Being a multi pluralistic country with around 700 different dialects, different religions, the gamut of cultures and ethnicities, and on top of that vociferous debates on classism and secularism, India is still proudly the most diverse country in the world. As much as this diversity comes with an obvious sporadic discord and lack of acceptance of differences; in a positive perspective, it also brings a variety of individuals with different thinking patterns and practices that create a beautiful amalgamation converting this diversity into strength.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the real scenario in contemporary Indian corporate sector, the hiring pattern is abysmal. While this diversity should play a pivotal role in the growth of an organization; there are some impediments and deterrents, which are the cognitive biases that play their role in the process of hiring thereby serving as stumbling blocks in the envisioned development of the organizations.
Delving into the biases during the Indian hiring processes, there are many that are easily discernible; like regional, ethnic, and religion cognition as well as gender bias. To cite some researched examples; Newman and Deshpande had interviewed some postgraduate students from prominent Delhi Universities, and it was observed that the lower caste students from poor families found the questions regarding “family backgrounds” socially dogmatic. There is also a study by Paul Attewell and Sukhdeo Thorat, which depicts the emergence of bias in a very early stage of the hiring process, in which the responses to the employment advertisements in the entry-level positions were comprised of very similar resume and cover letters, thereby creating a draining away the individuality of each of them.
When it comes to gender bias, there has always been a strong disfavor against women which the Indian Inc. has been inheriting since ages. This bias is more prevalent at the higher levels in the organizations in which the female candidates are not considered due to a number of reasons like personal situations, responsibilities of raising children and demanding job deliverables, stringent work timings and not being ‘strong enough’ to handle the job demands. The transgender community has long been outcasted from the mainstream jobs and always have been looked down upon. Another inherent bias that corporates big and small alike exhibit is of skin complexion. People of fair complexion are generally preferred over the darker shade people. Hiring differently abled people have still been a professional taboo given the strong belief that they would not be able to deliver ‘quality work’ in the organization.
As these biases are becoming obstacles to the growth of organizations in India, it has become imperative to indulge the concept of diversity hiring and incorporate it in all the companies for progress. This raises the question on the concept of diversity hiring and how it can be helpful to the nation.
Workplaces are nothing but the smaller versions of the entire nation, which is to say that offices or organizations are the ones that encapsulate in miniature the diversity of the country; and represent different people based on their race, gender, culture, religion and sexual orientations. And these diversities should be considered as a plus point while hiring for several reasons as it maximises collective strength as the diversity that people intrinsic to different cultures and races bring to the organizations, would certainly lead to an opportunity for management to leverage different people and their working styles for further development.
At the same time it liberates individuals as they feel a palpable sense of acceptance and thus it helps in the free flow of ideas, different perspectives, magnified productivity and retention of the employees in the organizations. And it also unfetters a lot of positive energy in the workplace. By amalgamating different cultures that lead to very different ideas and systems that can be incorporated in the organizations, it creates a unanimous culture in the organizations. More so, a culturally diverse workplace becomes an enriching experience for the individual employees that foster growth and development of individual and the organization.
Even though there is a tangible realization on the diversity hiring in Indian organizations, there are challenges of complete diversity acceptance like resistance to the change. In the organizations of distinctive individuals, not all would be comfortable with new endeavors and changes and at the same time, they will react differently in varied conditions. It also faces a cultural challenge as it becomes difficult to design the policies of the companies that are in the favor of everyone. There can also be communication issues due to a different language along with comprehensions issues due to behavioral patterns.
These challenges and problems are not insurmountable and can be circumvented by conducting diversity programmes, various initiations, and overall building up a more inclusive work environment. This will provide the individuals a platform on which they can talk and express their point of views and opinions on the basis of their own perspectives and ultimately feel a part of the progressive change and help to eradicate the resistance.
The inherent discrimination that this nation has been promulgating has led to a skewed growth rate of people depending on the regional, cast or gender bias. A good section of people has been left behind the so-called race of development which is further augmenting the divide between them. In such times, the onus lies on organizations, big or small to step forward and take responsibility of providing inclusive growth to all. Shunning the prevalent biases, they need to inculcate diversity hiring as an essential part of their recruitment process and cater to each and every section of the society.
By taking such steps towards the incorporation of the essential concept of diversity hiring from a very small level to the higher places in the echelon; they will not only be able to form the right team by assembling the best people of both the genders from different regions, language, beliefs, religion, castes, cultures, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and age but it can enormously contribute to the overall nation building. This one small step by the India Inc. shall be one giant leap for the nation.