‘Virtual work environment has improved diversity, inclusion in organisations’

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on August 06, 2020 Published on August 06, 2020

While organisations are witnessing a substantial improvement in employee productivity due to remote working, human resources experts believe that the virtual environment has also been a great equaliser within the organisation in terms of diversity & inclusion (D&I).

“I think what's happening here is that boundaries are broken. The concept of open door policy has really become a reality,” said Lavanya Shrinagesh, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Genpact.

“Leadership has become more responsive, employees have become much more vocal and as a result I feel, especially in the area of D&I, a lot of people who were not noticed earlier are now coming up,” she added.

Shrinagesh was speaking at a panel discussion, ‘Managing the Distance Bias and Enhancing Digital Inclusion Habits’, which is part of ‘The Power of I’- a virtual conference organised by Chennai-based D&I solutions firm Avtar on Thursday.

Arun Kumar Krishnamurthy, Director, Head of HR India, Barclays in India, said organisations are witnessing a big shift happening in a really agile fashion, which would have been difficult to think of or execute earlier.

“If somebody had suggested to me that they would on-board an employee, who is not even physically present within the geographical limits of India, I would have discounted it 6-7 months back,” Krishnamurthy said.

“I would think the overall empathy quotient in the organisation has shifted quite considerably. I can already see that in the way we re-work policies from more rigid to more flexible.” he added.

Sudeep Ralhan, VP, People, Walmart Global Tech India cited his favourite quote, ‘During the good times companies talk about values, during bad times companies live them,’ and highlighted that most organisations are trying to bring those values to life in these difficult times.

He also highlighted that many associates and employees are facing personal challenges, including abuse, which one may not be aware of, but knew for a fact.

“At this time if you tend to disengage or do not include people, that's when your risk to disengagement and retention could also go much higher,” Ralhan added.

The five-hour conference saw a total of seven sessions addressed by HR personnel of leading Indian corporates and gender inclusion experts, from India and abroad.

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Published on August 06, 2020
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