Workplace diversity, though is still a young upstart in India, is one of the thorniest challenges for HR professionals. Last two decades have seen a lot of changes in Indian workplaces in terms of workforce generation, culture and gender. It is not like as used to be earlier that most of the people in the organization look same, spoke same and had same outlook in life. With organizations going global, workplace diversity is increasingly becoming a key HR issue.
It is expected that by 2020 the median age in India would be 29 and implications of India's rapid economic growth trajectory will be resulting in a huge number of young people entering as workforce in industrial world. It will bound to happen that organizations will become more diverse than they are as of today or have been in past. A diverse workforce is a hard truth of today's organization of which no one can afford to overlook. Diversity stimulates innovation, productivity and creates a world class culture. While it has its own benefits, challenges have its own share. A wrongly managed diverse workforce leads to people refraining from working in teams, socializing and interacting together.
The workplace diversity is multi generational, multi cultural and gender specific. HR people have to leverage the strengths of multi generation workforce in a way that leads to knowledge sharing, collaboration and value creation for both. Differences in values, attitude and overall approach towards life are to be handled with sensitivity being having both positive and negative impact. It is required to understand how interaction and cohesiveness between multiple generations can be created to convert differences in to agreements to create overall value. Organization philosophy has a big role to play to attract and retain multi generation workforce.
Cultural diversity is equally difficult to handle. Individuals carry deep rooted cultural ethics, values, behavior and attitude at workplace. The nature and character of these hybrid workplace values, attitudes and behaviors are to be aligned with organization’s values and norms. Our workforce normal values are respect towards seniors, tolerance, preference for personalized relationship and social preference. What required is to align these values with organization values. Present youth from small towns have higher aspirations in life which sometimes can create frustration and confrontations.
Gender diversity at workplace also poses challenges to HR. IT sector has been successful in managing gender diversity. Percentage of women employees is steadily increasing. It is very sensitive and HR has to devise policies and processes so that voices across cohorts. Flexibility to deal with diverse workforce is very essential which requires an open mind set at management and HR level.
So, the cover feature of Oct. issue is centered around workplace diversity,where Industry HR captains share their experience with issues and provide a road map for bringing meaningful workplace diversity.