The Analogy Actually Makes Sense And Is Supported By Researches
Since the advent of Industrialisation in Western Europe in the 18th Century, businesses have put immense resources and research into optimizing their productivity across all factors of their production i.e., land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship.
However, the labor of these four factors until the late 20th century received the shortest stick of them all.
It is only with the rising wages and a shortage of skills that enterprises have started putting most of their energy into the development of the yield on human resources.
Recently, a lot of companies around the world have been embracing diversity in hiring, and Indian brands, as well, do not seem to conflict with history.
In this article, we will talk about how diversity in the workforce helps in increasing labor productivity and the various trends taking shape in India in this context.
Declining Women Workforce
As per the Labour Statistics provided by the National Sample Survey Organisation(NSSO) for the year 2011-12, 61 percent of the rural females and 66 percent of urban females were of employable age of 15-59 years.
However, only 25 percent of the rural females and 16 percent of urban females participated in the labor force of India. The gap in the availability and participation of the female workforce in India is saddening. But what is more alarming is that since the liberalization of the Indian Economy, this figure has been gradually declining for the self-employed and casual workers.
Various factors such as a gap in education & skills, socio-cultural practices & fertility, and a decline in the share of Agricultural output have led to this situation under a free-market form of economy.
Government initiatives to boost female education & skills and social inclusion of liberal attitude in families are required to turn this trend.
A lot of companies in India realize this vast pool of untapped labor market and have been investing in increasing female participation. Longer maternity leaves, availability of creches in the office premises, and having stricter sexual harassment laws are some of the positive steps taken in this direction.
Buffer in factors such as anti-discrimination measures, the growth in migration (intrastate & interstate as well) in recent decades, and investments in technical education in small cities and villages have led to increasing diversity within the labor force in Indian companies, especially in big cities.
Although diversity could lead to the poor performance of teams due to poor communication, cultural barriers and mistrust and formation of tribes within the workforce.
However, with proper organizational policies of planning & inclusion, companies can extract benefits from a diverse workforce. It is due to the availability of varying ideas and information about different markets & demographics, eventually leading to better decisions and more creativity.
To put in simple words, people with different backgrounds quintessentially, look at life and its problems as well as solutions in a varied manner. Having people from similar financial, social, educational, and cultural backgrounds can lead to stagnation in ideas and solutions.
Human Resources(HR) and Diversity
As more companies are starting to sell products and services to diverse customers, including pan-India and even abroad, it is becoming imperative for them to highlight diversity within their organization.
This has led to the implementation of HR policies such as having diversity sensitive selection criteria, complying with anti-discrimination policies for selection, training of employees in regards to various cultural, socio-economic, racial, and religious differences among employees.
Some firms also incentivize their managers based upon the performance in diversity management. Also, policies such as the inclusion of prayer rooms in offices for Muslims help in accommodating people of different backgrounds.
Embracing The LGBTQ Community
The 2016 report by World Bank cited a loss of $32 billion to the Indian economy due to homophobia and transphobia.
Even before the landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India of scrapping the ban on Article 377, few companies in India had already started embracing the LGBTQ community within their workplaces.
As India remains a conservative society, it is a challenge for companies to attract this group. Bullying and harassment can lead to depression and anxiety in LGBTQ employees.
Firms like Godrej Group, Accenture, and IBM are already offering medical insurances to the same-sex partners of their LGBTQ employees. Citi-Group India also extended its health insurance coverage and relocation expenses to all LGBT partners of their employees.
Sensitization of employees to LGBTQ issues and offering partner benefits to LGBTQ Employees are essential for companies in India in accessing this pool of workforce.
Such policies can help in creating an open and accepting environment for these employees and boost their morale and optimism.
Linguistic Diversity And Barriers
Language acts as the form of mediator between people enabling the exchange of ideas and thoughts. Diversity in firms can lead to poor communication between employees and hamper teamwork.
Many companies in India are multilingual, mostly because India is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. English remains the pseudo-official language of corporate India. However, most people still prefer to use their mother tongues in most non-official situations.
Many scholars point out that language diversity can often lead to the formation of groups within firms and create personal barriers between employees hindering productivity.
Company policies to encourage communication between various sets or people by means of group activities can help in avoiding the formation of such groups.
Alternative Work Patterns And Productivity
Firms in India are increasingly adopting alternative working patterns, including work from home, flexible work timings, job sharing, et cetera. Internet and other modern technologies have made a large number of applicants available to companies that historically was hard to reach out to.
These practices especially enable working mothers and people living in distant locations to maintain their work-life balance without spending too many financial resources in relocating or the stress of spending too many hours traveling to work.
They also help organizations hire people solely based on skills and emphasize less on other factors such as geography, availability, family responsibilities, and others.
It also increases the productivity of the employees due to higher levels of employee satisfaction. Additionally, it also helps in portraying the modern image for the organization, both internally within the employees and externally with the public and clients.
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