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The Supreme Court ruling on the draconian British era-law has ushered in a new dawn for companies to better engage with their workforce. India Inc has responded wholeheartedly to this landmark ruling – calling it a ‘great victory’ for justice.

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Diversity and Employee Engagement

Research has proven that inclusive and diverse organisations tend to be the most successful ones as well.

However, the definition of what constitutes diversity has been fluid over the years.

While companies today are delving into the minutiae of encouraging diversity at the workplace by focusing even on matters like communication and thinking styles, sexual orientation has typically been a taboo. The data would suggest that diversity beyond gender and race – like that in sexual orientation and a global mindset would also likely bring some level of competitive advantage for firms.

Unseen effect of the Law:

In his classic essay “The Seen and the Unseen”, Frederic Bastiat refers to the hidden economic impact of events and decisions

Traditionally companies have focused on complying with various laws that govern equal opportunity in the workplace. While progress has been made in ensuring diversity based on gender, physical abilities and representation of backward classes – the law of the land dealing with homosexuality has always been a barrier to true inclusiveness.

With lack of clarity on the legal issues surrounding this topic, it has always been a challenge for the management of any company to take an open stand on the matter.

The power of diversity

 Diversity helps organisations to:

  • Win the War for Talent: Technology is having a massive impact on the type of talent that is now sought after by organisations. Even in emerging markets, the war for talent is intensifying. Restrictive laws on matters like sexual orientation can have a direct and indirect impact in excluding top talent for joining an organisation.
  • Strengthen Customer Orientation: The research points out that women and minority groups often have a significant impact on crucial consumer decisions. Having the ability to include members from all sections of society explicitly gives companies a competitive advantage in fine-tuning their customer orientation.
  • Increase Employee Satisfaction: Increasing diversity in the workplace reduces conflict between groups, has a positive impact on collaboration and increases loyalty to the organisation.
  • Improve Decision Making: Research has established that diverse groups often outperform ‘experts’. Diversity has a substantial positive impact on bringing in new perspectives and approaches to solving critical problems.
  • Enhance the company Image: Companies that are seen as being inclusive and socially responsible are also viewed as employers of choice. With a multi-generational workforce and global teams, this is becoming more important than ever.

 

Starting new conversations:

 The supreme court judgement marks the end of the first chapter in a long drawn out battle for social legitimacy by the LGBTQ+ community. Dynamic companies now have an opportunity to provide a massive boost to employee engagement and gain a competitive advantage by modifying their people policies to reflect this grand new reality.

 

References: 

  • Diversity Matters, McKinsey and Company, February 2015
  • This is the beginning of the end of prejudice: Supreme Court, 06 Sep 2018, LiveMint
  • India Inc applauds ‘great victory’ for justice, 06 Sep 2018, LiveMint

 

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