Sunday, November 2, 2014

Summary of HR VLZ webinar- Creating an Inclusive Culture : The 4 levers

Today, I attended HR Virtual Learning Zone's webinar on -  "Creating an Inclusive Culture : The 4 levers."
As we say unity in diversity is required for the development of nation like India where diversity is a lot, the same theory applies to organisations in India as well as global. As an organisation, we need to manage diversity for the prosperity and growth of the organisation. As an organisation, we get people from diverse background- different linguistic background, different ethnic background, different strata of the society. Organisation is a society. Like every society has a norm to maintain equilibrium, an organisation too has its norms known as "culture". To maintain equilibrium and for better productivity, taking care of everybody in the organisation including the existing and new and establishing communication between them to maintain culture is diversity management and creating an inclusive culture. 

As an HR, with the globalisation of business, our roles have become more strategic and responsible. It is a grave mistake to assume that if you hire an individual from a specific type of organisation, they are fit for your culture. For example, few HR (and of course top management)  believe that they should hire people from their similar organisation type (hiring full time employee only; MNC required from MNC background only; from same industry only, ICSE learnt only, top colleges only; top management only and so on...) I think these are just excuse to blame "something" if "anything" fail in future. I do not think, then you are really a manager and particularly a good hiring manager. A good Human Resources Manager must have ability to pool best from all the available options and resources. If an HR restrict self from all these biases, he/ she will never be able to take the right talent. 

Fortunately, I got an email from Sukrit Ghosh from HR Virtual Learning Zone (VLZ) and attended a webinar on same yesterday. No doubt, it was one of the best learning event. It tells about how Citi manages its diversity, how it helps it and why it is important to manage.  If you look at following example, it tells about diversity management and it is enough to explain the same.

Ms. Kripa Krishnamoorthy (Sr. VP HR Projects & Internal Communications & Member of India Diversity Council, Citi India) was the speaker for this webinar. Kripa is the Head, HR Projects & Internal Communication. In her role, she is leading several projects alongside the India CHRO including in the space of Internal Communications, external building of Citi EVP, HR Capability building, HR Excellence, OD for Senior HR team India, Media interface, Senior Women in leadership. With a career spanning of over 13 years, she has worked across various functions in FMCG, Service and Banking sector. She is a post graduate in human resources from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. 

The topic: I have mentioned about the topic above. The focus area was Sensitization of Unconscious bias. Knowingly or unknowingly, we are biased towards many thing about people. Even most democratic organisation suffer from this. 

The 4 levers of creating inclusive culture on diversity management.

The 4 levers/ factors of creating inclusive culture: Accountability, approach, awareness and access are the 4 levers. you can see them in above picture. Everybody including the top management in the organisation should be accountable. In Citi, committee meets once a week, both new comers and existing employees are being sensitized about inclusiveness. 

How are we biased?
We are biased to people based on the basis of their look and appearance. All the participants were shown a picture of various people without detail about them and being asked to identify who of them are CEO. only 37% people replied as all of them and rest gave different answers. How can we be biased when we do not know about them? following image define the bias?

Following was the poll asked and I am sure people will show their biased behaviour. (When I replied "all", my reason was, everybody needs to act like as a CEO and I am sure, when people have replied, most of them decided on the basis of the look and appearance. 

so, here is the final image. 

So, the result is, we do not need to be biased. All of them are CEO,

How do we make unconscious decisions?
One of the study by Harvard Business School revealed that, the attractive people earn 3-4% more salary than those looking below average attractive. and of course, we make hiring like this and this bias exists. This study further revealed that 58% of the CEOs of the fortune 500 companies are more than 6" tall but only 14.5% of US men are more than 6" tall. I wonder, does this mean those companies lost potentially well employees in the top positions, possibly yes. We can see such kind of behaviour (biased) every where. Once, I attended MTHR event with one of my friend who is a doctor, but "he does not look like as a doctor", as one person commented. Similarly, he was not fluent in English too, so the person also commented on this and perhaps he formed his opinion about my this friend whether he is a good doctor. Once, one of my boss from top management commented, "This is a highly anglicised organisation and you really need to buckle up as people create perception about you". I did not take the feedback negatively but, this remains a widely accepted fact that your job, promotion and increment also depends on biased behaviour of the people. Very true. The biased most of the time does not have any base. 

Here is the picture from the same webinar.

It is evident that the companies do not do it intentionally sometime but there is biased. Therefore, an organisation really need to manage diversity at the work place and above four pillars are key in managing diversity in the organisation. 

How to manage diversity in the organisation?
Well, this is not a difficult task. We know very well that none of the individual are same. A simple exercise is, form a group in your organisation and discuss with each other- how you are different from each other. 

If you ask me my own experience, well, several time I have such experience and the reason is, every time I met with different kind of people. Once, I moved from a very formal set up of organisation in healthcare to MNC in entertainment domain where, the structure was smart casual / casual and it took almost 2 months to formalise with them and still mixing with them despite of being in HR. 

Diversity wheel: Following diversity wheel explains how different factors impact an organisation. Diversity exists at individual level 

 Why biases exist?
Our brain receives lot of information and cannot process everything. It picks only things we feel important to us. It is based on perception, stereotype and our past experience. 

We cannot avoid biased and even if we say we are not biased, we are. 

So, when we are biased towards someone or something, we reflect following behaviour. True. If you see in India, Gujaratis, Marwadis, Bengalis, Tamilian and Telugus normally consider themselves in upper strata so the society. However, you see biased behaviour towards north east Indian, north Indian. Similarly, there is biased behaviour towards students studied from vernacular medium. You see, a manager with higher percentage or with a known college have biased behaviour towards those who are from not known college and lesser percentage. Once I had argument with one of head of the department. He wanted college name and percentage in resume for which I disagreed. I asked him to evaluate candidates on the basis of their individual quality for which he disagreed. In my one of the previous organisation, As an HR, I had lot of autonomy in framing hiring policy, there, the departmental had little rights to interfere in HR function. I never kept such biase and the same organisation has grown from 30 crore company before 2005 to 1000 crore by now so the employee strength. Whereas the another organisation about whom I have described is not growing at the same rate despite of having such biased behaviour. For me, such biases have no backing.

Does biase affect performance of team members?
Yes, of course. My personal experience also say the same. Please look into following picture.

so what is the relation between bias and diversity management?
A direct relationship. If you are biased, you cannot manage diversity. If you cannot manage the diversity, you cannot see your organisation growing. It is time to be aware and to act.

What you should do?
I have mentioned my points above. It is simply broaden yourself, be more positive, be neutral and take your decision on the basis of all the information. Also, the speaker has suggested following:

Summary: It was a very good learning experience and I enjoyed it. In fact, my question on whether a biased behaviour to hire candidates only from MNC background is correct or has any bases and whether Citi has such policy was answered well and upto satisfaction. Citi does not have such policy and if they limit themselves for it, they cannot hire more than 30% of the workforce they required. If you are interested, you should always look for such webinar. I share them on my blog time to time.

Please share your feedback on this article and also let me know if you have any query. 

November 02, 2014

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