Speaking at the second part of the series on ‘International Indians’ Subha Barry, Managing Director and Head of Multicultural Careers, Merrill Lynch highlighted the challenges of today’s multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-racial work environment. The series was presented by the International Advertising Association, India Chapter and NDTV Profit and hosted by Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media and Vice President of IAA, India Chapter.
Having been a part of various cultures and an Indian minority in a different country, Barry has worked her way through the corporate world and believes that diversity is the key to corporate ethics.
“Diversity is eventually in the style of thought. Not only will a company benefit in terms of having a variety of opinions in the country, but it will also equip the company to foresee the kind of risks it is taking,” she said.
Barry also addressed the issue of local accents being a crucial part of employment relationships. “I think multi-national companies should realise that it is extremely important to retain local accents,” she added, further digressing to elaborate on how the consciousness of an accent could make it difficult for a person to give himself wholly to the content of what he was saying.
“It is important that the issue of diversity and differences are acknowledged at the workplace. Managers need to be trained to understand diverse ways of thinking, and the fact that people come from different circumstances, cultures, and have different views and opinions. Often, circumstances could differ within a group of colleagues, and one or two women might not be a part of the social life outside office. This could come in the way of promotions at some level,” she pointed out.
“It could lead to the person eventually leaving the company if they are made to feel like an outsider constantly. This is the reason why diversity needs to be acknowledged,” Barry said.
She also spoke about the new ‘younger’ generation entering the workforce, and the new demands and changes that came with the new and bright ideas. “Most young people feel that two or three years is a lifetime in a job. One of the solutions could be to rotate responsibilities and allow people to feel like they are experiencing different jobs through changes in profiles every now and then,” she added.