- Bringing people together from different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, ages, and abilities provides different perspectives and ideas that lead to greater collaboration.
- Remote work and flexible schedule policies are a valuable asset, as it enables organisations to greatly widen their talent pool when hiring.
- However, progress in diversity and inclusion has been slow. It is not a one-off initiative that organizations can tick off their to-do list, but an ongoing journey that companies should be committed to as part of their workplace culture.
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a term that’s been around the workplace for decades. However, it’s relevance for the future of work is unparalleled for various reasons. Among them is technology and globalization; we live in an interconnected world where diversity and inclusion can no longer be ignored. Secondly, social, political, and cultural movements are calling for increased diversity and inclusion within organizations, from small businesses to large multinational corporations.
In the past, diversity has been a metric that many organizations have strived to “meet”. This is changing in modern times.
Diversity and inclusion have become an integral part of business success and a key component of business strategy.
Research has found that diversity is advantageous for businesses, not only is it the right thing to do, but it has also been shown to increase creativity, innovation, profitability, and it equips businesses with better problem-solving abilities.
Bringing people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, educational backgrounds, genders, ages, and disabilities provides organizations with the unique advantage of having different perspectives, ideas, and experiences that can not only lead to greater collaboration, but can also lead to better ideas, innovative solutions, and create a much more empathetic and resilient environment.
Needless to say, research has shown that organizations that have prioritized diversity and inclusion within their business strategy tend to outperform those who do not.
A 2019 McKinsey analysis found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”
The analysis also found that “the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all.”
Furthermore, a truly diverse organization is better equipped to face the challenges of the new world, as well as better cater to the global population. A business that is truly representative of the society it caters to is best positioned to create and deliver on products and services that society needs and wants.
Unfortunately, the same McKinsey analysis found that progress in diversity and inclusion has been slow.
How Remote Work and Flexible Schedules Can Contribute to Diversity and Inclusion
While progress has been slow, the good news is that most organizations are starting to have the right conversations around diversity and inclusion.
Plus, technology has been shown to be a valuable asset to drive diversity and inclusion efforts.
Suggested Reading: What Does Working Remotely Mean?
By implementing remote work and flexible schedule policies, organizations can greatly widen their talent pool when hiring.
- They can hire employees from different ethic and educational backgrounds.
- They can hire employees with different profiles and skill sets.
- They can hire employees from different countries.
- They can hire employees with disabilities that prevents them from independently getting to and from work or that makes it harder for them to stick to a fixed schedule (i.e. people that need regular treatments for chronic conditions).
- They can hire caretakers and working mothers.
Beyond hiring, an organization that prioritizes diversity and inclusion also prioritizes providing the same tools, resources, and opportunities to all employees, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or political beliefs.
This means having a diverse workforce, but also diverse leadership, diverse executives, and a diverse board of directors. Ensuring diversity throughout an organization’s structure means that inclusion will follow naturally; barriers will be eliminated, empathy will be practiced across all levels, and tolerance will become a core component of company culture.
D&I is Not a Destination, It’s an Ongoing Process
Diversity and inclusion is not a one-off initiative that organizations can tick off their to-do list. Rather, it’s an ongoing journey that needs to follow the changing socio cultural needs and dynamics of the times.
It is not enough to hire employees from different backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process that needs to be nurtured regardless of who is in the top leadership position. It should be embedded in company culture so that it truly empowers everyone.