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Lessons on inclusion from across the globe

Wednesday December 1, 2021, By Lalita Tata

“We started with a focus on working mothers when the brand was launched as a magazine in 1979. Since then, we have grown exponentially in this scope. We were pioneers in this space, focusing on a narrow but important topic,” said Subha Barry, President, Seramount, formerly known as Working Mother Media.

She discussed key insights from the ‘Best practices on inclusion from around the globe, the next practices and trends in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ at the ‘Best Practices of the 100 Best Conference (BoB)’ presented by Avtar and Working Mother.

Subha pointed out that Seramount, the name inspired by Mount Saramati, one of the highest peaks in Myanmar, represents upward progress, and that’s what they stand for. Today, the brand mirrors the growth and evolution that have gone far beyond its original focus on championing working mothers and women’s advancement to creating inclusive workplaces for all.

Seramount’s annual Inclusion Index helps organizations understand trends and graphs in demographic representations. It creates a roadmap to drive internal change and identifies DEI solutions to close those gaps. The organizations provide data, measuring the performances in three areas:

  • Best practices in recruitment, retention, and advancement of people from historically underrepresented groups
  • Inclusive corporate culture, including leadership accountability
  • Demographic diversity for women and racial/ethnic minorities

2021 Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI) identifies and develops talent from the underrepresented groups as the key priorities for these organizations (especially when there is a global talent shortage), followed by inclusive cultures and pay equity.

The companies in MICI together employ 4333 people with disabilities

The champions of inclusion together employ 2748 people

The exemplars employ 1585 people

While discussing the comparison with the companies in India, Subha said, “Since there are some fundamental differences in the dimensions of diversity, we focused on the areas similar to India while carrying out the survey.”

Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement: When it comes to the three aspects, DEI accountability is on the rise incredibly in India, and that is what has been measured through MICI:

  • 100% (up from 97% in 2020) of companies on the index train their hiring managers to be culturally sensitive and competent
  • 90% of companies on the index require their panels to be diverse
  • In 95% (up from 89% in 2020) of companies on the index, managers are held accountable for DEI during the performance review process
  • 95% of companies on the index have a structured DEI council to drive their DEI agenda. Having a structured body such as a DEI council enables greater traction and focus around DEI

As per Seramount’s Inclusion Index:

  • 81% of companies on the index require diverse interview slates, compared to 45% of slates in the 2020 index
  • 66% require a diverse panel of interviewers
  • 92% provide training for recruiters in cultural competency in interviewing
  • 75% of index companies consider gender, race, and ethnicity in succession planning, compared with 59% in 2020

Inclusive Corporate Culture:

  • 95% of the companies on the index have a structured DEI council to drive their DEI agenda
  • 68% of companies on MICI conduct annual compensation audits related to gender or other under-represented groups
  • 50% champions and 73% exemplars conduct annual compensation audits related to gender or other under-represented groups
  • All companies on MICI have a formal policy to address grievances associated with gender or diversity and inclusion issues

As per Seramount’s Inclusion Index:

  • 95% of companies conduct pay audits of those, 84% audits (of both gender and race/ethnicity)
  • 88% set representation percentage goals
  • 94% hold managers accountable for DEI during performance reviews

She said, “I always say, if you want to do one single thing right, build accountability for creating an inclusive culture and that in turn drives career opportunities for the underrepresented groups at every level in the organization. For me, accountability equals results, and transparency in your efforts also matters for achieving the results.”

She also presented some facts about Gen Z and the importance of DEI.

By 2025, Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce. In the US, there will be 60 million job seekers.

According to Delloite’s millennial and Gen Z survey 2021 for India:

  • 91% of millennials and 84% of Gen Zs feel that the pandemic has inspired them to take positive action to improve their lives and others’
  • 89% of millennials and 82% of Gen Zs have attempted to have a positive impact on their communities
  • 9 out of 10 millennials and 87% of Gen Zs feel optimistic that the changes seen during the pandemic can help reverse environmental damage

While emphasizing the importance of DEI, she said, “The Gen Z wants to work for an organization which has same values, same political views, same environmental concerns, as they do. So, you must continue to pay attention; if you don’t, you could lose a whole generation of talent. And Gen Z makes up 27% of India’s total population at this moment, and it will only grow.”

Author Profile

Lalita Tata
Lalita Tata
With a diverse experience of around 10 years in the Power Sector and Journalism, Lalita is a Manager - Research & Solutions at Avtar.
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