By Pallavi Dhawan Gupte,
Director – People Team,
Dun & Bradstreet India.
16th May 2019

Diversity as a Culture

Diversity is the Buzz word, which every organisation is trying to adapt in today’s work environment. Employees, irrespective of their religion, gender, socio-economic background, ethnicity, race or age are being hired with a single vision; to contribute positively to the organization’s growth. However, a lot of organizations fail to retain such diverse talent. Regular benefits like free lunches, recognition programs, work from home policies, etc. are certainly valued by employees but the needs are much more. Many a times organizations’ fail to notice if their “diverse” employees are hiding behind an “identity cover” and if there are enough opportunity provided to air their opinion without the fear of getting branded.

In 2018, one of the tech giants of the world released data which showed how the company had an enormous attrition rate amongst minorities, ethnically and racially. Another one of the top four tech giants has only around four percent engineers who represent an ethnical/racial minority. This goes on to prove that even though companies are trying to be as diverse as possible, there is something wrong in the very fabric due to which a lot of such plans fail. Adding further, the World Economic Forum published a report which sheds light on the fact that we are 202 years away from bridging the global gender gap. India, in the same report, ranks 142 among 149 countries, on the economic participation and opportunity factor. Creating a sustainable model is difficult but that does not mean that all organisations have failed at creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. In fact, it is imperative to shed light on organisations that have been championing the cause of diversity and how it has impacted them positively.

So does diversity really help drive revenue growth for a business? One may think that having a diverse workforce and growth in revenue are mutually exclusive. However, that is not true. According to a McKinsey report, executive teams that rank in the top 25 percent for being ethnically and racially diverse, are likely to reap financial returns of nearly 33 percent. A similar study by Harvard Business Review states that in a diverse company, innovation revenues can increase by 1 percent by nurturing the teams, 2 percent with respect to industry origin, 2.5 per cent with respect to gender and 3 per cent with respect to managers with different career paths.

Creating a diverse workplace is just half of a bigger picture. The other half being inclusion. If a diverse pool of talent does not feel that the company is inclusive, it is only half a battle won. For nearly two decades now, Dun and Bradstreet India has championed the cause of Diversity and Inclusion. A culture where people feel empowered, aren't afraid to fail, bring their true selves to work, and take time to recover when needed.

Some key ideas that have helped Dun & Bradstreet in building and sustaining a forward-leaning diverse culture:

1.            Lead by example and consciously build a diverse culture

To create an atmosphere of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace, it’s essential for the leaders to become the face of these initiatives. This is simply leveraging their standing within the organization for the overall success. It is often seen that a company might have a diverse pool of talent at lower levels but it slowly fades out as one climbs the corporate ladder. At Dun and Bradstreet India, we have a gender balanced workforce. Over the years, we have managed to have nearly 33 percent female employees across all levels, even the leadership.

2.            Eliminate hierarchies

Working in a hierarchical structure is hard. There are employees with varied profiles that span across age, years of experience and sectors. In order for teams to innovate and deliver, it’s important that each member contributes and feels valued. At Dun and Bradstreet India, we practice a speak up culture and an open door policy which makes all our leaders approachable. Further, we foster a culture of transparency through continuous dialogue between individuals, their teams, and managers, through initiatives like box talks, one-on-one sessions, etc. The Managing Director of the organisation also holds regular breakfast meetings with employees in order to hear them out.

In addition to this, we have built a 'Sustainable High Performance' program that supports every employee in 4 key personal areas, an aspect often overlooked by a majority of organizations. These are movement, mindset, nutrition and recovery. 

3.            Actively engage staff

Keeping your staff engaged is a continuous effort. Simple initiatives such as regular Town Halls, fun team building activities, etc. go a long way. In fact, at Dun and Bradstreet India, we have these and more. We also empower our employees to bring corporate citizenship and social responsibility into everything we do. Every year we organise 'Do Good Week', a global CSR initiative, that encourages employees to take some time out and give back to the community. In a week-long celebration of humanity, D&B employees from across the globe participate in various activities. The zeal and enthusiasm with which the employees participate, shows how much they believe in the value of being “Inherently Generous”. From blood donation drives to spending quality time with underprivileged children, Do Good Week has several such activities where our employees wholeheartedly volunteer. D&B has also recently launched 'Saksham', a scholarship program to facilitate higher education for deserving, economically underprivileged women across the country. We even encouraged all our employees to nominate deserving women that they know of.

To conclude, these simple initiatives help in keeping our staff motivated; both personally, and professionally. Diversity and Inclusion should be at the core of everything that an organisation does. The more diverse a workforce is, the higher the chances of an its prosperity.

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