Ms. Bhavya Misra, Director-HR Pepsico, an Alumni of MDI Gurgaon, is known for her deep domain expertise and vast experience in the FMCG industry and the retail sector. Applauded for her management skills and strategic decisions, Ms. Misra is also recognized for her knowledge in different domains of HR, like talent acquisition, performance management, HR policies, HR transformation, and many more.
Her journey from a management trainee in PepsiCo in 2007 to HR Director of Finance, Commercial and IT Sector, PepsiCo in 2019, is a perfect manifestation of perseverance, hard work, and extreme dedication.
Ms. Bhavya Misra, at the Samvit 2.0 webinar series organized by IIM Sambalpur in association with People Labs, gave a broad understanding of Diversity and Inclusion to all the participants. She shared that diversity and inclusion are equally critical; diversity in terms of representation and unique characteristics, while inclusion equally holds an essential place in any organization. She highlighted what do we do with these differences is of vital importance. Also, what are we doing to leverage that difference, that uniqueness, that different point of view is critical.
She further added, “As soon as you talk about diversity or inclusion, it is very critical to understand each one of us has a frame of reference and that frame of reference comes from various constituents that make us.” She also laid down a couple of factors that influence our frame of reference. Right from our personality, age, gender, and sexual orientation to ethnicity, race, and physical ability, these are some of the primary factors that decide our frame of reference.
The secondary dimensions are around personal habits, parental status, geographical location, income, religion, educational background, work experience, appearance, parental and marital status. The Organizational Dimensions include position, seniority, work location, union affiliation, and management status.
By quoting Stephen R. Covey, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are”, she stressed the significance of framework. She threw light on how we tend to stereotype people around us. We try to put them into a specific box because all of us have a natural ability to put a framework around the situation to understand it. “There are assumptions you make because of the frame of reference you are coming from. We have lenses that are colored, and we see the world through the lenses of these colors,” she added.
Ms. Misra initiated her discussion on ‘Critical Organization Aspects to Order’ by highlighting the elephant in the room for any organization: What is the definition of diversity for you, and why is it important?
The factors to consider while answering this question include – Gender, Generations, Educational Background, Differentiated Experiences, Ethnicity, and more. She emphasized understanding the need for this diversity in your business. Some of the reasons to examine include statutory, reputation, consumer, customer reflection, and business results. For most organizations, it is a combination of these factors. For every organization, it is crucial to define your own combinations because, based on that, you will build a diversity strategy.
Ms. Bhavya Misra, while talking about the importance of infrastructure, shared how India is very diverse in the kind of facilities we have across the country. Taking an example of the manufacturing firms, she pointed out that there exists the least gender diversity in sales and supply chain over the years. The degree of safety conditions and the availability of restrooms pretty much explains the less no. of women in this sector. Also, to let the minority groups succeed, do we have ramps in our office can also be a deciding factor. It’s a question that all of us should ponder upon, “Do I have the right infra for the diverse audience that I am looking for?”
Policies and Processes
Some questions to keep in mind while considering policies and processes are – What does your recruitment and selection process look like? Is it designed to move over biases in the organization? Are you asking the right questions to be able to increase the diversity in your organization? What are the flexible policies you have? Can you take a sabbatical or paternity leave? Most importantly, what is your performance management system? What is your reward mechanism? She added, you got to ask yourself, am I constantly rewarding people who are non-exclusive but are high performers? Policies and processes play a big role that you are trying to drive.
Ms. Misra rightly said, “If you don’t have an inclusive culture, you can’t make the diverse workforce productive.” The role of leaders also plays a major role in defining the culture of the organization. If leaders have unconscious biases, it may also affect the rest of the management people on the ladder. Leaders who share their vulnerabilities and be real with people ought to build an inclusive culture. Moreover, how inclusive is your language is also a significant factor that defines the inclusivity of culture.