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Decoding the importance of communication for multicultural inclusion

Wednesday December 1, 2021, By Manasa Sai Sekar

Today organizations are keen on multicultural inclusion.  However, in a geographically distributed workforce, how does this inclusion translate?  ‘DEI: A Global Kaleidoscope’, a breakout session at the recently-held Working Mother and Avtar’s ‘Best Practices of 100 Best Conference’, focused on how organizations are ensuring multicultural inclusion amid a dynamic workforce. The panel comprised Magesh Sambasivan, Head of Human Resources from Societe Generale Global Solution Centre in India, Anil Jaisingh, Senior Vice President from MIS Support Center from Moody’s Investors Service, and Sudeep Ralhan, VP – People from Walmart Global Tech India.  Bhavani Balasubramanian, Chief Strategist, Diversity Assessment, Avtar Group, facilitated the session.

Magesh said that Societe Generale conducts several cultural sensitization programs to encourage people to speak about their culture. While Sudeep pointed out that Walmart addressed cultural challenges relating to accents, names, jokes, etc., before they dived deeper, Anil spoke about the importance of communication. Discussing the impact of the different strands of diversity, he added that cultural diversity affects their work more because it changes communication. Training people to think from others’ perspectives, understanding the why, being vulnerable, and open communications help. Anil agreed and added that Moody’s initiated a challenge named ‘know your colleague’ to understand each other.

Talking about how some people didn’t participate, Anil shared experiences at Moody’s, adding that they addressed this problem by making information understandable, by creating an equitable way of accessing information.

Sudeep insisted that ‘we do not know what we do not know.’ it is essential to be authentic with the process or initiatives.

The panelists agreed that travel can break biases. Inviting people for continuous conversations and creating a safe space by inviting external experts to encourage employees to express their views is one way to start.

While cultural diversity already exists, ensuring a level playing field, and communicating why initiatives are necessary, become crucial.

Key Takeaways:

-Respect people’s choices on how they take their professional lives forward

-Whether people come to the office or not, they should have access to information

-People have started looking at work differently as work has moved to people

-The focus should be on changing behaviors, not targets

-People should be able to understand the why behind every initiative/ task at hand

Author Profile

Manasa Sai Sekar
Manasa Sai Sekar
A Senior Consultant from Consulting & Solutions team at Avtar, has worked in four different industries such as Retail, Telecommunication, Agriculture, and HealthCare.

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