Is Diversity & Inclusion Trending in Business or is it Here to Stay?
Diversity in business can bring under-represented thoughts and experiences to the table, inspiring increased creativity and innovation within teams. Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace are critical to the success of best-in-class organizations.
In recent years, employers and business leaders around the world have been trying to predict the diversity and inclusion trends that will impact their work cultures the most.
In 2020, the coronavirus global health event, economic uncertainty, and high-profile racial justice events were all issues that have informed the D&I initiatives, and these factors will likely influence diversity and inclusion trends in the coming years as well.
Companies have had to rethink, update, and revamp their diversity and inclusion strategies and initiatives. Doing so leads to the creation of a more equal and inclusive work environment, where employees feel appreciated and valued, regardless of their differences. This ultimately helps stimulate a company’s growth and positions them to be on the right side of history.
So what are some of the diversity and inclusion trends for 2022? Let’s have a look:
1) Enabling diverse gender identity and gender expression
2) Eliminating unconscious bias in the workplace
3) Diversity, equity, and inclusion
4) Hiring diversity professionals
5) Increased transparency in goals
6) Supporting employees’ mental health
7) Gearing up for Systemic Change
Keep reading as we go into more detail:
1) Enabling Diverse Gender Identity and Gender Expression
In recent times, there has been increasing awareness around diverse gender identities and gender expressions.
Globally, organizations have been trying to grapple best with these dynamics by adopting inclusive practices such as giving people access to gender-neutral restrooms, including employee health benefits for transitioning individuals, creating awareness around using inclusive language for gender non-binary and transgender employees, etc.
You will see this represented in titles as well, as companies are encouraging employees to express their preferred gender identity in email signatures, social profiles and other places that will minimize any gender confusion.
2) Eliminating Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
Unconscious bias refers to the behavior of processing information and making decisions based on unconscious or inherent biases and prejudices toward an individual or group.
For Example: Ageism
According to easyllama.com, “Age discrimination is based on the belief that older employees aren’t as capable of performing a job as younger employees. This idea could be a result of a person’s belief that a person’s age is related to their work abilities, knowledge, or skill. The bias tends to favor young driven employees.
While ageism affects everyone since everyone grows older by the day, there are certain groups that are affected more than others. Women and minority groups are particularly affected as they already face multiple biases against them.”
Unconscious bias impacts the kind of relationships we have with people and controls how we make decisions in the workplace.
To build a truly inclusive workforce with people from different backgrounds and experiences, business leaders must ensure that these biases are checked and minimized consistently.
3) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Many workplaces today focus on DEI instead of D&I. DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Equity has become just as crucial as diversity and inclusion in several global companies.
Equity in the workplace refers to fair and honest processes and outcomes for each individual in the company. To ensure fair and unbiased processes and outcomes, leaders and employers should be mindful of the challenges, barriers, and advantages at play for everyone at any given point in time. This can be challenging for larger companies, yet very rewarding.
Equity is the reminder that not everyone starts at the same level playing field, and for a very long time, this is an element that has been grossly overlooked.
4) Hiring Diversity Professionals
Yup, you read that right. It is interesting how the demand for ‘Diversity Professionals’ has seen such a significant uptick in the last 3 to 4 years. A CNBC report indicates that in 2019, demand for Diversity & Inclusion Professionals rose over 100 percent in the United Kingdom and in the US at 30 percent.
Companies are now hiring diversity professionals who are committed to the vision and mission of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. These job roles blend HR, recruitment, and leadership responsibilities.
Diversity professionals carry on several tasks such as holding and organizing educative sessions on diversity and inclusion, creating an inclusive culture in the workplace, introducing new ideas to improve D&I in the workplace, rooting and pushing for the use of an inclusive language, managing complaints on harassment and workplace discrimination, amongst other responsibilities.
As the role of diversity professionals has become increasingly popular, the trend of hiring them is only predicted to continue to grow.
5) Increased Transparency in Goals
We know that more diversity in a company does not necessarily equal more equity and inclusion. While efforts at diversity may increase, the same is not always the case for efforts at inclusivity or equity.
A growing diversity and inclusion trend in 2022 will be for companies to set transparent targets, goals, and D&I initiatives. Doing so will increase the accountability of people in leadership positions, encourage honest conversations between employees and their bosses, and inspire them to share ideas and solutions.
6) Supporting Employees’ Mental Health
The unprecedented arrival of a global pandemic and its aftermath was a blow to the mental health of employees and professionals worldwide.
Even though the conversation around the mental health and wellbeing of employees was already gaining traction in the past couple of years, 2020 witnessed it take a whole life.
With businesses shutting down, people losing jobs, others adjusting to the new normal of working from home, and the constant health scare of contracting coronavirus, there was a lot that impacted the emotional and mental health of employees.
Consequently, organizations are taking intentional steps at supporting the mental health of their diverse pool of talent. This does not only include putting effective policies in place or increasing conversations around mental health, it includes things like workflow, tolerance and empathy, and also extending professional support to team members.
7) Gearing up for Systemic Change
2020 witnessed some significant events that highlighted systemic injustices and flaws across institutions. So many innocent people of color exposed the grim realities of the racism and injustices that are ingrained within our systems.
Organizations should gear up for some revolutionary and much-needed systemic changes that will impact the functioning of societies and workplaces alike. Leaders should do their best to combat any discrimination against underrepresented groups in their company while also enacting new policies which ensure that the workplace is a safe hub for every employee.
Is Diversity & Inclusion Here to Stay?
Diversity and inclusion are now much more than a ‘progressive idea’ or concept. It is a trend that we wish to see become a mainstay in workplace conversations and a deeply embedded element in global corporate culture.
Important diversity and inclusion workplace statistics:
– Groups formerly seen as “minorities” may reach majority status by 2044
– 48 percent of Generation Z are racial or ethnic minorities
– Diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee
– Diverse management has been shown to increase revenue by 19 percent
– Gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to beat industry median financial returns
– More than 3 out of 4 workers prefer diverse companies
Diversity and inclusion trends point to the fact that the world is hungry for change. It is time that organizations embrace this and mold it into their company culture.
How many of these diversity and inclusion trends do you notice in your company? How do you pursue them? Let us know in the comments.
– Aisha A., EBS Founder & Lead Strategist
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