Nandini Mehta,

Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Strategic Imperative for Modern Workplaces | Nandini Mehta | CHRO | Metro Brands Limited

Nandini Mehta,DEI is a much talked about today more than ever before and one of the biggest impacts it has is in the business landscape. The dichotomy here is that humans are by nature intolerant to those who are different from themselves or who think and behave differently from societal norms. This makes it easier to talk about DEI than act on it, especially on all three aspect of DEI.

A diverse workplace doesn’t exclude anyone based on gender, age, nationality, caste or other factors that distinguish one person from another while inclusion acknowledges and values these diverse people and encourages them to grow and prosper. Equity is the toughest of the tough parameters of DEI as this refers to supporting each individual to succeed and each one’s need could be different.

A diverse team brings together individuals with unique viewpoints and problem-solving approaches, leading to creative solutions and fresh ideas that can set a company apart in competitive markets. As markets become increasingly globalized and interconnected, organizations that genuinely prioritize and embrace DEI not only champion social progress but also gain a competitive edge in the ever-expanding marketplace.

DEI at Strategy level –
It becomes important for a company to ensure that DEI is incorporated at the strategy level with defining the purpose, vision, mission and values of DEI. This then needs to be governed and the outcomes to be measured through a metrics.

Management Commitment –
It becomes very important to make the leadership team accountable to drive DEI and make it part of their metrics as well. Very often such initiatives fail as leaders are not committed to the cause, hence it becomes imperative to ensure that we hire leaders who strongly believe in DEI.

Recruitment and Hiring of Diverse Talent –
There should be a goal for DEI hiring. It becomes important to sensitize all existing hiring managers on the need to have DEI goals in mind while hiring and it is also equally crucial to hire the right candidate for the role. The hiring process needs to address any bias or subjectivity while sourcing and interviewing.

Inclusive Performance Management –
A robust Performance management system that addresses any biases and evaluates only results and outcomes free from subjectivity is very important. This will address DEI and build a culture of performance rather than promoting favouritism.

Equitable and Inclusive Organizational Culture –
It is important to identify values, norms and behaviours like respect and empathy that promote DEI and to increase awareness of the same. This would also mean fostering an environment of trust and transparency.

DEI @ Metro Brands–
At Metro Brands what matters is what the person brings to the organization in terms of their experience, the work they have done and the passion and urge to make a difference. We have never hired a candidate just because he / she has come from a particular background, possessing a certain attribute, or belonging to a certain community. We evaluate people for their performance and not for anything else.

While I have mentioned what one has to do to ensure an organization can focus on driving the agenda of DEI, it scares me to put a policy in place for DEI at Metro as I think the moment I do so everyone will become conscious and methodical as against the entire concept currently being lived in spirit.

We can proudly say that we have 35% women in our leadership team and over the last 2 years we have hired more and more employees from across the spectrum. We have diverse people working together to achieve Company goals and we celebrate every festival. We reward employees and provide them growth opportunities irrespective of who they are, if they have performed and delivered.

I strongly believe that we being humans we cannot be 100% neutral. However, having a strong and objective performance management system, having an open door policy where employees have the freedom to share their concerns and issues, being more open and fluid in our policies and processes, building a top down and bottoms up culture of performance and productivity and finally having conversations that are void of any biases and pre-conceived notions and built on respect and empathy can definitely help drive the DEI agenda in an organization, a community and a nation.