Organizations are witnessing an invigorated enthusiasm with the entry of Gen Z into the workspace. They are progressively moving towards a more diverse cultural change that goes parallelly with the growth opportunity.
Companies today are very keen on attracting and retaining the Gen Z talent pool, for which they are intrinsically focusing on gender diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI).
Gen Z, born and brought up in the digital age of information, has a well-developed sense of social issues and appreciates working in organizations that have value for their employees and nurture a diverse and inclusive work culture.
Companies promoting DEI are preferred by Gen Z and have the ability to outperform competitors by four times owing to the highly inclusive culture. In this, gender diversity is a very important aspect that encourages equal representation of different genders in the workplace. It comes with a lot of positive effects on the company and can scale its productivity and growth.
Gender diversity sets the stage for conducting good business in the following ways:
A wider and diverse talent pool: It helps in acquiring a wider talent pool which could have been lost if companies chose to exercise gender monopoly. The diverse talent pool helps in bringing together the different but unique abilities of employees for navigating a multiplicity of perspectives. All the factors together help in sparking creative and innovative ideation, contributing to the organization spotting and seizing new opportunities.
Enhances employee retention: The entire DEI focus on gender diversity gives a conducive environment for equal growth of all. It helps women employees explore their expertise and create a niche in their prowess. Bringing out the best of their strengths and at the same time acknowledging their difference fosters an inclusive workspace that vouches for employee recognition while disseminating a sense of belonging amongst the staff.
This instills trust and loyalty in the employees, which invariably reduces the employee churn rate. Consequently, a lot of time and money are saved by avoiding the unnecessary resources lost to the recruitment processes.
Builds company’s reputation: The world today is highly aware. People are not only intrigued by the profit, but also pay close attention to the diversity and work culture. Having an inclusive work culture with promising gender representation portrays a good reputation of the company in public as well as amongst its various stakeholders. It highlights the strong value proposition of the company that aids in forging numerous profitable collaborations. People also seek to work with the organization enthusiastically.
Contributes to profitability: All the factors together guide the company towards the path of profitability. By increasing the representation of women in the workforce, a lot of productivity is added by tapping the other half of the population as a resource base.
Today, there are companies that are breaking the barrier of gender stereo-typing. Employers are not restricting job roles on account of gender. The common notion that certain profiles are better handled by male or female employees is somewhere disintegrating. For instance, there was a time when it was perceived that women were incapable of handling automobile clients or that males were unsuitable for the fashion industry.
Though there is still much to be achieved, industries have come a long way to where employers are not hesitating to offer job roles previously tagged as unsuitable for a particular gender. Even employees are not shying away from the responsibilities and delivering phenomenal work in their respective job roles.
Moving forward, just focusing on gender diversity is not enough. It must be well supported with equity and inclusion policies to realize the proper essence of the structure. Just recruiting women employees for their representation will not serve the purpose. Companies will have to make sure that they grow and evolve in the journey. Employers need to give them a progressive space where they are not just spectators, but active participants in the discussion. Opinion and ideas coming from female employees need to be heard and well acknowledged.
In the process, companies also need to gracefully embrace some fundamental requirements of women employees. Accommodating things like maternity breaks in the policy brings the company’s sensitivity towards their female employees to the forefront.
Today, there are organizations that offer paid maternity leave and even provide added work from home to new mothers. Organizations must provide a considerate environment for new mothers to work, and focus on how to support the energetic come-back of new mothers to the office. Inclusive policies should not only be restricted to women, but framed keeping in mind their male counterparts too.
(Shradha Agarwal is Co-Founder & CEO, Grapes Digital)