Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Pune played host to an amazing audience of HR professionals on 26th May, 2018 for an interactive session on ‘Diversity and Inclusion at the workplace’. This event was conducted by All Things Talent – the forum for HR professionals powered by iimjobs.com and hirist.com. The event aimed at providing the audience with an opportunity to learn and interact collectively from the experts themselves.
Pune’s session began with a short presentation by Prashant Sharma (Marketing, at iimjobs.com & hirist.com) who introduced us to the topic of discussion for the day and also emphasized on the objectives of All Things Talent.
The event witnessed interesting discussions that not only focused on diversity and inclusion but also various aspects of business strategies and corporate practices intended for better outcomes.
Speakers of this session:
- Pradnya Kulkarni (Director Technology Change Management at UBS)
- Sachidanand Kulkarni (VP HR & Culture at Webonise Labs)
- Sandeep Datta (Head HR & Admin at SG Analytics)
- Awantika Bhardwaj (Head of Human resources India at Tieto)
The event was moderated by Sarabjeet Singh Gill – Associate Manager, Talent Management at GS Lab, with over a decade of experience in HR Transformation, Talent and Performance Management, People Analytics and more.
Pradnya Kulkarni, a change leader with over 18 years of experience in strategic and commercial business kicked off the session. According to Pradnya, if diversity and inclusion were applied in subtle ways then and there, be it through recruitment and policies, it wouldn’t be a topic of discussion. “Whatever maybe the situation, if one applies a lens of diversity and inclusion at that moment, the right decision is made”, she said.
She also highlighted another fact of gender diversity; “It isn’t just about bringing in more women into the organization, it’s about retaining them and developing them”, she said.
Pradnya’s presentation was followed by Sachidanand Kulkarni’s talk. He began with a Sanskrit sholka, comparing its meaning and origins to that of present day’s diversity and inclusion. Being a firm believer in human potential, Mr. Kulkarni emphasized common mistakes of human ego that comes in the way of applying diversity into our lives.
“Forests are the true diversity”, he said. “Forests are where everything is equal; it allows you to be what you are and who you are genuinely and still enjoys the diversity”, he added. He felt that by using nature as an example in our everyday lives, ideas of diversity and inclusion would fall into place themselves.
Mr. Kulkarni was followed by Awantika Bhardwaj. Being a highly experienced Human Resource professional, she argued that it’s extremely useful to take baby steps in order to achieve anything. “Whether it’s Women’s Day or not, we need to have the support system of the organization in place so that the employees can reach the levels that they desire”, she said.
Awantika also laid emphasis on embracing and accepting change in our lives, when it came to diversity and inclusion. Awantika also spoke about some important initiatives she believes all organisations should strongly consider to achieve their D&I goals.
Following Awantika Bhardwaj, Sandeep Datta shared his thoughts on promoting Diversity and inclusion. Sandeep shared personal experiences of his own along the lines of diversity and inclusion. He emphasized acceptance whilst sharing with the audience his own life’s examples.
“You’ll need to make small changes in your day to day lives to be a part of the normal group”, he said. “When it comes to diversity and inclusion, most of it comes with our mindset”, he added. With over 12 years of professional HR experience, Mr. Datta focused on providing quality content on building relationships in one’s diversity.
After the four speakers had embraced their diversity and inclusion ideas to the audience, a panel discussion followed it, where an intrigued audience interacted with a question answer session, along with the experts. The enthusiastic audience shared their experiences whilst clearing their queries on diversity and inclusion issues.
“As all of us know, D&I is an old-age theory,” moderator Sarabjeet said. “It is not a new concept. When it comes to India, we are already pretty much diverse with respect to the cultures, with respect to the languages, and so on.” He then kicked off the session by posing an important question on the leadership gap we see in corporates – “Why don’t we see women in leadership roles [as much] when compared to their male counterparts? What is the reason behind this?”
The panel then discussed the measures that companies should look at for D&I initiatives. Sandeep opened the discussion by arguing that while measures help justify business decisions, generally initiatives, when assimilated into a model, do not need measurements. “My take on this is – don’t treat it as something that you need to measure and keep reporting back to your board. This should get assimilated in your day-to-day working. There is nothing different you need to do to make it succeed”.
Sachidanand too argued for diversity initiatives being made natural. “A culture of inclusiveness will have things automatically happen. Inclusion is intangible, and unmeasurable. Design a culture such that you are inclusive, and inclusiveness will bring happiness on people’s faces. ”
Sarabjeet also enlightened the audience on a discussion he had with the Deputy Labour Commissioner of Pune, involving the introduction of a new bill from the Central Government that may make three months of paternity leave mandatory for organisations in order to support women, which drew an enthusiastic applause from the audience.
The wholehearted participation of the audience made this session an eventful and rather successful one, concluding with a luncheon. We’d like to thank both the speakers and the audience for a successful session.