In an otherwise cold Davos, topics like ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ are hot topics of discussions amongst global business leaders. The call is loud and clear – ‘collective leadership’ is the way forward to create a workforce of the future which is diverse and capable of responding to the needs of a new, inclusive world. Most importantly, it is in the interest of businesses that want to grow and sustain in the times to come.
To my mind, diversity is all about respecting individuals and their differences, inclusion is when each individual accounts for a mainstream voice. The business case for diversity and inclusion has made increment inroads into the priority list of global leaders and organisations. The awareness is visible, but the real question is – how can leaders be the change agent and accelerate the diversity and inclusion movement?
The world is fast morphing into a seamless digital ecosystem and as the physical boundaries blur and new needs emerge — whether its new employment opportunities, skills, need for climate action — it will be crucial for businesses to deliver innovative solutions that successfully cater to demands of the future. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that can be applied in today’s competitive business environment. The future needs imagination and each individual has a role to play.
The Role of Technology – for a superior connected experience
As the world leapfrogs towards a digital ecosystem, technology will prove to be a great leveler, binding all stakeholders together – irrespective of their age, race, social status or gender under the common thread of innovations and experiments that leads to a superior connected experience. The mass appeal of technology has the potential to lead us to the path of creating a shared future in a fragmented world.
Business case for ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ to shape the workforce for the future
According to a recently published survey by Harvard Business School, companies with a diverse workforce make up to 69 percent more in net income and revenue. Representing varied segments of the society such as – women, specially-abled, minority, ethnic and LGBTQ communities, diverse teams bring to the table different skills, experiences and perspectives that help in solving complex business issues. It is this diversity of ‘thought’ and ‘people’ that can prove to be a cutting edge for new-age businesses to evaluate from different perspectives and angles the forthcoming opportunities and its corresponding challenges. Yet, they are not an active part of conversations around achieving future business success.
Also, as technology continue to accelerate, I believe that millennials – that make up for a third of the workforce, will be vital for the survival of a business in terms of their ability to ideate, innovate and collaborate. It is therefore imperative for businesses to invest in diverse human capital and leverage their ideas and approach to make better quality decisions. It will not only help in fostering a culture of innovation, but will also help in gathering insights to deliver better customer experiences.
How can we drive the change – Unleashing the power of ‘I’
In the digital world, the letter ‘I’ stands for innovation that is immersive, intuitive and inclusive. The commitment to foster a diverse and inclusive culture is in fact akin to the concept of Individual’s Social Responsibility (ISR) – where the “I’ is inclusive and while celebrating the individual.