During the first COVID-19 lockdown, major conversations surrounding racism and racial justice surfaced following the death of George Floyd. This — along with the remote work, an economic recession, and the pandemic overall — prompted companies to reflect on diversity and inclusion strategies to help their employees feel safe and comfortable.
Nearly two years later, many of the same issues still plague us. In this blog, we’ll examine a handful of recent diversity and inclusion trends that illustrate how diversity and inclusion have morphed in society, business, and the workplace over the past few years.
1. Trend #1: Engaging with an evolving remote workforce
No one expected remote work to entirely take over the workforce in 2020. Yet, two years later and most people are still working from home. By the end of 2022, 25-30 percent of the workforce will still work remotely. When you operate remotely, your employees have different needs. They must maintain a work-life balance while being in their homes, access work and health facilities based on different internet facilities and geographical locations, and receive support from leadership in different ways.
2. Trend #2: Accepting gender identity and gender expression
In the past few years, there’s been increasing awareness of diverse gender identities and expressions. Many businesses have begun to adopt inclusive practices like gender-neutral restaurants, pronouns, employee health benefits for transitioning individuals, and gender-neutral and inclusive language.
3. Trend #3: Increasing transparency in goals
Companies may be seeking to increase the diversity of their staff but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are working just as hard at making sure those employees are met with inclusivity. As a result, companies are seeking to increase transparency regarding all DEI targets, goals, and initiatives. By maintaining transparency, it encourages accountability from those in leadership positions.
4. Trend #4: Looking beyond tokenism
In 2022, it’s time to stop hiring for the sake of “looking diverse.” Your organization shouldn’t be hiring a single person of color or including one woman in a meeting full of men. It’s time to dive into your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and ensure that you’re addressing the root causes of these issues — for the sake of diversity — rather than political correctness.
5. Trend #5: Supporting employee’s mental health
Mental health has been a huge topic in the past few years. No one anticipated a global pandemic, and no one wants to be living in “unprecedented times.” Everyone’s peace and sanity were disrupted, and it’s been hard for all of us to deal with. Addressing the topic of mental health head-on and providing tools to employees to help them feel support is now trending in the workplace.
Are you seeing these trends pop up in your workplace? If not, why do you think that is? Perhaps including an online diversity training will help promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and add more education around the topic. While diversity and inclusion were once seen as a progressive idea, it’s now a must for organizations worldwide.