DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION LANDSCAPE IN PAKISTAN

By AURANGZEB SOHARWARDI

The universe if replete with multicolored, multi featured diverse creatures and species. Diversity represents the magnanimity and the beauty of the nature. The same diversity has its reflections in the contemporary business landscape .In today’s political, economic, and global business environment, diversity has become increasingly important. The number of executives who cited inclusion as a top priority has risen 32 percent from the Human Capital Trends 2014 survey, and in the last three years, the percentage of companies that rate themselves excellent at gender diversity went up by 72 percent. Based on this year’s survey, 48 percent of companies consider themselves adequate at focusing on global cultural diversity, and 69 percent of companies consider themselves adequate or excellent at supporting a variety of family models in the workforce.This year, the issue is broader than the standard business case and requires a more comprehensive view: Diversity and inclusion now impacts brand, corporate purpose, and performance. Not only is the world becoming increasingly aware of the issue (witness the scrutiny of gender and racial diversity in the technology industry) but employees are also expressing stronger views on diversity and inclusion. Millennials, for example, see inclusion as a mandatory part of corporate culture, defining how the company listens to them at work. Shareholders, customers, and suppliers are all taking a closer look at this issue.DIVERSITY and inclusion has become a CEO-level issue around the world. The digital organization of today, which operates as a network of teams, thrives on empowerment, open dialogue, and inclusive working styles. Leading organizations now see diversity and inclusion as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle to enhance employee engagement, improve brand, and drive performance. The era of diversity as a “check the box” initiative owned by HR is over now and the HR has to be more dynamic and pragmatic to tackle the issue of inclusion,particularly. CEOs must take ownership and drive accountability among leaders at all levels to close the gap between what is said and actual impact.In a journal article entitled “The multicultural organization” by Taylor Cox, Jr., Cox talks about three organization types that focus on the development of cultural diversity. The three types are: the monolithic organization, the plural organization, and the multicultural organization. In the monolithic organization, the amount of structural integration (the presence of persons from different cultural groups in a single organization) is minimal. This type of organization may have minority members within the workforce, but not in positions of leadership and power.The plural organization has a more heterogeneous membership than the monolithic organization and takes steps to be more inclusive of persons from cultural backgrounds that differ from the dominant group. This type of organization seeks to empower those from a marginalized standpoint to encourage opportunities for promotion and positions of leadership. The workplace diversity can be categorized into many types for which global center for diversity and inclusion Canada has made a complete chart out of which the gender diversity is getting much attention of the business leaders and researchers.The study from Joseph and Selvaraj (2015), found out the organization with different genders can provide a better performance than the single-gender workplace environment.Gender diversity turns into a discussion topic to study.The modern day organization not only contains many different cultural groups or different genders, but it values this diversity. It encourages healthy conflict as a source of avoiding groupthink. There is an emerging trend about understanding and implementing diversity & inclusion programs in organisations to create an integrated workforce based on a congenial work environment. In Pakistani organisations ,as far as diversity is concerned , Our organisations are facing all sorts of diversity challenges which has 25 established types yet the efforts towards inclusion are a little bleak . Organisations have work force on the basis of casts , sects, geography , education,demographics and so many more.But I personally feel that there is a very positive professional and social change in the society & organizations , as the number of women employees in the workforce is astoundingly increasing .My experience of consultancy and training with various high profile organizations and SMEs with regards to Diversity management & Inclusion has been diverse and pragmatic. I designed and conducted various programs on building an inclusive culture for all the diversity portfolios , particularly the gender based diversity. During my research and interviews of various professionals , I found that although an increasing number of women employees are being inducted in different departments of the organizations at all hierarchical levels , yet there is not much effort being invested as far as their inclusion in culture , strategic planning and decision making is concerned.I also conduct various counseling sessions for particularly women employees Male and female employees both have to be trained and groomed to gel together and perform as a team. Main training programs are communication and assertiveness , Non verbal language , personal effectiveness , cultural dimensions of performance , creative problem solving & decision making .The impact of those trainings was enormous in terms of better culture development , crises management ,conflict management and enhancing performance. I always propagate that the organizations must put in more pragmatic efforts to manage diversity and ensure efficacious inclusion which not only facilitates performance, profitability and growth.  Effectively managing diversity in the workplace starts by focusing on these three things: 1.Connect:Everyone is driven differently. Connect with your employees and find out what motivates them. People like to be heard and understood. Making the effort to inquire about them personally and see what they are passionate about may uncover their motivating lever. When you understand what works, you can engage each team member by providing them the information they need, the way they need to receive it. 2.Creative Collaboration :Set your team up for success by clearly identifying company and department goals.Communicate what is expected of them to deliver on those goals–and then let them creatively collaborate around how to achieve them. Take advantage of the different viewpoints you have on your team, creating opportunities for people to express ideas and provide feedback. Finally, set checkpoints along the way to ensure alignment around goals. The intention of checkpoints is not to micromanage but to offer continuous support, keep the team on point, and clear obstacles to success.3. Constant Communication Give frequent coaching and feedback on how they are doing. The benefit of coaching is building your bench strength, aligning around the same goals, and providing insights to the employee where they could have an even greater impact.Managing diversity and inclusion in this increasingly diverse and multi-generational workforce requires that you intentionally Connect, Creatively Collaborate, and have constant communication with each person in the manner that works for them. When you do, you create a more engaged, motivated, focused workforce ready to deliver impactful results.The organizations must be more serious to use tools and techniques in the light of  GDIB standards to further improve their diversity management and Inclusion strategies.A special D&I Expert may also be appointed in the organizations to manage this aspect.Now the parameters of global D&I has been set,bench marks have been made so there is a need to pragmatically ope rationalize these standards. Corporate training sessions with effective training topics and role playing exercises with awareness seminars are very important to be organized to achieve success in the field of D&I. Team of specialized trainers and consultants have to be developed to facilitate the organizations in Pakistan.

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