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Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion matters to a thriving and innovative workforce

Busy office with diverse employees

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Roshan Kindred, Chief Diversity Officer, PagerDuty, shares her thoughts on how firms can turn their diversity plans into action and create sustainable initiatives that will build the business and its bottom line.

BUSINESSES FACE HIGH INFLATION, INTEREST RATES, AND TALENT SHORTAGES. ECONOMIC TURBULENCE IS ALSO AFFECTING THE TECH SECTOR.

Redundancies in 2023 have exceeded the whole of last year, however, a reduced headcount can also leave teams needing to restructure and remain functional with fewer resources. In such an environment, the ROI for every employee comes under greater scrutiny. This puts the spotlight on areas of the business that legacy operations may consider secondary to the bottom line.

In this piece, Roshan Kindred, Chief Diversity Officer, PagerDuty, shares her thoughts on how firms can turn their diversity plans into action and create sustainable initiatives that will build the business and its bottom line.

As Chief Diversity Officer, Roshan Kindred leads PagerDuty’s strategic Inclusion Diversity & Equity (ID&E) initiatives and ensures PagerDuty is creating a fair, equitable and inclusive experience for all Dutonians.

Roshan Kindred, Chief Diversity Officer, PagerDuty

Roshan brings more than 15 years of experience in ID&E leadership and is passionate about elevating the human experience and engagement by creating a thriving atmosphere where people can have a sense of belonging that frees them to innovate and collaborate with authenticity.

Prior to PagerDuty, Roshan was the Chief Diversity Officer and Principal at InSeason Development Group, where she established an ID&E roadmap that led Senior Executive Leadership to adopt diversity goals as part of an annual incentive compensation plan. Previously, she was the board chair of Iron Mountain’s DEI advisory board.

Roshan has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Organizational Development from San Jose State University, and a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix.

IN TIMES OF UNPRECEDENTED CHANGE OR WHEN WORKFORCES ARE STRETCHED, DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE LEADERS AND INITIATIVES ARE ESSENTIAL LEVERS TO PROMOTE CULTURE, CONNECTION AND/OR BELONGING.

A 2020 McKinsey report based on a study of 1,000 large companies across 15 countries found the positive correlation between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of good financial performance had strengthened over time.

The report also found that broader experiences and skill sets in employees from different backgrounds can enhance problem-solving.

Also of note was the finding that companies with empowered workers improve their output: 35% are more likely to have higher financial returns with ethnic and racial diversity, 15% for gender diversity.

As a Chief Diversity Officer, I have found that empowering colleagues to speak about DE&I in the workplace supports their well-being and encourages individuals to have more meaningful and authentic working relationships; which leads to reform from within. It also elevates equity efforts, and enables a better understanding of your employees’ value, which, over time, helps to unlock it.

At PagerDuty, we utilize our Paving the Road for Inclusive Spaces of Meaning (PRISM) platform, which consists of our eight Employee Resource Groups (ERG), to inform, enable, and empower employees to drive engagement and influence change. These efforts, in addition to our offerings, work to further expand our employee experience and support our company culture. We believe that creating opportunities for employees to amplify their voice, causes, passions and interest at work, in an inclusive and respectful manner, is a fundamental aspect of ensuring job quality and a sense of belonging into the employee experience. As a result, we experienced an 80% ERG membership growth in 2022, with a view to expand this further in 2023. Our PRISM platform affords an opportunity for any and all employees to develop and create a sense of inclusion here at PagerDuty. 

The future of Pagerduty is driven by innovative minds that are capable of solving our customers’ future problems, while solutioning the mechanisms to ensure our customer’s uptime remains consistent when using our platform. We recognize the competitive edge produced by diverse teams and we keep this awareness top of mind in our talent resourcing strategy by delivering and showcasing a culture of positive inclusive practices and open communication. Existing employees often present the most compelling first impression to prospective hires, so it’s important to have a functioning culture of inclusivity in place when addressing the talent market.

This point has also been made by Deloitte, who noted that finding the right talent has been the biggest concern for more than 70% of CEOs, and that 75% of people seeking roles wish to work for a firm with a diverse workforce. If not satisfied with inclusivity and diversity, 52% of Gen Z and Millennial employees would leave. Deloitte also noted diversity enhances creativity and innovation by 20% and that diverse management teams can show a 19% revenue increase.

THE WAY AHEAD

Success is a mindset.

When we empower employees and leaders to develop an inclusive mindset, in return, that organization’s culture will become more diverse.

Research has proven that inclusive and diverse organizations yield the greatest potential for favorable dividends. Employers recognise the benefits and importance of inclusion and diversity in recruiting and retaining the skills and talent they need (and that) ‘Inclusion allows engagement with talent effectively. Equality enables delivery of fair outcomes. Together, this leads to enhanced innovation, creativity, productivity, reputation, engagement and business results.’

In these circumstances, companies must create a culture that is inclusive, transparent, and productive. There is unequivocal evidence suggesting there is higher productivity when diversity, equity and inclusion are included in the workplace. Hiring and equipping individuals who lead inclusively is paramount to this level of change. Employee Resource Groups are a great mechanism for organizations that seek to amplify the voice of the employee by encouraging transparency and open communication. Business leaders must ask themselves what kind of company they are building? If the conclusion is to be an innovative, productive, and engaged organization, then diversity and inclusion will be an essential investment, particularly in a shifting economic landscape.

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