by Shilpa Sinha Harsh
With D&I becoming a business imperative, needless to say, that the direction of the conversation has now moved to – How do we make Diversity and Inclusion a reality? This is where D&I technology is playing a pivotal role. As per Red Thread Research, the D&I technology market is roughly estimated at $100 million.
With the help of D&I technology, we can get insights at the individual and organisational level which will help to make the workplace more inclusive and diverse. D&I technology is enterprise software that provides insights at the individual or organisational level, in support of organisations’ efforts to become more diverse and inclusive. D&I technologies are designed to alter processes which enable bias or identify that bias exists. With D&I technology you can get the information on the current state of diversity and inclusion in your organisation and take necessary measures.
Yet another area where technology has helped boost Diversity and Inclusion into our workplace is through assistive technology. Persons with Disabilities (PwD) are considered the world’s largest minority group and yet they are the untapped potential for most industries and organisations globally. The barriers faced by PwDs can now be removed with the aid of technology, giving them an opportunity to be a part of our mainstream workforce. Up until a couple of years ago, technology enabled wheelchairs were considered the best that could help a person with locomotive impairment. But now the assistive technologies have gone beyond this, to support other disabilities.
For example, the Cochlear implants that are providing auditory experiences to those with hearing disability, the robotic legs and arms that are helping so many people to lead a life that they yearned for, bot-enabled wheelchairs that can climb stairs, personal navigation system enabled by GPS that is now used by people with visibility impairment who were earlier dependent on a cane are few of the many devices that have made life easier for PwDs. Something as simple as the audio and screen readers, that enable a person with hearing or visibility impairment to read and send mail, means that they have the opportunity to be a part of the corporate world.
Flexibility in working
Furthermore, technology has also enabled the much needed flexibility option that our workforce is craving for. It is predicted that by the year 2025, 75% of our workforce globally, will be made up of millennials. Now, let’s remember that this group doesn’t believe in conforming to norms, rather have their unique way of getting things done. They want a workplace that’s reflective of the society and also one that creates an environment which helps them integrate their work and life without much disturbance. Yes, we are talking about – Flexibility in work.
More and more organisations are providing flexible, remote working options to the people as this is their new preferred style but again the enabler for the remote working facility remains technology. This is in stark difference to the world we have witnessed a decade ago, when the only way to work was sitting in a cabin or cubicle. Technology has helped us create virtual work environment that can help us do the most basic job of sending email to a more complex one of providing healthcare support to patients remotely.
Let’s also remember, that the ability to work remotely, is also a boon for a person with disability too. The same goes with women, who experiences various phases in their lives, like marriage, becoming mother, care giving for kids/ older parents, etc.
The author is the SVP Corporate Communication, CSR and D&I at HGS