“Sweet are the uses of adversity.” - William Shakespeare
The current pandemic is a glaring example of how we can rise in the face of adversity and create opportunities even in the darkest of times. It is really beyond belief how a tiny virus has been able to shatter all age-old myths and notions about the working of organizations and redefine how businesses carry on in such adverse times. Moreover, it has widened our understanding of many workplace terms, “Diversity and Inclusion” is one of them.
The emphasis on diversity and inclusion has always been among the foremost priorities in the corporate world. It is no longer restricted to being a mere policy but has now evolved into a business strategy. Studies have proved that the inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds brings in a plethora of ideas and opinions and helps the organization in having a multidimensional approach. However, the new normal has expanded our understanding of diversity and inclusion beyond demographics. The pandemic has necessitated a humanitarian approach towards dealing with workplace crises. The demand for leaders from diverse backgrounds has never been more evident.
The tangible benefits of building a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment for a workforce that is diverse in terms of races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, education, personalities, skill sets, and experiences are now indispensable to creating competitive business advantage.
The past months have seen paradigm shifts in the way organizations and people interact with one another. The virtual workplace, while ensuring continuity of business in times of crisis, has raised growing concerns over diminished interpersonal connections, dwindling trust, and employee burnout.
It is against the backdrop of these tumultuous times that the Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur, will host its online HR conclave, Vaachna - an enterprise that seeks to engage some of the most extraordinary HR leaders and corporate stalwarts in an enriching session to unravel solutions to the pressing challenges of this new business environment. The theme for the event that is all set to go live on 3rd October 2020 is “Diversity and Inclusion in the new normal - Building collaborative workplaces.”
In the previous conclaves, we explored themes related to the emergence of the virtual workplace and managing employee well-being to ensure overall organizational productivity. The thoughts raised during these discussions have paved the way for the current theme that will explore the crucial role of HR leaders in driving Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are no longer seen solely from an HR perspective. However, the seamless integration of D&I with the strategic objectives of an organization requires highly specific expertise, a deep understanding of organizational behavior, and empathy - attributes that have always been the hallmark of the HR domain.
The purpose of this interaction between the academia and corporate spheres is to provide students with a platform to learn how business leaders respond to challenges and build a collaborative workforce despite being separated by distance in this new normal.
The theme of the event seeks to infuse the traditional managerial learning experience with practical corporate perspectives on a subject that is gaining increased relevance in the current business landscape. The insights that will come up during these deliberations will highlight the intricate nature of the conversations surrounding yet another vital Human Resource function.