How to deal with millennials, fight bullying, and create an inclusive workforce
Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace helps in increasing growth and productivity in the workplace.
It’s in the larger interest of every company to promote diversity and inclusion to increase creativity and innovation, create an atmosphere of trust, and drive economic growth.
Companies face numerous challenges when it comes to diversity and inclusion. These can include roadblocks in implementing the POSH Act, bullying, and others.
Archana Sasan, Vice President, Indian Legal and Ethics at Dell Technologies, talks about some of these issues and outlines how we can create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.
Archana joined Dell in October 2011 as the Lead Counsel for India Legal Team. Prior to joining Dell, she was Senior Vice President, Legal and Compliance, for Bharti Airtel Limited, a global telecommunications company, where she had geographic responsibility for India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and was responsible for overseeing legal, tax litigation and statutory compliance issues for its various business units.
In her current role as Vice President, India Legal and Ethics, Dell Technologies, she leads a team of five attorneys and an ethics consultant. Archana is based in Dell’s Gurugram office, with her team spread across Bangalore and the city.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
HerStory: How does one deal with millennials at the workplace?
Archana Sasan: An organisation’s main goal should be to ensure that it is a compelling destination, where all team members feel valued, engaged, and inspired to do their best work. The people strategy should be designed to attract the best of talents.
Millennials are gradually becoming a part of the workforce. This new connected world offers a plethora of opportunities for them like gig economy, artificial intelligence, digital technology, and ecommerce, which is attracting them. However, with our diverse and inclusive workplace environment, it is important to create a workplace that is suitable for the new generation.
While there might be reasons for the new generation to take the decision to shift from one job to another, it is equally likely for millennials, as anyone else, to be loyal to their workplace.
What millennials look for in a day-to-day job is a sense of purpose and opportunities to learn and grow. Apart from this, creating a strong work culture, providing leadership and guidance, and encouraging collaboration keeps them constantly engaged.
Millennials are tech-savvy. Taking advantage of their tech-savviness and out-of-the-box-ideas can help the organisation stay one step ahead in this evolving digital world. Organisations should constantly strive to provide its members with the best possible facilities within and outside the workplace.
HS: How is the POSH Act misused at the workplace? How can women be encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment, without fear?
AS: It should be mandatory for organisations to offer a welcoming environment for all and a leading voice for the respectful treatment of everyone in the workplace. All team members should be able to do their jobs in a safe and respectful environment without fear of harassment.
Harassment should be prohibited, not tolerated. All team members, including women, should be encouraged to report incidents without any fear of retaliation or harassment.
Every organisation should have a robust Policy on Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women, in compliance with the requirements of law. Having such a policy in place provides for a mechanism for the redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected or incidental thereto.
This will help the organisation maintain a healthy working environment that is safe, free of harassment, and allows team members to work with dignity.
HS: How can workplace bullying be nipped in the bud?
AS: Workplace bullying is not a one-off incident. It is sustained, making it more task for the HR department to intervene. Having said that, these are some of the few preventive measures that an organisation can take to prevent workplace bullying.
· Create avenues for team members to lodge complaints, including anonymously if they so choose through ethics hotline.
· All complaints should be investigated fairly and without prejudice to the complainants.
· If investigations reveal any wrongdoing, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken, including dismissal.
While some maybe fairly obvious, it is important to make sure they are implemented.
HS: What can be done to make a workplace truly diverse and inclusive?
AS: In this multidimensional society, maximising the value of an inclusive and diverse workforce is becoming a business imperative. While organisations these days are focusing on hiring for diversity, fostering an inclusive workplace is equally important.
Research shows that organisations with diverse leadership perform better financially, are more creative, and are better at fostering strong business relationships. Inclusion is a pre-requisite for a diverse workforce to function effectively.
While many companies are implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives nowadays, they need to make sure that this is visible across the organisation at all levels.
(Edited by Javed Gailhot)