decorative image

How to implement more efficient DEI strategies

Diversity, equity and inclusion are no longer just buzzwords thrown at the modern workforce. The term has matured over the last few years to become a de facto requirement for companies. Glassdoor’s survey found that 76% of job seekers and employees say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. A further 50% of current employees are demanding their employers do more to enable DEI programs.

The long-term benefits of implementing diversity in your company are immense. A McKinsey analysis confirmed this by finding that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile”; for ethnic and cultural diversity it was 36%.

The question isn’t whether you should be investing more into your DEI strategies, but how you can do it more efficiently. Below, we’ll be looking at five evolving trends shaping the future of work, in 2022 and beyond.

Remote work is creating more opportunities for inclusive hiring

It’s no secret that the pandemic has massively impacted the workforce and changed the typical “in-office” landscape. One survey shows that 68% of employees prefer remote work, while a 2021 McKinsey study shows 52% prefer a flexible, hybrid format. These statistics prove that the future of the workforce is remote, creating plenty of opportunities to expand the talent pool.

Whether a company’s location is in an area with a diverse population or not, virtual work is bringing more DEI opportunities to the table. Talent pools are no longer limited to one location, and hiring managers can find underrepresented candidates across the country.

Companies are exploring more inclusive hiring processes

Long gone are the days of companies using diversity, equity and inclusion as an empty mission statement. Today we’re seeing more companies investing in DEI and creating a reality of inclusion for underrepresented talent. This is not only a trend in 2022 but an initiative that benefits both businesses and candidates worthy of opportunities.

Companies are finding new ways to address their unconscious biases during the hiring stage. From using more gender-inclusive language to creating an equalized interview experience, there are new ways to incorporate DEI from the start. Investing in the change is not only better for candidates, but it’s also better for business. Diversity enhances the employer brand and improves the candidate experience.

Declining ageist hiring biases 

Although Millennials and Gen Zers are becoming the majority of the workforce, older generations still face ageism in the workplace. While it’s true that 50.3% of workers over 55 are retiring, many are still looking for a job that fits their qualifications and are hitting brick walls. In fact, the World Health Organization deemed ageism as a health issue due to the combination of financial instability and stress it may cause.

To combat this, Congress passed an anti-discrimination act based on someone’s age to address this, and companies can’t ignore this anymore. Creating employee resource groups for older employees to chip away at ageist biases has been one step to take. More and more companies will finally be compelled to address ageism in the workplace, further enforcing DEI in company policies.

Weaving employee health and wellness into DEI practices

The dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted employee mental health as an issue, with global uncertainty and anxiety continuing to impact everyone. The Society for Human Resource Management took a survey that showed one in three employees are experiencing symptoms of depression due to the pandemic. While many are accustomed to taking the common cold more seriously than mental illness, 2022 is the year for change.

Business leaders are finally awakening and finding ways to support neurodiversity. Many are offering online talk therapy and monthly wellness stipends as a bonus and creating open spaces for employees to feel comfortable requesting accommodations. Investing in employee mental wellness empowers the employee and keeps businesses strong, as each individual has what they need to succeed.

AI for HR tech 2.0

AI-based technology for HR got a shaky start, as algorithms were accused of reinforcing, rather than countering, biases. However, with more efficiency and proven ROI, AI-enhanced HR tech is making a comeback, today enabling companies to streamline their DEI strategies and procedures.

Diversity recruiting platforms empower talent acquisition teams to remove biases in their hiring process and scale their diversity recruitment pipeline. Other platforms are helping teams analyze their language biases for more gender inclusivity.

Looking ahead

Employers need varied perspectives and talents to thrive in an increasingly complex business landscape. As the trends above demonstrate, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives will only continue to grow in the years ahead, and will remain a significant business imperative in the larger scheme of things.

With everything from remote working opportunities opening the door to a wider talent pool, to an increased focus on employee wellbeing changing the workplace, a company that reads the map correctly, embraces inclusive workforce transformation as an anchor for success and actually enforces and true organizational change, will be a strong company that survives the years ahead.

 

This article was written by Ilit Raz from Employee Benefit News and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

 

Learn about Voya's Diversity, Equity & inclusion intiatives

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk. Please consult an independent legal or financial advisor for specific advice about your individual situation.


CN2232711_0624