge of managing millennials. Pat came my response,“Do we need to
manage millennials? Do we see the presence of millennials in our organizations as
a challenge?”The moderator clearly didn’t anticipate this response and was visibly
off-track for a few minutes before gaining the momentum back.
Well, my intention was not to derail the momentum and flow of the discussion. My
objective was to drive home an important point about millennials. Many HR leaders
and practitioners are harbouring the misconception that millennials are a problem
and hence they need to be managed. This misconception has led to many impact-
less programs and initiatives in organizations to deal with this so-called problem or
challenge. What a sheer waste of money, men and material!!
This edition of Ekaakshara is dedicated to the theme of DIVERSITY. We have featured
eminent thought leaders from the industry who have touched upon various aspects
of Diversity- Generation, Gender, Culture, Language etc. I hope you would enjoy
reading this edition of Ekaakshara. Do share your feedback with us? Help us to serve
Surya Prakash Mohapatra
Chief Editor, Ekaakshara
Founder, Learning and Development Group
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