Despite so much talk on inclusivity at the workplace, a huge perception gap persists in India where most employees disagree with the company leaders on equality in their organisations, an Accenture study has revealed.
Nearly all leaders in India (94 per cent) believe their people feel included, yet just one third (36 per cent) of employees agree and while two out of three leaders (66 per cent) feel they create empowering environments where people have a sense of belonging, less than half (48 per cent) of employees agree, said the report titled "Getting to Equal 2020: The Hidden Value of Culture Makers."
"A significant gap exists between the way leaders and employees view progress toward equality in their organizations, according to a new cross industry research from Accenture. Closing the gap will yield substantial benefits for companies and their employees," the findings showed.
The report covered several industries across 28 countries including India and found that organizations are at an inflection point.
"For every organisation today, building a culture of equality needs as much focus as any other business goal," said Rekha M Menon, Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India.
"In an era where innovation drives growth, people are the most valuable source of competitive advantage, and equality and empowerment are key to unleashing their potential," she added.
Today's workforce believes it is critical to helping them thrive in the workplace (reported by 88 per cent of women and 77 per cent of men in India), while majority of leaders (91 per cent in India) believe an inclusive workplace culture is vital to the success of their business.
Most leaders rank diversity and workplace culture low on their list of top organisational priorities.
A majority of leaders in India ranked brand recognition and quality (84 per cent), and financial performance (78 per cent) at the top of their list of priorities, while only 37 per cent ranked diversity on top.
Aligning leaders' perceptions with those of their employees would yield significant upsides.
"Everyone - both women and men - would advance faster, and global profits would increase by $3.7 trillion, including $1.35 trillion in the Asia Pacific region," said the study.
In India, the proportion of women who feel like a key member of their team with real influence over decisions would rise from 1-in-5 to more than 1-in-3.
"The annual retention rate in India would increase by 2 per cent for women from 88 per cent to 90 per cent," it added.