The Next Frontier: Diversity & Inclusion Powered By AI In GCCs

Vikram Ahuja a serial entrepreneur with over 16 years & experience, Vikram has experience in building and scaling technology ventures across travel and e-commerce. He also co-founded one of India’s earliest startup accelerators, Kyron (acquired by Techstars). Vikram has a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering from RVCE Bangalore and an MBA from IESE Business School.

Explain the significance of DE&I in building global teams and how does lack of representation impact business goals.

In today’s day and age - diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is crucial in building global teams to bring in a variety of perspectives, skills, and experiences, fostering innovation and creativity. This leads to better problem-solving and adaptability, which are essential in a rapidly evolving global market. An inclusive work environment promotes employee satisfaction, retention, and loyalty, contributing to a positive company culture. The Tech industry, particularly in India, faces challenges related to under representation of women and minority groups. For GCCs, the lack of D&I manifests as hindrance for diverse workforces in adapting to global demands.

Research indicates that diverse teams are up to 35 percent more likely to outperform homogenous groups, showcasing the missed opportunities and untapped potential within GCCs due to the absence of a diverse workforce.

Also, 83 percent of millennials feel they are engaged at work when they believe the organization fosters an inclusive culture. Diversity and inclusivity can also be the difference between whether or not some one wants to work for an organization. About one in three job seekers would not apply at an organization that lacks diversity among its workforces.

Why are GCCs emerging as preferred placed to work? Discuss the impact of flexible work arrangements on creating an inclusive environment, particularly for women in technology.

Global capability centres of the present are setting up for success in the future, backed by innovation and intelligence. They are vastly different from a traditional tech company, working primarily to build value for the headquarters beyond mainstream metrics of growth.

Transversely, GCCs that synthesize the very DNA of tech transformation for companies. This has a big impact on the kind of opportunities they offer for diverse experiences and exposure. Operating on a global scale, both in terms of talent and projects, GCC setups exhibit a remarkable level of flexibility. This flexibility encompasses adjustable work timings, hybrid work models, and even remote work options, making them highly sought-after workplaces -particularly appealing for women in the tech industry.

This paradigm shift has empowered women to effectively balance their professional and personal responsibilities, dismantling traditional barriers that may have impeded their participation in the workforce. Consequently, the adoption of flexible work arrangements not only contributes to a more diverse workforce but also cultivates a heightened level of engagement among talent.

How can we implement measures to reduce unconscious bias in hiring and in the workplace, especially when making decisions?

According to a recent survey, minority ethnic job applicants globally submit an average of 60 percent more applications than applicants from white Western back grounds to achieve the same level of response.

In some situations, bias is understandable; for example, enterprises will inherently favor applications if the candidate possesses a greater number of the skills they need. But, recruitment bias based on protected characteristics, including gender (sex), ethnicity, age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, and sexual orientation, is a problem that employers need to address; not doing so can hurt the enterprise’s image.

We can look to pre-emptively remove unconscious bias from the hiring system by implementing AI-led systems.

How can organizations ensure that women have equal opportunities to advance into leadership roles in tech? Discuss the role of employee engagement in global, gender diverse teams.

Currently, only about 20 percent of tech roles are held by minority groups, a figure that slightly improves within Global Capability Centers (GCCs), ranging between 25- 30 percent. Yet, these numbers still fall short of the global representation benchmark of 40-45 percent. This disparity underscores the systemic biases entrenched in traditional hiring practices, inadvertently perpetuating inequality.

Consider the stark reality: 52 percent of women report encountering discrimination during recruitment processes (Glassdoor, 2021), while women receive 30 percent fewer interview calls than their male counterparts (Lean In, 2018). Additionally, a staggering 34 percent of companies lack policies around work flexibility and remote work, factors crucial for fostering a more diverse workforce.

To ensure organizations can pursue top talent without hindrance, a digital transformation is imperative. For us, the solution emerges with Talent Insights - our strategic layer addressing these challenges head-on. It's a pivotal move in reshaping the hiring landscape.

The impact? Tangible and transformative. Our commitment to utilizing AI-powered tools in our hiring processes has yielded a remarkable 25 percent increase in the recruitment of underrepresented groups. This is more than just a statistic; it's a resounding testament to our unwavering dedication to diversity, creating an equitable playing field within our Global Capability Centers (GCCs).

To illustrate, consider the success story of a Bangalore based GCC affiliated with a prominent Canadian Sports apparel brand. Through adept leveraging of technology, they've achieved an extraordinary feat – a substantial 40 percent representation of women in their India center, surpassing the national average of 21 percent. This isn't merely a triumph for one center: it's emblematic of our broader commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity within our organization.

Explore avenues for staying updated on the latest trends and research concerning gender diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

Staying informed about gender diversity and inclusion trends can be achieved by following industry studies, and actively engaging with the stakeholders. We need to understand that we are building inclusive workspaces for people of diverse back grounds and their expectations largely form the foundation of identifying the gaps in current systems to bridge them with relevant solutions.

We, at ANSR, recently conducted a survey too. And the findings suggest that recruiters are confident in integrating AI to promote diversity measures in companies. This was co-related to reduced bias while making hiring-decisions, which was a crucial insight into building our Talent Insights to promote under-representation of minority groups in global teams.