Authored by: Mansi Gandhi, COO & Co-Founder, DoctorC
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the workplace is a concept that has continuously gained traction in the corporate world. Workplace diversity means understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations. It also means understanding people with differences in education, personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases. And, Inclusion in the workplace is a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all employees. However, D&I is still, unfortunately, largely a western concept. It has not permeated into the Indian ecosystem nor do most people fully understand it.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at the workplace is still, unfortunately, largely a western concept. It has not permeated into the Indian ecosystem nor do most people fully understand it.
India is a complex society. Hundreds of years of religion, war, colonialism, casteism, etc that has shaped us, resulting in a largely racist, sexist, casteist, and patriarchal society. These thoughts are heavily ingrained and permeated within families. This meant that our D&I Initiative had to be super practical and permeable. If it didn’t address many of our underlying societal issues, it would get nowhere.
How did we do it?
At DoctorC, it is our endeavour to ensure that growth + performance + profitability keep moving upwards continuously. The quality of our people and teams need to get better with each recruit.
The D&I initiative has to work towards that goal, not against it. Otherwise, the company wouldn’t exist to support the wonderful team :).
With this in mind we iterated through a lot of issues including why there could be discrimination, where the problem points were, and how do we tackle this from recruiting to a lifetime of an employee. The largest teams we hire for are sales, support, and medical technicians. I will only touch upon how we solved recruitment.
The pandemic has witnessed a mismatch in the demand, supply & compensatory conditions of human resources closing the doors of hiring in companies. However, recruitment, being one of the most important managerial functions, has made a virtual come back to maintain the desired efficacy. It is only the medium that has shifted in the process. The approach remains the same. Companies are on the lookout to establish efficient hiring methods for building a stronger skill set. Recruitment marketing is aggressively being carried out by companies to ensure building connections with fine talent.
The hunt for finding the right skillset is on. It was a swiss army knife approach, but I believe the two things that had highest impact were:
Change the “Tell me about yourself” interview question
In India, especially with above-mentioned teams, people tend to include everything…and I mean everything. Work, education, grades from 10 yrs ago (!), what their father does, what their mother does, how many siblings they have, which village they’re from, if they’re married, if they’re divorced and what their alimony situation is, and so on.
Whether you ask them or not, they’re going to tell it all in 5 mins.
This, even with the best of intentions, is going to bring up some conditioned biases. More so, if the candidate is a woman/religion1/caste1 and the recruiter is a man/religion2/caste2. The situation seems to be rather repetitive and redundant and its extremely hard to get a grasp on this issue without a proper grassroot level of understanding.
We now lead with “Tell us about your work experience at Company X” or “Tell us why you chose to do mechanical engineering”. This guides them away from their default answer. We also explicitly stop them if they move into personal details. By vehemently implementing and utilizing this creative approach it is made sure that the prospective employee stays within his/her comfort zone and there-by making them think within a new array of thought process hence making the conventional approach much more simplistic and practical.
This solved for the obvious problems of discrimination, but the company sincerely tries to ensure having a quality sanity checks program on the recruitment to make sure nothing slips. This also solved the quality problem because when biases are removed, you can focus on their work and skills. An individual is completely seen apart from his/her social standpoint, this approach indirectly makes an employee deliver an optimal level of performance output without jeopardizing their career goals. Hence it is again made sure that the employees who are to be groomed breaks their threshold point during both the screening and initiation stage for becoming the foundation of an institution.
Remove the bias of “Took a break”
We noticed that a lot of good men and women were “unemployable” in the industry for the simple fact that they took a break. Assuming this was not taken flippantly, most breaks were to take care of a seriously ill parent or have children. It is a common fixation for the employers to rather prejudiced about the possible set of recruits. But by utilizing this myopic view, a company fails to realize the knowledge, talent and capabilities of the candidates hence leaving them no room for a scope of change, ideas and thought process. By breaking the chain of redundancy an organization is held with the possession of a strong weapon that is an “Organizational vision”
I understand where large companies come from…they want to easily eliminate the ones who take career breaks flippantly and adding a filter works for them. But for us it was a great opportunity. We could pick up the cream of performers if we just ensured that they were hard working people.
In turn, they are extremely grateful since they would probably have been searching for a job for a year or two. They get a higher than industry pay and a great workplace. This solved for and helped us recruit high quality employees.
The company as a whole can be defined with its share of purpose within an industry and this can be only achieved by the constant and consistent efforts of its loyal employees and hence this factor alone makes it essential that the employee should be hired on the basis of their merit and potential leaving the other set of constants to increase the collective pool of talents that supplement the growth of any organization.
Where we need work
We are strong supporters of the LGBTQIA community but have found it hard to include them into our recruiting process. We will continue to work towards solving this as we grow. By their inclusion a company makes sure that it breaks the vicious cycle of conventional norms and adhere to a principle of excellence and that includes the singularly most important asset of any company i.e. organizational commitment. Hence the company by doing so can become the next change mediator, thus enabling both the organization and industry reach new heights of a classless, talented and non-judgmental society.
DoctorC is a new aged diagnostic player offering the highest quality diagnostic services in 13 urban areas across India. At DoctorC, we believe that remaining healthy should be easier & medical services can be cheaper. We began as a little group returning to India from Silicon Valley. Today, we remain with a group of over 100+ individuals and work with the absolute best medical care suppliers in the nation.