- Amid widespread discussions on workplace diversity and inclusion, more than half of the 201 HR executives surveyed last month by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said their organizations are "actively working to develop and recognize more diverse talent."
- In response to racial justice protests, 26% of executives said their organizations held guided discussions about race, and about 19% updated their diversity, equity and inclusion policies. More than one-quarter of respondents said their organizations recognized and promoted diverse employees, including women, people of color and "those with seen and unseen diversity," according to the survey data.
- These changes reflect the "profound events" of 2020, the firm said in its analysis, and executives indicated that changes to make the workplace more flexible would be similarly long-lasting. Eighty-four percent said they were providing flexibility to workers, with 64% indicating that flexible schedules were offered to all employees. A strong majority, 95%, said that "some or all elements" of new flexible policies would continue beyond the pandemic.
HR industry stakeholders have identified specific steps employers can take to promote D&I at work. One example, according to a July 2020 Gartner report, is to build coaching relationships between managers and employees that emphasize trust. Employers can also experiment with redesigning jobs to accommodate the needs of diverse talent as well as equitable methods for performance evaluation, the consulting firm said.
The way an organization evaluates managers also can have an impact on the organization's progress on D&I issues, sources previously told HR Dive last year. If managers are experiencing differential turnover between ethnic groups, for example, HR teams can work to determine the factors behind such trends and train leaders to address them.
Last year saw a number of organizations institute upskilling and training programs that had the specific goal of increasing diversity in different fields. General Assembly's CODE for Good program, for example, partnered with several companies to train women and underrepresented groups to fill jobs in technology fields such as software engineering.
As respondents in the Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey acknowledged, employers may need to think through dimensions of diversity beyond race and gender alone when formulating new policies. That could include seeking feedback on which groups are not included in the organization's policies, such as those with invisible disabilities, which range from disability, class, age, religion to sexual orientation, among other characteristics.
Employers can also prioritize inclusion and belonging ahead of improving D&I metrics alone, HR industry veteran Josh Bersin said during a webinar last November. Training, Bersin and other sources noted, may be refocused to emphasize the shared responsibility employees have in creating an inclusive work environment, as well as the importance of D&I in ensuring business success.
Workers have joined employers in welcoming the new flexible work models beyond the pandemic. A December 2020 survey by Citrix Systems found 83% of workers predicted flexible work models would become standard across organizations in 2021, and 88% said they would look for positions that offer "complete flexibility" during their job searches.