As we near the end of another year, we look back on DEI trends that shaped the dynamic diversity, equity, and inclusion landscape at our workplaces.
Agile work mode
Remote work became a norm in the pandemic. However, hybrid workplaces are here to stay. Some organizations have asked their employees to work remotely full-time, while some others are trying to get the back-to-office train moving. Wherever your organization lies on the spectrum of how and from where employees work, there is a tectonic shift in how workforces function every day. DEI initiatives had to be re-evaluated with a fresh perspective to be as effective as before. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) which created a sense of community and belonging mainly through events moved to virtual spaces.
Embracing gender identities
Over the past years, awareness about different gender identities and gender expressions has grown. Now employees expect companies to walk the talk and practice inclusion at the workplace by reflecting a change in their processes and policies. Gender-neutral restrooms, stating, not assuming, pronouns, medical benefits that include transgender employees, eliminating gender preferences in job descriptions, and promoting support groups and allyship are some of the many ways companies embraced gender inclusivity.
Focus on mental health
Inclusion initiatives that focus on the mental health of employees have gained momentum. Though the pandemic sensitized organizations to the invisible needs of their employees, not all realized that prospective employees would choose employers who prioritized mental health at the workplace over those who did not. Employees are no longer willing to stay with organizations that have rigid work policies that do not take into account the different working styles of people. In-house counselors, dedicated ERGs, support groups, flexible work options and a positive outlook towards taking personal time off are ways in which companies have gone the extra mile to care for their employees.
Dedicated diversity teams
Historically, DEI initiatives have been led and managed by individuals who volunteer to take on these tasks in addition to their existing roles and responsibilities. The scope of DEI work has expanded and organizations are setting up dedicated DEI teams to run the show. The positive impact of DEI initiatives on employee engagement, employee retention and overall business numbers has created specialist roles like Chief Diversity Officers and DEI Managers. The evolved roles include driving DEI numbers while achieving business goals. Investing in a comprehensive DEI software solution to support the team is a good long-term strategy.
Diversity is no longer an abstract concept. Business leaders now expect DEI numbers to be tracked and included in business strategy. Business Resource Groups (BRGs) which are ERGs with defined business-centric goals have become common. Organizations that are in the advanced level of DEI maturity and have adopted technology solutions to help their teams move from manual tasks to automation and customization are already reaping the benefits of data-driven DEI.
How many of these trends has your organization put into practice? Let us know in the comments.