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Harmonizing Generational Diversity and Inclusion in India Inc.

Friday December 31, 2021, By Sumona Chetia

When we talk about diversity in the workplace, gender and race take the spotlight. However, age is another crucial dimension of diversity.

Somnath B, VP HR Asia Pacific, Atkins Global, Abhishek Kapoor, – Inclusion and Diversity Leader, Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd, Santosh Bijur, VP & MD, Lumen India, and Sneha Arora, Vice President Human Capital, Myntra, participated in a panel discussion led by Amita Kasbekar, Principal Strategist, LGBTQA+ Practice, Avtar Group, on generational diversity and inclusion.

Titled ‘Generational remixing in India Inc.: Making soulful music’ the conversation took place at The Best Practices of the 100 Best Conference (BOB).

“Generational diversity can accelerate all diversity,” Santosh Bijur said in his opening remarks during the conversation. The key is to capitalize on the uniqueness each generation brings to make the workplace fun and productive. Abhishek Kapoor talked about two Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) namely RISE (for Millennials early on their career) and Prime (for experienced individuals part of leadership, transition, etc.) to transfer knowledge, skills, and experience.

Talking about how Myntra helps their employees understand, address, and appreciate generational diversity, Sneha cited the example of leave policies that are gender, age, and orientation agnostic. Flexible policies like these meet the needs of all employers across generations leading to the growth of a belonged workplace.

Employees across generations aspire to work in a welcoming environment where they feel valued and not stereotyped. It is important to develop a community among generations that encourage participation and collaboration.

Ageism is detrimental to an organization’s hiring and retention progress.

Sensitization workshop for leaders and decision-makers is the first step towards confronting this form of bias. Somnath B referred to Avtar’s Non-Conscious Bias Training https://avtarinc.com/what-we-do/enable-diversity/non-conscious-bias-training/ conducted two years ago at Atkins Global as a lightbulb moment that made leaders realize what they didn’t know, especially in the area of D&I.

While diving deeper into generational diversity, retirement was one of the aspects discussed during the session. Is retirement necessary in today’s world? Somnath believes that as long as employees demonstrate continued value to the organization, companies will want to keep the engagement going and find out ways to work around and have them stay for long. To support his comment, Shreya added that retirement is individual dependent. And with the changing dynamics of work, the mandatory part of retirement and retirement age is slowly fading away.

The key takeaways from the panel discussion:

1) With a shift in demography and technology, generational diversity has become salient in many organizations.

2) Leading with empathy should reflect in all people’s decisions.

3) Organizations should find the unifying factor that can bring a multi-generation workforce together.

4) If any organization is still considering DEI as only a check in the box, they are not gearing up for success.

5) A lot of progress has been made but we are only scratching the surface. It’s time to accelerate. It’s time to #IncludeFearlessly.

Author Profile

Sumona Chetia
Sumona Chetia
An Associate Consultant- Content Development & Marketing at Avtar, when not hoarding books, she's busy reading and reviewing books.
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