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Fostering Success Through a Diverse & Inclusive Workforce

Thara Raj

Operations Development Manager, Tesco Wholesale

The 10th edition of NASSCOM DNI Summit 2017 themed “Crystal Ball Gazing: D&I in 2020 and beyond in a connected world” recently concluded in Bengaluru. The two-day summit explored a convergence of conversations bringing in thought leaders, organisations and disruptors to redefine approaches towards social connectedness to increase productivity at work and being more inclusive.

I rarely feel overwhelmed after attending any seminar or conference. But the thought-provoking sessions at the summit were compelling enough to make me introspect on the proceedings. Even I was not aware of the esteemed organisation’s contribution over a decade now!

Here are a few key learnings and recommendations from the sessions:

Organisations should attempt to increase awareness among their colleagues on how ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’ is the MANTRA for success across all sectors in the country. 

The ladder of inference was a simple, yet influential concept. It is easy to draw false conclusions if you view subjects superficially.

While it’s quite natural to feel charged up after attending influential sessions like these and wanting to do everything under the sun. I loved one of the statements from Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and Managing Director, Nestle India Limited, i.e. “pace out the incorporation of diversity agenda”. I believe the ‘Unconscious Bias’ and ‘Inclusion Week’ initiatives that were taken up at Tesco were a great start.

The phrase “Leaking Talent Pipeline” was an eye opener. Women colleagues are getting affected by it sooner than later. Organisations should focus on how they can help their women colleagues stay informed while at work or during their career breaks, such as introducing concepts like ‘skilling during career breaks’. Organisations should also welcome all women employees who have had a career break to join.

I have consciously kept the phrase “Challenge the Status Quo” in my mind while I go about my work. But after listening to the conversations, the statement “Disrupt Yourself” seems more powerful.

The most insightful of all the panel discussions was the one led by Javed Abidi, Director of NCPEDP (National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People) and Amardeep Devadason, Senior VP of RR Donnelley. At Tesco, we have made modest progress in terms of including the physically challenged talent pool. However, there’s room for more. I heard from a panelist that the statement “calling them special”  sounds non inclusive and the need for us to change our way of thinking from “What if” to “So what” were like the master strokes from these discussions.

A big eye opener for me was the insensitivity towards the LGBT community and how our ignorance or sometimes negligence can be so mentally taxing for them. We need more awareness so that we treat the community with equality and respect both in our professional and personal environments.

Overall, I feel nothing is impossible. If we are determined to accomplish what we set out to do, nothing can stop us from achieving it.