LGBTQ+ 2020 Pride Month Talk with Infosys Diversity & Inclusion Leaders
In honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Dan Page of iPride Americas Employee Resource Group sat down with Aruna Newton, Global Head (Infosys Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion), and Anurag Sinha (SVP – Infosys Industry Head of Communications, Media & Entertainment, and Head of Diversity & Inclusion Council N. America) to discuss important topics to LGBTQ+ employees, allies, the company, and our community.
Both leaders spoke as the team prepares for the Infosys iPride LGBTQ+ Industry Spotlight Panel featuring leaders and allies from companies from United, Verizon, Infosys and others, with a special address from Infosys President Ravi Kumar. The iPride Webinar is moderated by Rebellious Magazine founder, Chicago Reader Co-Editor-in-Chief, and former Infosys Consultant Karen Hawkins on Fri. June 26th from 1-2p.m. Eastern.
All are invited to attend!
Aruna, in your experience, what specific practices foster cultures of inclusion in organizations like ours?
Aruna: At Infosys, our D&I charter draws inspiration from our values and is contained in the first tenet of our Code of Conduct and Ethics, namely “Respecting Each Other.” Acting on the Code, policies and practices, and leadership behavior are important facets of an inclusive ecosystem. We have also incorporated our diversity metrics into the corporate scorecard. But, cultures get built and cemented in the micro ecosystems we each work in--our teams. The culture is what brings each of us back to work the next day. Because ‘culture’ is a social experience, it is sometimes difficult to really pin it down to a specific set of actions. The world now recognizes D&I as a business strategy. Like all business strategy, it needs a vision, alignment to the strategic goals and scorecards, leadership, and policies and practices. We’ve even created a special category for D&I in our Annual Awards for Excellence. But it’s at the individual experience where employee resource groups play a key role in cascading a real cultures of inclusion.
Anurag, you’ve long been a believer that a focus on diversity and inclusion provides a competitive advantage in the market. Can you elaborate?
Anurag: Dan, I’m of the firm belief that progressive policies have a direct impact on Enterprise profitability and long-term sustainability. In today’s digitally connected world, clientele of any enterprise is not limited to a small geographic boundary or a specific socio-economic or demographic profile. Enterprises need to understand this heterogeneous clientele. A workforce diverse in race, ethnicity, age, color, gender, socio-economic characteristics, sexual orientation, religion, faith systems and physical conditions bring diverse experiences, perspectives and backgrounds in an Organization. This fosters creativity, enables better decision making and makes organizations resilient and effective. In a nutshell, I’m convinced that a diverse and inclusive workforce unlocks innovation and facilitates market growth.
What are some initiatives that Infosys is leading in the US around LGBTIQ+ inclusion?
Aruna: We have a number of efforts focused on strengthening awareness and learning to facilitate inclusion, including the iPride ERG Leadership Council, unconscious bias training, blogs, panel discussions, and more. However, our roadmap should be strengthening the score received from the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) from 85 to 100 percent. By using the CEI as a guide, Infosys can help ensure that our existing policies, benefits, and infrastructure is strengthened and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ workforce and their families. We believe this results in greater recruitment and retention of a talented and diverse workforce, but it cannot stop there. We need to continue to embed diversity and inclusion into all of our key processes and procedures and equip leaders to manage and retain a diverse workforce. We are especially proud to be sponsoring the forthcoming Infosys iPride LGBTQ+ Industry Spotlight Panel on Fri. June 26th from 1-2p.m. Eastern.
In your opinion, what is the role of our leaders in fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment?
Anurag: A diverse workforce is today’s reality, however very few organizations take advantage of this “diversity dividend.” Organizations have an inherent tendency for conformity and only those organizations which can go against this natural tendency and create an inclusive environment, can reap benefits of the diversity dividend. Leaders have a significant role to play in making an enterprise inclusive. Diversity and inclusion has to be championed from the top and has to become a business priority. This must be reflected at every stage of an employee life-cycle right from the time of hiring. Leaders have to create an open environment and safe environment for employees to express their ideas and feel heard; ideas should be judged on their merits with everyone on the team owning a role in decision making.
Leaders increasingly recognize that our ERGs, like iPride, play a significant role in the organization’s inclusion strategies by building broad-based alliances. ERGs play an important role in changing organizational palimpsest. They help in creating broad based understanding of multiple religious / faith /cultural practices. They help their organizations rethink workplace policies, rethink the physical office set-up to ensure inclusive facilities (such as the availability of non-gendered restrooms), eliminate bias in the career evaluation and progression opportunities, or even provide flexibility or agency over how, where, and when to execute the work.
As a member of our iPride Americas ERG at Infosys, what does your dream look like for a workplace that is truly inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community?
Aruna: I know we will get the proper policies and practices in place in time. But as a member of the iPRIDE ERG, my dream is to create a workplace that is open, respectful, and considerate of the LGBTIQA+ community inside every team and every social group in the organization – every single micro culture. It requires everyone’s participation and that is my endeavor. Imagine if everyone could just be a little kinder and more forgiving. The world would be a much better place.
How do you see iPRIDE collaborating with other ERGs at Infosys?
Anurag: iPRIDE has a huge opportunity to build strong alliances with other ERGs at Infosys, as well as with employees across all levels in the organization. That will be a true measure of success. An Employee Resource Group, by definition, contains members of a community and their allies. Building ‘allyship’ across the Infosys community worldwide will be key to iPRIDe’s success
What’s your message to Infoscions on the occasion of Pride month?
Aruna: Today, more than ever, the world needs understanding. If there is one thing everyone can do to make the world a better place is ‘seek to understand and act with awareness.’ The good news is that everyone counts - every voice, every action – so go ahead. What’s stopping you?
Dan: Thank you for your time today and Happy Pride to you both!