With every evolving culture, diversity and inclusion have contributed to the likelihood of financial outperformance. There are some who have made impressive gains with diversity and inclusion where companies have managed to make future business strategies to make a long-lasting inclusive culture and promote inclusive behaviour.
To give an in-depth overview of the way in which IT firms have handled the numerous dynamics of handling diverse talent, we caught up with Krishna Muniramaiah, Altimetrik Head of HR for APAC region, Altimetrik, a pure play data and digital engineering services company. He expresses his views on the evolving business landscape and the modes in which gender diversity has formed a more strategic role.
What are some key trends shaping gender diversity in the business landscape today?
The foremost aspect to be noted here is that it is not only about diversity but building inclusion and equity. Our culture is focused on creating an environment where everyone has the equal opportunity to perform, learn and grow in their career. The success of our inclusion philosophy is reflected in employee satisfaction surveys and industry acknowledgments, like being consistently ranked by GPTW for years among their Top 100 companies and in the Top 100 Best Workplaces for Women. We have also been certified the same by the Economic Times Best Workplaces for Women in 2020 and 2022.
The COVID pandemic has accentuated the need to bring extra attention to maintaining diversity in the workforce. Women, especially, are under pressure. Working from home, they have to manage workplace needs as well as their duties to the family. Women are requesting a career break to address personal priorities resulting in a loss of talent. This presents a new challenge to diversity policies and practices. We have ramped up our women-centric initiatives and hiring across all levels to address this issue.
What according to you is the business case for gender diversity?
Inclusion and diversity have become a source of competitive advantage. Research shows that diverse teams are more innovative and outperform homogenous ones across profitability, value creation, decision-making, and employee engagement. Gartner says, “Through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets.” Diversity is widely recognized as a key enabler of organizational growth. Further, building trust—between employees, customers, and partners—has become highly important in a hybrid working model. When diverse groups work as a team, they learn to use and trust the capabilities and talents of others. Trust leads to enhanced collaboration and higher productivity. Trust has become an essential component of a hybrid working model, and we believe it also has a key role in controlling attrition.
How are gender and diversity imperatives evolving?
We have long embraced diversity, and it is a part of our DNA. One reflection of this is the way our company has grown in India. We have people hailing from 29 states with their diverse cultures and backgrounds working together in harmony. We continue to form trusted teams and encourage conversations that improve and refine the ground rules and everyday norms around diversity. We have now started measuring the results of our policies.
The need and benefit of diversity has become evident globally. This is reflected on the ground in a recent LinkedIn study that showed the number of people globally with the ‘Head of Diversity’ title more than doubled between 2015 and 2020; plus, there was a 71% increase worldwide in all D&I roles over the same period. In countries like Canada and the US, ‘Diversity and Inclusion Manager’ is already among the top three fastest-growing jobs. It is up to industry leaders to make diversity part of their organizational DNA.
Could you highlight some of the D&I initiatives undertaken by your organization?
Our most significant diversity initiatives enable employee-led groups to nurture an inclusive culture that values and leverages diversity, equity, and inclusion to achieve and sustain superior business results. We do this by providing employees with appropriate tools and resources. Two of these initiatives include Women’s Initiative for Networking, Growth & Support (WINGS), a program at Altimetrik that creates a powerful network of women employees to share experiential learning, and Rebound, a unique back-to-work program aimed to help experienced women technologists resume their tech journey after they have taken a career break. These initiatives have improved our gender ratio from 22% to 27%. Our target is to go above 35%. Altimetrik handholds and supports participants by providing technical and interpersonal upskilling. In addition to this, our CSR arm – ImpACT – has been working with various diversity groups including the LGBTQ+ community on running impactful programs like using social media to make their voices heard.