India Inc India Inc: Thursday, 18 June 2015 14:23

Psychology of Business with Anjana Nathwani - Moving towards an inclusive India Inc

by Anjana Nathwani

The first half of 2015 brought inspired growth and change for many organisations. As I travelled across Asia during March and April, business conversations very often took on a tone of learning from the past to focus on immediate priorities and to analyse which future scenarios are likely to fit in an ever-changing environment.

How do we make change happen? What will success look like? These are some of fundamental questions being asked.

Of course the key to success is the quality of the talent pool. At the ‘Women In International Networking’ conference in Tokyo, it was evident that Japanese businesses want to hold on to their pride of innovation and are beginning to recognise that their most qualified talent resource is women. To address the challenge of a declining and an ageing population, the Japanese Prime Minister has introduced a women’s quota of 30 per cent for the boardroom and senior leadership roles. The conference had a number of stories from female business owners who had their businesses listed on the stock exchange.

In Singapore, I witnessed the start of their journey as they launched a report on Gender Diversity on Boards. The report clearly promotes the business imperative and benefits of having women on boards.

“Getting women on boards is not a numbers game or about women’s rights. Rather, it is about what companies, and by extension society, are losing out by not tapping on the potential of women. It is about ensuring that decisions made in the boardrooms reflect the realities of the society and the market, including the rising incomes, purchasing power and decision-making power of women at home and at work,” it said.

At our annual ‘I Inspire’ conference of the Biz Divas Foundation, we launched the findings of our own research titled ‘Inclusion in India Inc’. Given the cultural fabric of India is diversity, the research looked at how organisations are harnessing this diversity. A key finding was that inclusion has to be woven into the fabric of the organisation and this requires both systemic and mindset change. The younger employees very often drive the mindset change.

A recent PWC report on the female millennial found that both the male and the female millennial want to be proud of their employer and also their work has to have a purpose and contribute something to the wider society. The study found that image and reputation are an important consideration for the millennial employee.

I do believe that the era for change makers has started. It is time for leaders who can influence organisational cultures that are vibrant and thriving as well as shift mindsets to be agile and responsive to the requirements of a transient and ever changing society.

Organisations harnessing their diversity and making inclusion a part of their business culture will yield optimum rewards.

 Anjana Nathwani is the CEO of Athena Business Psychologists and Board Member of Biz Foundation in India

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