Q & A To drive the D&I agenda, leaders need to be ‘fearless': Intel India's Head HR

People Matters|March 2020

Q & A To drive the D&I agenda, leaders need to be ‘fearless': Intel India's Head HR
In an exclusive interaction, Anjali Rao, Director of HR, Intel India shares her views on how for organizations of today, diversity goes beyond gender and how inclusion is becoming a critical element of the D&I picture in the evolving world of work
Yasmin Taj

Anjali Rao leads HR at Intel India and has been with the organization for about 15 years. She has held several portfolios within HR prior to assuming her current role. Rao’s passion lies in engaging with organizations and their leaders, enabling them to achieve their strategy and goals. Throughout her 15-year career in Intel HR, she’s shown incredible leadership and acumen managing leadership transitions, landing new engineering teams at the India site, supporting key initiatives and driving organizational change and development. Anjali brings a tremendous degree of personal drive and energy, impeccable accountability, and is valued for her results orientation. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Rao shares her views on how for organizations of today, diversity goes beyond gender and how inclusion is becoming a critical element of the D&I picture in the evolving world of work. She also gives some insights on how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace and the must-have leadership imperatives for doing so.

Q Diversity and inclusion become absolutely indispensable to any organization’s business or growth strategy. What is your view on D&I becoming so critical to a company today?

A There are two key things: The first one is having a diverse workforce which is a representative of the kind of diversity that is available in the market that your customers are in. Therefore, it represents the diverse customer needs for which you are engineering products. If you look at a company like Intel, it is everywhere. It powers up different technologies to deliver different kinds of products and experiences. If that has to be truly represented in the way we make, design and engineer those products, we really need to see the diversity in the workforce we hire, we groom, and we grow. It is representing the market, the needs of the customer through a diverse workforce. Secondly, I firmly believe that diversity leads to innovation. Innovation is critical today for any company. You need to keep challenging how you do your work, how you bring efficiencies into your work, and how you tap into newer markets, etc. For this, you need to be able to get people from diverse viewpoints that can challenge how you are doing things today and look at how you can do things differently tomorrow. You cannot do that without having diversity of thought in a room or when you are designing your product. It doesn't matter whether the company is tech or FMCG or any other industry. The last and a slightly smaller part is talent availability. Every company today is facing a war for talent, and there is no doubt about it. Talent is scarce and limited. When you have a diverse approach to hiring and bringing talent in and making your culture more inclusive, what it does is, it opens up avenues for you to tap into diverse talent that may not be there if you do not have a diverse perspective.

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March 2020