Maintaining Diversity & Inclusion in a Remote Workplace

Diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity are more important than ever, but what challenges are there in ensuring they’re taken into account and actioned in a remote workplace?

In theory, policies and procedures around ensuring diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace shouldn’t be affected by a remote workplace. Their D&I policies, procedures and strategies are still in place, but is it actually the case? The intricacies of the remote workforce are still being discovered 2 years into the pandemic, and we’re now better at understanding how we can continue to maintain D&I in the workplace. 

Listen to your team, all of them! 

Liane Hornsey, CHRO at Palo Alto Networks at a GDS Group HR Summit says “If you’re really thinking about diversity it is my view that you have to critically understand that everybody is different and that you start with them.” And this is even more true when those people are working from home. Are they in a shared house? In a different country? Maybe they’re dealing with mental health issues brought on by the pandemic, loneliness or a pre-existing condition? Do you know? Taking time to listen can really help.  

On a wider level, creating a digital and private employee suggestion box can be a great way of gauging the workforce and seeing what D&I actions they’d like to see implemented. Monthly town halls can also be an effective way to get everyone together and have senior leadership be transparent and answer any questions. 

Be adaptable and agile 

Listening to your teams is just the beginning. There needs to be action. At several GDS Groups events, senior executives are sharing that their employees respond better and are more productive when their working schedule and place of work, can be flexible. Being an agile organisation, who trusts their employees, is crucial to gaining the best talent. 

What does the data say? 

Lydia Wu, the Head of Talent Analytics & Transformation at Panasonic USA shares at a GDS Group HR Summit, “for organisations that are using data to impact diversity, equity and inclusion, it’s actually making a difference to their financial performance.” Ensuring you have the right data and are using it correctly is crucial. Especially when you have a remote/hybrid workforce. Make sure your organisation is still collating and analysing data where they can. Data, when looked at properly, can be a great indication for senior teams on where there are gaps and where they can improve in all areas. 

Get the tech right 

Work closely with your IT teams to ensure your entire workforce has the technology they need to do their jobs. Not everyone has the access to the fastest internet, newest phones and best headset. It’s imperative to create inclusivity that everyone is offered the equipment they need to do their job, and not rely on them to sort it out. By showing your employees that the business will support them and get them the tools they need to succeed, this too can improve productivity and retention. 

Once your workforce has the tech, don’t forget to educate them! From new interns to the most long standing and senior staff, everyone needs to be trained on how to use new and existing technology. While it may be easy to think everyone is an expert on virtual working after 2+ years of the pandemic, some people are still figuring it out. Take the time to train everyone so they can feel involved and included. 

Cultural and mindset shifts 

The biggest, and probably most challenging thing to change is the culture and mindsets of your teams. By putting words into actions and senior leadership setting a good example, you’ll find mindsets can shift and the culture can improve organically over time. But commit to your teams by showing them that the organisation is continually working on improving the culture and making D&I a priority by promoting inclusive practices and less bias to ensure everyone feels like they belong. 

To learn more about how Jugo’s virtual event offering can help you to address the shifting virtual world, check out some more of our insights below.

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