#COVID times: Opportunity for D&I – Mayank Lodha


All of us have been surrounded by the #COVID19 scare, and this indeed is a testing time, where we’re not just challenging what’s important/possible but also, re-inventing the business process.

Among all that is necessary and needs to be done, as a D&I advocate, I’ve been thinking about how to look at this crisis as an opportunity to bolster D&I initiatives, in addition to what is already in the pipeline. I’m thinking out loud about how we can leverage this opportunity to build more D&I in the DNA of our respective organizations.

Here are some reflections, on things we could augment our existing efforts:

1. Skill as the currency: The world is moving to work from home, and therefore, the knowledge, skills and mindsets become much more important than some of the other parameters such as physical appearance, mobility quotient which may have been the basis for selection earlier.

2. Assess what matters: Recruiters (and others) are discovering different ways to assess skills that matter, and I’m sure we will become more objective in our selection and recruitment going forward. I believe we will be pushed to move away from the prejudices we have people different from us — whether it is gender or PWD or LGBTQ or something else.

3. While we are conditioned to believe that we’re (all) more productive working together, and being super-vised in person, research shows that for jobs that require significant intellectual capital, individuals with a background of discrimination are more likely to stay self-motivated, and stay on-course to deliver better output in lesser time-frame (ceteris paribus). I believe, this is going to be a critical skill as we move to working remotely.

4. Individuals from discriminated communities bring in a very different perspective to challenges, and their solutions, which may (and I believe, will) hold more value in turbulent times, where the need is to design robust, resilient and agile solutions.

On that note, I will also like to draw your attention to inter-sectionality, through this video, and thought it might be an interesting lens to challenge ourselves.

It is indeed a tough time, more so for people who have additional layers of discrimination /disadvantage to deal with. Therefore, calling for people across collaborate, co-create and bolster the D&I narrative during this crisis.

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