Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) incentives make great leaps and bounds every year, but many will acknowledge that more can still be achieved in 2022. Learning how to live with the pandemic, entering a world of hybrid and remote work as the norm, and seeing a boost in entrepreneurial confidence, all present new trends to embrace.
In this article, we will put the following diversity trends under the spotlight:
- Hiring diversity professionals
- Driving systemic change in the workplace
- Working to eliminate unconscious bias
- Moving on from tokenism
- Welcoming all demographics back into work
Hiring Diversity Professionals
One of the prominent reasons why a company lacks diversity is because the hiring team themselves, those in HR, often represent the same demographic. In 2022, you’ll start to see diversity professionals come in and change that, especially in larger organizations that are openly embracing a broader workforce.
A diversity professional is someone who comes in with the mission to create an inclusive workplace that is welcoming to all. It’s a drop of HR, a dab of recruitment, a smidge of leadership, and a whole lot of hard work!
Tasks you might see diversity professionals doing include:
- Hosting educational workshops about diversity and inclusion
- Making the workplace more inclusive through different activities, comms and events
- Creating digital content about DEI in the organization
- Adjusting corporate language to make it more inclusive
- Taking the lead of complaints regarding harassment and discrimination
- Getting involved in the hiring process to help encourage more diverse applicants and hires
As diversity in the workplace increases this year, hiring professionals with the sole mission of progressing the movement will only naturally expand.
Driving Systemic Change in the Workplace
2020 forced some of the most drastic workplace changes since the introduction of the computer or the mobile phone. What it did was shine a massive light on organizational structures and say ‘we are inefficient and outdated!’. Institutions soon realized that the changes forced on them by the pandemic often led to more productivity, happier workers, and fewer expenses.
If only that was true for all. Black and Hispanic workers suffered the most, especially in the US where there is the most data available. Black Lives Matter became a significant global movement in the light of the murders of George Floyd and countless others. Health and economic security were more real and dangerous, statistically speaking, to the Black and Latino communities, who find fewer opportunities in office-based work.
In 2022, expect to see major organizations become more transparent about their need to change internally and externally. The system needs to work for all. Leaders must not only work to create policies that enact real change to support under-represented groups, but they should ensure that the workplace allows everyone to feel safe and supported.
Promoting racial equity in the workplace can look like this:
- Increasing the awareness of problems
- Trying different remedies to solve the root causes of discrimination, such as cognitive biases, ideological worldviews, psychological insecurity, perceived threat, power plays, and personality clashes
- Investing in employee education on the topic
- Building a community of friendship and support
- Making sure that people of color don’t need to (or feel they need to) work twice as hard as their white colleagues
Working to Eliminate Subconscious Bias
Not all subconscious bias is about color. Ageism, ableism, sexism, and xenophobia all affect the thinking of many people. Add to that the discrimination against working parents, pregnant colleagues, those with different religions, and sexual orientation, and there are many ways in which subconscious bias happens.
If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it happens when people make decisions based on unconscious or inherent feelings or prejudices about a person or a group of people. In the workplace, where the majority of leaders are older straight white males, it is anyone who doesn’t fit into that box who may feel that decisions are not going their way for discriminatory reasons.
Biases must be addressed, checked, and destroyed with regularity. Easier said than done. Perhaps a diversity professional would help!
Moving on From Tokenism
In the past, some businesses took a quick-fix approach to diversity in the workplace by having one female manager, or one person of color in the office. This is tokenism, meeting a minimum requirement to give fake appearances.
DEI initiatives can not only help to welcome a more diverse group of people into the organization, but they can also solve tokenism and as a result, offer so many new perspectives.
Businesses should do away with token efforts to falsely show they’re politically correct or diverse, and instead, intentionally include diversity into their long-term strategy.
Welcoming All Demographics Back into Work
The start of the pandemic saw a lot of people leave not only the workplace but the workforce entirely. Now, as the high number of vacant jobs becomes a problem in many countries, businesses will start to welcome back all sorts of people into work. This open-mindedness is a good thing.
Baby boomers, who might not be working as they approach retirement, could reconsider their contributions to the workforce, as more interesting and welcoming jobs come up that do not challenge them so much physically.
Women who bear much of the responsibility of child-rearing might also decide to go back to work now that their kids are back in school and the worst of the pandemic is over. In the US, over 3 million women left the labor force, many deciding not to return.
Generation Z, those who are under 25 essentially, represent the youngest demographic of a multigenerational workforce, and they have so much to offer. In fact, these digital natives often quickly find themselves in advanced positions because of their ability to solve problems and drive progress quickly through technological solutions.
Welcoming a diverse and multigenerational workforce can be achieved by:
- Helping with child transportation and care
- Continued safety protocols related to COVID-19
- Remote or hybrid work as standard
- Subsiding gym memberships, food shopping, and commuting costs
- Paid sick leave, more vacation days, mental health days
Our Final Thoughts
Every generation and demographic offers something different and expects something different from their careers. They bring different perspectives, skills, and knowledge. Each generation solves problems differently. Every demographic brings great attributes and abilities through their diversity. This year and next, consider these diversity in the workplace trends and you watch or influence how your employer transitions.