The 99 Day Diversity Challenge

In a world where diversity is increasingly valued, organisations are recognising the importance of hiring diverse talent. However, a pertinent question remains – what happens after the diverse talent is onboarded? The conversation surrounding diversity hiring being merely a box-ticking exercise for political correctness remains prevalent in most cases.

Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in books and research reports discussing the value of D&I ((Diversity and Inclusion) in organisations. Diversity serves as a framework to unite diverse competencies, creating a potent workplace where varied thinking, problem-solving, and perspectives contribute to the organisation’s growth.

While diversity is undoubtedly crucial, ensuring the effectiveness of this hiring approach requires going beyond numbers. It demands a strong focus on inclusion. For people from various backgrounds and cultures to collaborate effectively, fostering an inclusive environment.

Authored by the renowned Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, the book ‘The 99 Day Diversity Challenge’ presents a refreshing perspective that goes beyond traditional diversity discourse. In this book the author delves into the significance of shifting from a mere numbers game to a comprehensive and meaningful D&I strategy. She explores the tangible benefits of embracing inclusion as a cultural cornerstone and how it can positively impact an organisation’s success, productivity, and overall reputation. The stories and anecdotes from the book will help you to navigate the journey towards building a truly inclusive workplace, where diversity thrives, and individuals come together as a united force, enriching the organisation’s collective potential.

What does the book cover?

The question of whether diversity or inclusion comes first is addressed in the book “The 99-Day Diversity Challenge,” which presents the author’s insights gained from her career in corporate India over the past couple of decades. The book narrates the concepts of D&I and their roots in the author’s own journey as an advisor to numerous prominent organisations that were genuinely committed to creating inclusive workplaces.

‘The 99 Day Diversity Challenge’ is a collection of stories divided into 10 sections. To enhance the reader’s experience and make it more engaging, the author has incorporated various interactive elements within the context of D&I. These elements include crosswords, wordfinders, self-assessment tools, and activities, all of which contribute to the overall appeal and practicality of the book.

Throughout the book, the author shares her experiences and conversations with various stakeholders, including managers, chief executives, managing directors, CXOs, entry-level professionals, and others, who brought diverse perspectives on D&I and its significance in today’s context. From these interactions, the author has gained valuable insights into mastering this practical concept.

Another interesting aspect of this book lies in its storytelling essence, allowing you to start reading from any chapter that intrigues you on any given day.

Interesting perspectives from the book (chosen randomly)

  • While D&I is often managed by the HR function, it is equally a leadership imperative, overseen directly by the company’s head. Diversity hiring is one aspect, but true cohesion comes through inclusion, where different viewpoints merge into a unified whole. Some argue that diversity hiring can be merely a politically correct move, but to ensure its effectiveness, organisations must emphasise inclusion and foster a culture where people from diverse backgrounds and cultures can collaborate effectively.
  • According to the author’s experience, diversity is the “what” of the equation, while inclusion is the “how.” Those leaders, individuals, and organisations who have successfully mastered the “how” of inclusion have been able to create exceptional futures and remarkable outcomes for the world at large.
  • A successful D&I agenda goes beyond mere numbers and extends throughout the organisation’s culture, defining its identity and values. It should be a continuous effort, not limited to the recruitment phase, but rather serving as the foundation on which the organisation builds its culture. It is a commitment to creating a workplace where each individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives.

What’s in it for me?

As a reader, I was initially sceptical about yet another book on diversity and inclusion. However, “The 99-Day Diversity Challenge” surpassed my expectations. It offers a refreshing perspective on D&I, presented through engaging stories and interactive elements. It urges organisations to go beyond the numbers game and focus on fostering an inclusive culture that values every individual’s contribution.

My recommendation

I certainly recommend this book, especially to leaders and CXOs, as it provides invaluable insights into understanding and implementing effective D&I strategies. Moreover, I am eagerly looking forward to Dr. Saundarya Rajesh’s inaugural keynote speech at the World Public Relations Forum on September 21st. Attending her session will undoubtedly be a transformative experience, leaving a lasting impact on your approach to diversity and inclusion. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a significant shift towards creating inclusive workplaces where diversity thrives, and individuals unite to achieve remarkable outcomes.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarika Chavan
Sarika Chavan is a public relations professional with over 15 years of work experience.

Sarika has previously had stints with with Weber Shandwick as Vice President - Client Experience, Adfactors PR, Text100 (now Archetype) and Perfect Relations. With keen observation and analytical skills, Sarika has successfully led PR campaigns for key brands across multiple sectors by leveraging her strength and expertise in the communications arena.

She is a post graduate in communications from Xavier Institute of Communications. She is based in Mumbai and in her free time loves to spend time with her daughters, play with her dogs, read and travel.

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