• March 28, 2024

IMA India Session Highlights Recent Trends on DEI and GenAI

IMA India Session Highlights Recent Trends on DEI and GenAI


Dr Abhishek Tiwary, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Tech Mahindra:

The case for building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace can hardly be overstated. DEI-focused organisations tend to have better employee engagement and retention, stronger brand value and – usually – enhanced business performance. What, though, does it take to build a truly inclusive organisation? What is DEI in its most authentic sense? What do leading organisations do that is ‘different’ in this regard and what are some emerging trends and best practices? Dr Abhishek Tiwary shared his insights on the subject.

Why DEI?

According to calculations by the World Economic Forum, it would require 169 years to bridge the existing gender pay gap if we started trying to address it today. Across countries, most sectors have disproportionately low levels of female employment. Further, the transition from entry-level to managerial positions vastly favours men, with only 86 women promoted for every 100 men, according to data from WeWork. While some progress towards diversity, equity and inclusion is apparent, just 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, a shamefully low share but an ‘all-time high.’ Addressing these issues is not just a moral imperative but also an economic opportunity. According to McKinsey estimates, global GDP could see a USD 3 trillion increase by 2030 if gender equality in employment were achieved.

Build a business case…

To advance DEI in any organisation, challenges must be addressed at an institutional (structural) level and at the individual (behavioural) level. To drive this change, HR leaders should focus on making business cases for the following:


  • Allyship is a systemic alliance that can help create an inclusive culture. CHROs can:
  • Find and define DEI allies for their team members and leaders.
  • Identify allies from leadership groups and leverage them as vocal advocates.
  • Create a simple, easy learning programme on how to be a good ally.
  • Reward good allyship behaviour.

Communities (ERGs)

ERGs are voluntary, employee-led communities within a company that have shared identities or interests and are formally supported by the organisation. CHROs can contribute by:

  • Enabling the creation of ERGs. These need not be limited to gender and can be cause-focused, development-driven, or even just for fun.
  • Providing visible support (set up, resources etc).
  • Helping with prime-time focus once in a while.
  • Appointing ERG leaders and holding them accountable .

Managing biases

Candidates from underrepresented groups often get weeded out due to systemic biases. To address this problem, CHROs should:

  • Focus on the biases specific to their workplace.
  • Find innovative ways to nudge people and leaders to acknowledge and overcome biases.
  • Pursue activities and tools that increase self-awareness.

Leading with heart

This entails connecting on a deeper level, empathising with others and showing vulnerability. Some examples of heart-centered leadership are:

  • Considering all aspects before executing tough decisions during times of economic uncertainty.
  • Tailoring wellbeing strategy to suit the workforce.
  • Encouraging stories of acts of kindness.
  • Linking empathetic leadership back to the organisation’s values.

Creating diverse workplaces

Moving ahead, to ensure that diversity is embedded in the organisation’s culture, HR leaders must ensure that DEI remains a top business priority. This could be particularly challenging over the next year as a widely expected economic slowdown may force companies to slow their DEI investments. That said, several measures can strengthen the DEI agenda, such as, for instance, hiring a full-time chief of DEI to oversee targets and strategies. It is also advisable to identify both advocates and sceptics within the C-suite to better leverage senior leaders (and possibly Board members) that are amenable to the DEI cause. Storytelling can be a powerful tool for conveying DEI messages. This includes sharing success stories as well as challenges and amplifying marginalised voices. When analysing data, leading indicators should be prioritised for a more effective assessment. In this vein, HR leaders should identify and address systemic biases in their tech stack and data analysis. Another key success factor is recognising the uniqueness of each organisation’s DEI journey, keeping in mind issues such as leadership intent, bandwidth, resources, macro influences and personal experiences. Lastly, HR leaders should address root causes by gaining a nuanced understanding of DEI gaps and establishing a meaningful definition of success that is communicated to employees.


Jaspreet Bindra, Managing Director and Founder, Tech Whisperer

How will AI and GenAI impact business and society and how must we prepare for it?⁠ ⁠How will these technologies fundamentally change work and jobs, and how do we need to reskill ourselves to confront and manage this profound change? How we can use GenAI tools to be more productive and efficient? Jaspreet Bindra argued that AI is more than just a technology or a trend; rather, it is a profound shift in how humans and machines interact. He discussed the transformative power of AI/GenAI and examined the ethics and regulatory issues they entail.

Decoding the differences between AI and GenAI…

Coined in 1956, the term ‘AI’ refers to an earlier form of technology that predates our current awareness. It was only after the emergence of ChatGPT and GenAI that AI stepped out from the shadows, despite being in wide usage for decades. AI mainly uses a deterministic approach, enabling predictions and forecasts. In contrast, GenAI leans towards probabilistic and creative processes. Unlike AI, which focuses on pattern recognition, GenAI is primarily used to generate new content. For instance, ChatGPT-powered Sora can transform text instructions to video.

…and how GenAI will revolutionise work

GenAI will have a huge bearing on the world of work and jobs. A recent Microsoft study asked respondents to imagine what jobs might look like in 2030. It revealed that people value changes that help save them time, produce high-quality work and acquire new skills faster. Key desired areas of transformation identified in the survey include:


  • Saving time: Ideally, AI should help deliver top-notch work in half the usual time; enableone to master new skills twice as fast; and cut meeting times in half.
  • Ending the information overboard: Many desire an end to the mental overload caused by excess information, including emails and having to recall data/content from previous meetings/emails/chats.
  • Banishing busywork.
  • ‘Solving search’: Automating searches for information.
  • Unleashing creativity: Such as by never having to draft initial documents again, or by being able to outsource the execution of ideas to others.

The majority of work revolves around communication and it is expected that AI and GenAI will dramatically reduce the time spent on this. Resultantly, it is likely that GenAI will impact th nature of tasks rather than the essence of work itself. According to Goldman Sachs, 7-10% of jobs may be rendered obsolete while ~30% of roles will remain unaffected by ChatGPT/GenAI. For most workers, however, technology will have a profound bearing on the tasks they perform. New job categories are also likely to emerge but the specific nature of such roles is uncertain.


The level of impact will vary across industries and functions, with the services sector facing a higher likelihood of disruption compared to manufacturing. Contrary to initial expectations, AI/GenAI is targeting larger and more advanced roles, exemplified by tools like Microsoft Copilot being able to generate presentations, emails and documents. Interestingly, the very creators of these technologies believe that their profession will be the most deeply affected, underscoring the potential for GenAI to disrupt the tech industry.

Marketing in the cross-hairs of AI

Some of the key areas of work that AI will affect include programming, marketing and CRM. Huge, transformational opportunities exist in terms of creating targeted, personalised ads and experiences driven by user data; instant customer support via chatbots; predictive analytics for understanding customer behaviour; optimised content creation; dynamic pricing aligned with consumer demand; and automated marketing. However, organisations must cultivate a supportive culture for AI integration, emphasising its role as an augmentor rather than a substitute for humans while recognising the importance of human instinct operating alongside data-driven insights.

Societal implications of AI

AI’s impact extends far beyond the realm of work and will influence broader societal dynamics. The ethical considerations surrounding AI/GenAI are as crucial as the technological advancements themselves. Regulation is imperative in the tech sphere to address issues such as plagiarism, copyright infringement, bias, deep fakes and environmental concerns.

The contents of this paper are based on discussions of the India CHRO Forum in Delhi with Dr Abhishek Tiwary, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Tech Mahindra; and Jaspreet Bindra, Managing Director and Founder of Tech Whisperer and author of the bestselling book, ‘The Tech Whisperer: On Digital Transformation and the Technologies that Enable it’, in February 2024.

The views expressed may not be those of IMA India. This paper is available on the Knowledge Centre of the IMA website. Additionally, a podcast version is available here and can be heard on the podcast platform of your choice.

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