Diversity can be defined as the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
This last decade saw a greater push for social justice world over, from the Black Lives Matter movement to the #MeToo movement to legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states and transgender bathroom rights. All these movements were birthed online but went on to have wide offline effects, pushing all organizations to become both more vocal and more practical about workforce diversity.
With diversity continuing to be a top priority on the corporate agenda in 2020, HR technology will play a key role in the new decade as it will be indispensable for companies looking to improve their workplace diversity policies. Companies should also be focusing on the following four initiatives to maintain and support a more inclusive and diverse workplace:
Women at Work
As we move into a new century, women are still underrepresented in the workplace, especially as you climb the corporate hierarchy. This has been found to be particularly true for women of color. According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2019 report, only around 1 in 5 C-Suite leaders is a woman and shockingly only 1 in 25 is a woman of color.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have also exposed how rampant sexism still in the workplace by shining a light on the sexual harassment (disrespectful comments, non-consensual touching and other micro-aggressions) that women are still disproportionately dealing with on a daily basis compared to their male colleagues.
Ensuring workplace diversity for women also pertains to implementing company policies to guarantee the following:
- Equal pay (compared to men) for doing jobs with similar workloads/descriptions
- Equal consideration (compared to men) for promotions they are qualified for
- Supporting their careers though pregnancy and maternity leave instead of stagnating them
- Offering working mothers more flexible hours via remote working for better work-life balance
It’s impossible to achieve true workplace diversity without creating a working environment in which all employees feel safe and respected. Companies need to not only put zero-tolerance policies on sexual harassment and sexism in place, but more importantly, implement and prioritize them in 2020.
Removing Unconscious Bias Using AI
Despite best intentions, even organizations that are actively promoting workplace diversity still fall prey to the unconscious biases that humans naturally bring into the workplace. This is particularly true in the hiring process where many resumes will get weeded out based on gender, race and/or age of a candidate because these characteristics are easily identified by information on a resume.
HR technology can help with this. Tech review site G2 Crowd predicted that companies would increase their use of HR software to diminish unconscious bias from their hiring processes by 30% in 2019 and this trend will continue in 2020. AI technology can be programmed to avoid unconscious bias during the hiring process by ignoring demographic information when sourcing candidates and screening resumes.
Furthermore, AI can also be tested for any in-built bias by performing demographic data checks on the applicants it sources and screens. Human intervention can rectify any unequal exclusion it may have.
Using Data to Test Workplace Diversity Initiatives
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. One of the biggest challenges organizations today face in improving workplace diversity is not being able to measure the effectiveness of the practices they put in place. Companies have realized that they need to test their initiatives by collecting the necessary data.
In 2020, companies can stop operating blindly and start using data to see how effective their diversity initiatives actually are. HR technology such as TINYpulse, Survey Monkey and Hyphen can be used to collect quantitative data related to workplace diversity such as:
- Frequency of diversity-related incidents e.g. racist/sexist/homophobic micro-aggressions
- Test scores (e.g. how much information employees retain from diversity training programs)
- Survey results (e.g. employee sentiments about how they feel about the latest promotions)
Such data can be used to benchmark and measure the actual impact of the diversity policies in place, and help leadership modify these policies as needed.
Remote Working Goes Mainstream
With tech tools such as Slack, Asana and other HR cloud-based apps, remote working has become easier for organizations to accommodate and leverage for higher productivity. A study by the International Working Group (IWG) found that 70% of employees across the globe worked remotely every week in 2018, proving that remote working has become the norm and is no longer just a quirky exception.
This is yet another important workplace diversity tool that will continue to grow in 2020, because remote working is particularly useful for working parents, disabled workers, and those taking care of a family member with special needs.
What does diversity look like for your company in 2020?
It’s important to understand the difference between having a diversity policy and having a company culture centered around diversity. There are several HR tools that can help your company excel at creating a work environment that is not only inclusive but wills also attract the most valuable resources to your team. Let the professionals at ASB Resources help you chose the right tools to enhance your diversity strategy and build a set of actionable steps to ingrain these practices into your company culture. Schedule a call with one of our experts today!