The Mahindra group is pitching for greater workforce diversity as it feels that the industry numbers are skewed towards gender and there is a need to focus on the specially abled, the socially disadvantaged and LGBT. The USD 19-billion group, which is present in more than 100 countries and operates in as many as 11 sectors, believes that the workforce and the marketplace will become more diverse due to globalisation of corporations.
The corporate house follows a multi-pronged approach to diversity. Besides gender, it promotes diversity with regard to the specially abled, race and religion, the socially disadvantaged and LGBT, among others.
“At the end of the day, if we can show with data that when there is greater diversity at workforce, there is better innovation, better productivity and better business, and that is what will finally win the argument,” said Rajeev Dubey, Group President (HR and Corporate Services).
Dubey noted that “it is really important for us to keep getting data and evidence to show how diversity – whether gender or other forms – are a solid business proposition”.
According to Mahindra and Mahindra Chief People Officer Rajeshwar Tripathi, diversity would weave both business and social concerns and therefore, the need arises to link it closely to strategy and business performance. The group has a headcount of close to 2,30,000, with women forming 20 per cent of the total workforce.
“Fifty per cent of the candidates being brought for interview should be women and that is one thing that we have mandated. But getting that 50 per cent itself is a difficulty,” said Prince Augustin, Executive Vice-President, Group Human Capital and Leadership Development.
“Everything being equal, women employees should be given preference… But having said that, we do not believe in setting a target (for women hiring),” he added.
About the increasing adoption of new-age technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, Tripathi said these factors are impacting the overall talent landscape significantly. “Technology is changing the kind of profile which we were hiring. Even when we go to IITs and NITs, the kind of profile requirement is undergoing a subtle change with the changes in technology,” he emphasised.
Citing an example, he said Mahindra and Mahindra assembly lines now have “co-bots” – collaborative robots in a lot many numbers compared to five years ago.
Tripathi further said that besides technology, changes in business models and product disruptions are significantly altering the talent dynamics. “The front end customer service is getting digitised very heavily. To deliver a highly digitised experience to the customer, you need to have those kinds of people. Similarly, product disruption like the electric vehicle is in the offing and these kinds of product disruption completely change the way we hire, the way we develop and the way we train people,” Tripathi added.