The Morphing of DE&I

The Evolving State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Over the past two years it seems that every company is focusing on ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) standards, which include Inclusion and Diversity. There’s a new emphasis for inclusion to be meaningful, authentic, and measurable.  Since the pandemic, the options we have for work vary greatly for each organization.  The hybrid worker is now the norm, not the exception, as we move away from the traditional work model, and this is adding more complexity – especially for inclusion.

This creates an interesting dilemma.  Companies must look for ways to lead inclusively. Certain groups including parents, people with health issues, and people with disabilities are more likely to choose remote work options. Some would argue that supporting remote workers is a way to support the diversity of experience.

In an inclusive hybrid work environment, employees are offered stretch opportunities and promoted in the same way as a site-based employee. Inclusive teams also find ways to include these remote employees in unplanned meetings. Various technology is available and effective for supporting all staff – remote, hybrid, or on-site. These allows managers to lead in an inclusive way.

Social justice issues are even more in the forefront thanks to mainstream news, and more companies will be expected to make statements on their stance. Prospective talent will continue to look for organizations with strong employer brands that focus on ethics and make a positive impact on society. Companies must reevaluate their core values, and then align them with ESG standards.

As many companies continue to claim themselves as both green and inclusive, accountability is often required. ESG management software is readily available, and companies can now share their ESG goals and ratings, which is quantifiable. Organizations can use this technology to accurately report and benchmark ESG results.

Other future trends include:

– Diversity hiring at the leadership level.

– DE&I execution focusing on managers who run programs that look out for bias on a daily basis.

– More continuous discussion programs instead of the “one and done” approach.

– Employee resource groups will take on a higher level of relevance.

– Organizations need to recruit candidates differently by examining the process for bias and setting interview targets, not hiring targets.

DE&I was initially designed to increased business results, but the benefits have shifted to the employee, their sense of belonging, and how they can best be supported. DE&I initiatives need to be purposeful and people-first. Today, more companies are comfortable stating that ethics alone is the driver and the “right thing to do,” when discussing their DE&I initiatives. Others are including DE&I in their core values.

Living Abroad’s Culture Coach Online service is a great first step for DE&I programs. In conjunction with Go Culture, a new Learning Track on Diversity & Inclusion is now part of the online training program. If you’d like to take a spin, please let us know!