Published: 04th July 2019
How companies are ensuring their employees are gender, LGBT-sensitive and unbiased
Several corporate companies have come up with various strategies to overcome biases especially the ones that go unnoticed
Individuals belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community continue to face widespread discrimination at work. According to the Center for American Progress, studies suggest that 15 per cent to 43 per cent of them have experienced some form of discrimination or harassment at their workplace.
Has anything changed in India after Section 377 was struck down last year? Apparently not. Social media was on fire recently with tweets and news of the revelation made by Indian professional sprinter Dutee Chand on her same-sex relationship. This suggests that there is an unnoticed bias which exists around the corner.
The good news is that several corporate companies have taken initiatives like conducting workshops and other interactive programmes to bridge this gap and put an end to these biases. In a corporate setup, there are different sets of people who are from diverse backgrounds. This diversity has somehow influenced the people from these queer groups to feel left out. To avoid such situations companies have come up with several strategies. “We conduct programmes which include live examples, scenario-based training, and success stories that go beyond gender diversity, colour, sexual orientation, religion and more," said Nupur Nagpal, Head of Human Resources at Prione.
Companies have started organising events to break such biases. “We celebrated an Inclusion week at Walmart Labs, in the first week of March to bring alive our annual theme 'Spark of Inclusion'. We went on to address one bias a day, breaking stereotypes, erasing assumptions and unconscious bias, enabling our associates to truly bring their whole selves to work by celebrating pride, highlighting trans inclusion, the inclusion of the differently abled and women in stem," said Sudeep Ralhan, HR Head, Walmart Labs.
To deal with issues specifically related to sexuality issues AMD India Private Limited have gone one step ahead. “We run a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERG's) to drive inclusivity we started AMD Pride & AMD Ally which promotes a positive and inclusive environment for the entire workforce, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, through education, networking, and workplace collaboration," said Fathima Farouk, HR Head at AMD India Private Limited.
Conducting programmes and events are easy but the actual issue exists in basic functions like recruitment, appraisals and other official processes. "During recruitment and appraisals, we have checks and balances in place to ensure that decisions are not driven by the candidates' identity whether it is gender, culture, sexual orientation or any other," said Farouk.
It is also important to educate the employees to be consciously aware and respect fellow workers. "Diversity and inclusion are key cultural and strategic imperatives at DXC Technology, with senior executive leadership fully committed to ensuring an even workplace for our employees. In addition to educating and helping employees be consciously aware of policies as well as do's and dont's of an inclusive workplace," said Arun Rao, India HR Leader at DXC Technology.
Sensitising individuals also helps to effectively overcome such bias. "Sometimes, just a nudge is enough. Our programmes help raise awareness and hold up a mirror on behaviours both in an individual and organisational level. Our aim is to ensure our associates understand, respect and value diversity," said Ralhan.