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Here Are Six Ways To Help You Measure Diversity At Your Workplace

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Written By: Ungender Blog Team

Several organisations are now beginning to understand the importance of measuring Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at their workplace as a precursor to embarking on a D&I effort. In this article, we show you six quick ways to actually begin this.

D&I Is For The Full Organisation

While organisations can choose to focus on particular aspects of diversity, by choosing to recruit, for example, under-represented castes, classes or genders, the point of D&I is for every voice to find space.

With the effect that the pandemic and lockdown has had on everyone, inclusion and making sure that all colleagues are part of a “whole” that an organisation represents has become more important than every before. Feeling isolated is a serious risk to productivity. One of the ways to ensure that your D&I efforts are working, especially in the lockdown condition, is by practicing daily check-ins with your staff: have peers set up these sessions, ask how they are doing and connect with each other.

From a diversity standpoint, with COVID-19, we also need to ask about the needs are of each sub-group, including those working from home with children, those who are alone or those who are tackling significant carework responsibilities and and might be in danger of a burnout. In terms of measurement and setting up D&I, therefore, it is important to have a baseline source of data on everyone and how they are doing every day. This baseline data is the data you need as a starting point to improve from.

Recognise That You Are Measuring The Immeasurable

D&I is a cultural thing and like people, feeling change and people report different levels of happiness and satisfaction all the time. The thing to recognise here is that some data is better than no data. Image has been provided by the author.

One of the first things to recognise about D&I is that even if you have daily baseline data and a wonderful quantifiable framework, your measurement is not going to be perfect. The number one way to make your peace with D&I efforts and the lack of ease in measuring it is to create your organisation’s own path and framework. Check out Conduct, a SaaS platform and product to help you understand D&I at your organisation.

The pandemic has created many new challenges — people who haven’t hitherto felt excluded or who have always found ways to buddy-up in physical workspaces might sometimes also find themselves more marginalised and isolated than they ever imagined. Creative teams, for instance, who are used to working in “huddles”, might suddenly find themselves unable to express themselves as much in an online environment.

Not everyone is also at the same level of confidence or technical ability to take to working online with ease and at the same pace as everyone else. Perhaps, someone’s work profile prior to the pandemic didn’t require the use of computers much, but now it does. There is going to be a coping challenge.

Sometimes, things that don’t seem directly relevant, such as ease with language or technology, also matter to D&I goals. These items also need baseline measurement. The Conduct platform uses many such metrics to build a thorough diversity profile of your organisation’s staff.

Image has been provided by the author.

Create An Organisational Path To A Diverse and Inclusive Culture

Every organisation has a unique DNA and has aspects and ways in which they want to be able to succeed on the D&I path. Data and measurability is one part of it. The other important part is setting up a framework. This process must involve leadership as much as possible and must do two main things:

  1. Chart out Focus Areas and Simple Doable Actions: what are the small things that can tangibly done?, perhaps policy wordings need tweaking, policy refresher training via webinars can be organised?
  2. Prioritise. What are your top three goals in the short term? Do you want to focus on infrastructure, hiring or deeper cultural and behavioural change?

Particularly during the pandemic, for instance, it may help to refine and re-prioritise your goals for your team from a D&I perspective. For example, many of Ungender’s interviews with senior HR leadership reveal that mental health is a growing concern.

Involve Senior Leadership

Through all the industry interviews we conduct, one common thread to a successful change in work culture change is the interest and push provided by senior folks at organisations. Get your leadership at the board and CEO level interested. Show them the data and make the benefits visible from a compliance perspective. Most senior leaders are more than happy to be pulled into efforts like this, and their experience counts. Include them. A senior technical leader or an HR person might be the right leader for other leadership projects. Find an ally in leadership.

The pandemic is a great opportunity to discuss these issues with your leadership because nearly all leaderships are grappling with a vastly changed business environment.

Image has been provided by the author.

Develop Humility And Listen

For all and every organisation that has ever embarked on a D&I workplace journey, the main point has been the journey and learnings. Trying to make a workplace inclusive is a challenging endeavour. It involves changing how you build infrastructurally, how you recruit, how you govern, how much you cost, and even how you pay and measure performance.

There is no singular idea of diversity and no singular roadmap to success. With D&I, the idea should be make a dent, a significant change and measure that Most Significant Change, as opposed to ticking checkboxes on a D&I checklist.

Push And Build Peer Support Groups

D&I efforts also rest on cultural change and a large part of the struggle is for people who have historically been excluded to now be included, many for the first-times in their lives. Organisations that understand this must also commit to developing the community and Employee Resource Groups or peer support networks for under-represented groups within organisations.

This is easier to get started on that it seems, because people automatically self-segment themselves into clusters based on commonalities of background, ethnicity and regional language. Conduct helps organisations understand these clusters as they exist in your organisation currently, at baseline. With a baseline understanding, one can then plug gaps faster.

About the author: Ungender Insights is the product of our learning from advisory work at Ungender. Our team specialises in advising workplaces on workplace diversity and inclusion. Write to us at contact@ungender.in to understand how we can partner with your organisation to build a more inclusive workplace.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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