Advancing equality at the workplace stands as a critical milestone in the journey towards creating a fair and inclusive society. In countries like India, this pursuit requires an unwavering commitment by organisations to dismantle biases and barriers that impede equal opportunities especially for women. By implementing inclusive policies, fostering diverse leadership, and cultivating a culture of respect and inclusion at workplaces, businesses can head the transformation towards organisational equity.
Inclusive workspaces have been linked to improved economic outcomes. According to Bloomberg, closing the employment gap between men and women could expand India's GDP by close to a third by 2050. The country has already moved up eight places in gender parity from 135 to 126 in the Global Gender Gap Report 2023, but a lot still needs to be done, making gender inclusivity a moral and economic imperative for Indian companies.
The Role Of Gender-Inclusive Policies and Hiring Practices
In India, there are several problems related to gender inequality in different social contexts. So much so that it has inequality injected deep into the traditional recruitment process. As per LinkedIn's Opportunity Index 2021 report, about 85% of Indian women missed out on promotions, raises, or opportunities based on gender. Indian women face significant gender-based bias among Asia-Pacific countries, necessitating the adoption of gender-inclusive strategies and hiring practices in the workplace.
Such policies and hiring practices create a level-playing field, eliminate biases, and foster a diverse workforce. They ensure fair evaluation, promote equal opportunities, and dismantle barriers, promoting a culture of equality and respect.
Inclusive Hiring Practices
Inclusive hiring practices are crucial for fair employment in Indian organisations, as the female labour force participation rate is low (21% in urban areas and 36% in rural areas), hindering economic growth. Here are some best practices that organisations can follow to foster diversity:
Blind Hiring Process: Methods such as blind hiring anonymise the candidate's details during the initial assessment, offering a fair evaluation based on skills and qualifications.
Broaden Recruitment Channels: Exploring avenues beyond mainstream job platforms can significantly expand the talent pool. To diversify the recruitment channels such as job boards & websites, networking events, social media platforms, and company career pages, hiring managers can engage with diverse networks and industry-specific groups customised for underrepresented demographics.
Diversity Training: Provide hiring managers and interviewers with diversity training. This will equip them to counter unconscious bias and evaluate candidates based on relevant factors.
Engage Leadership and Establish KPIs: Organise workshops for leaders, showcasing the ROI of inclusivity at the workplace. Establish KPIs tied to diversity metrics, conduct surveys for feedback, and study retention rates to meet diversity goals.
Here are some strategies that can be followed for an inclusive workplace:
Gender-Inclusive Language: Use and promote gender-inclusive terms and pronouns in job descriptions and internal communications so that no one feels excluded based on gender identity. Refrain from using terms and phrases that reinforce stereotypes.
Implementation of Policies: As per the Global Workplace Culture Report 2022, 45% of employees in India are apprehensive about going to work due to poor work culture. Adapting policies that support work-life balance, irrespective of gender, contributes to an equitable workforce where employees feel respected, valued, and supported.
Benefits of Advancing Workplace Equality
Improve Employee Retention: Inclusive culture and recognition at workplaces will boost employee morale, leading to higher employee retention rates for organisations. PwC's Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 revealed that 43% of employees find their job fulfilling, because of which they could be creative and would like to keep a hold of it.
Attract Qualified Applicants: Diversity will improve your current business. As per a report published by Glassdoor, 67% of workers consider diversity when seeking employment. Hiring more diverse individuals is crucial in attracting more interested, qualified applicants.
Increased Productivity and Innovation: When employees feel respected and included, they tend to go above and beyond for the company. The same study by Glassdoor shows when organisations adopt D&I initiatives, approximately 83% of millennials are seen as more engaged at work.
Increased Profitability: Research by McKinsey demonstrates that companies fostering more diversity have a 21% higher chance of achieving above-average profitability.
Successful Implementation of Inclusive Hiring techniques
The Global DEI Alliance aspires to promote enduring change in workplaces by facilitating collaboration and knowledge-sharing among member organisations, promoting equal opportunities and representation for all persons, regardless of their background or identity.
Achieving workplace equality entails adopting a holistic approach which comprises inclusive hiring practices, gender-neutral policies, and a culture that values and promotes diversity. As India evolves, leaders at organisations must commit to fostering inclusivity at every step, ensuring that their workplaces welcome, empower, respect, and value everyone.