PeopleFirst APAC 2021: Enhancing workplace diversity and inclusion with people analytics

Insights from Diversity & Employee Engagement Director at Google

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Conversation between Roman Matla, Director, APAC Diversity & Employee Engagement at Google and Sonali Sharma - VP, Product and People Science at EngageRocket


Roman Matla (1)

Roman Matla

Director, APAC Diversity & Employee Engagement

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Sonali Sharma

VP, Product and People Science

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Conversation with leaders - Google


Conversation summary


Today, many organisations are devoting more attention and resources to advancing diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workforce. Companies with effective D&I strategies can experience multiple benefits such as higher revenue growth, increased employee productivity, reduced attrition rate and more.


We had the opportunity to speak with Roman Matla, Director, APAC Diversity & Employee Engagement at Google during our PeopleFirst APAC 2021 event. He shared the challenges of implementing a D&I program and tips on how HR leaders can prepare for 2022 and beyond.

Key learnings and best practices 


How do we define Diversity and Inclusion?

  • Diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts.

  • Diversity is the differences and the points of similarity that people bring together. When looking at an individual, he/she is unique and not diverse. As more individuals come together in a workplace, there will be different demographics such as gender, race, age, professional background, etc.
  • Inclusion is the willingness to put things that we are uncomfortable with aside, and listen with empathy. Leaders have to make sure that everybody’s voices and opinions are heard and carefully considered.



The challenges of implementing a D&I program:


  • It is crucial to drop the word ‘program’ as it suggests that there's a beginning, a middle and an end. Leaders have to understand that D&I is not a project but a mindset to make every employee feel valued, respected and safe.

  • To some, it may be a challenge to convince senior leaders to infuse in D&I into the organisation. However, D&I implementation creates a competitive advantage for every organisation to hire the best, attract the brightest and retain talents for as long as possible.

  • D&I has to be made non-negotiable, it has to be ingrained in how we do business. 


Conversation with leaders - Google


How do we foster D&I in the workplace? 


  • Be human, be vulnerable, be authentic. It's okay to be uncomfortable and to be clueless at some things, but always be willing to learn and try. 
  • Treat people with kindness, it comes back to you tenfold. 
  • No overthinking. Just like how we are inclusive with our family, partner, children and friends, think of taking that mindset and applying it to work.


Tips for leaders preparing their workforce for 2022 and beyond:


  • Remembering that D&I is not a program but a journey.

  • Organisations are encouraged to understand the 'why' behind the data pattern and then put into place a solution - which could be policy driven, leadership capabilities, team dynamics or a variety of different things.
  • Pick the thing that hurts the most and make it hurt a little bit less.

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