As I read the news of Travis Kalanick, CEO Uber of stepping down, I wondered if the story for Uber would have unfolded differently if they would have more transparent and inclusive culture at their workplace. The story of Uber, one of the world’s most valuable venture backed company is no doubt in crisis. In its success too, one cant ignore the failure of its leadership. Startups & Tech Industry have struggled for years with diversity and inclusion. The fact that Uber could become such an influential global powerhouse while seemingly neglecting its own workplace is in itself a paradox. The pressure for startups to grow fast — and the prospect of profits or an enriching “exit” for investors — can be blinding.

The way we work in the future will look vastly different to today’s landscape. Gone are the days when we would do daily commute to an office where people arrive with their coffees ready for the designated 40-hour week. Globally, experts predict that the workplaces of tomorrow will be more flexible, collaborative and mobile. To cope with this dynamic changing workplace scenario, the leaders also need to be equipped to manage this diversity effectively. Our Future of Work Research which interviewed more than 20 CHROs across various industries found that new technologies, data analytics, job sharing, social networks, flexibility are having a huge impact on how people communicate, collaborate and work. Traditional career models will be thing of past and so will be the traditional model of leadership.

The way talent seek careers and projects has already impacted how the workplace is designed. In the pursuit of attracting and retaining the best talent, most of the organisations including startups have been wooing talent with freebies and esops. But time and again, it has been proven that this is not enough. Organisations need to create workplaces where people want to be, somewhere that stimulates their thinking and importantly allows them to work in the way they need to. It should encourage collaboration and transparent culture. It is seen that diverse talent seek and value more diverse & inclusive workplaces. But how do we measure that?

Though it is becoming commonplace for big tech companies globally to divulge the demographics of their employees, it wasn’t that long ago that some of the best known names were not too keen to do so. They knew they would not look too god while doing it so. The same story is still applicable in India. While sharing of data and numbers did not look feasible for many organisations, we thought it would be encouraging to share some of the best practices from leading inclusive organisations. In this decade, where the industry is witnessing a “war of talent” this would help other organisations to follow suit and attract the best talent for them. Hence in 2018 we would be coming with Research – sharing of best of Inclusion in India Inc. This hopefully would pave a path for a more quantitative measure of Diversity & Inclusion for India Inc in future.

Business transformation is dynamic and we need to embrace change to thrive in such an ambiguous environment. This is only possible by embracing people’s differences, leveraging them and creating positive linkages between people, organisations and community. It’s a journey that impacts all of us, so we all need to be on board. Change is the ‘new norm’ and we need to champion it as such.

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Sarika

Sarika Bhattacharyya, Co-Founder & CEO, Biz Divas Foundation is a highly respected speaker on gender diversity, leadership and related business issues. She was felicitated with Leadership in Mentoring Award by Hillary Clinton &Vital Voices. She has been featured as the Top 10 Global Diversity Consultants by The Economist and one of theTop 50 Indian Women to follow in Twitter by WOW Asia. You can follow her on twitter @bizdivasindia

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