One of the many things that 2020 has shown us is the importance of remote work for the safety of employees and for the continued success of organizations. Working from home has become more commonplace and has created more opportunities for organizations to expand. It has also had a significant impact on diversity and inclusivity within companies. An inclusive environment does not happen overnight but is a sustained effort from employers to grow and strengthen these areas. Below are some ways that remote work is increasing diversity and inclusion.
1. There’s a Demand for Both Inclusivity and Remote Work
For many job seekers, inclusivity is not a want but a need when searching for employment. Recent McKinsey research showed that 39% of respondents have turned down or chosen not to pursue jobs in fields because it appeared there was no inclusivity within the company. McKinsey also showed a link between the diversity and financial performances of companies, significantly when gender and ethnic diversity are improved. Such statistics show the value of creating and maintaining remote-work positions, which increase diversity.
2. Geography No Longer a Limiting Factor
In the past, companies were limited by their physical location, and they either needed to recruit talent locally (or regionally) or be prepared to aid in a relocation. If they weren’t open to supporting a relocation by reimbursing some expenses or offering a higher salary (or adding key benefits), they were limited by the number of candidates who were willing to relocate. Since geographic location no longer has the impact that it once did, companies can broaden their horizons and reach a diverse pool of candidates they previously did not have access to.
3. Remote Work Enhances Accessibility
In the current climate of increased remote work, organizations open themselves to a wider range of talent who need to work at least part of the time from home – including those who care for other family members, those who have a disability that makes working on site challenging, and those who just want a higher degree of flexibility to improve their work-life balance. Hiring and onboarding remote employees also gives fewer opportunities for inherent bias to be a factor in the vetting, interviewing, and hiring process.
These are just a few of the ways that remote work is increasing inclusivity and diversity. You can also cultivate inclusivity by being open to the culture and ideas brought by new hires and creating a workplace that accepts them for who they are. Utilizing both a group and individual-level behavioral assessment can help foster better understanding and empathy. Show interest in people’s needs and acknowledge them. This will help eliminate potential distractions and create an open work environment to bring concerns forward and alleviate possible stumbling blocks.
Thanks to the internet, remote work has opened access to a diverse range of employees that companies previously could not access. Remote work will continue to bring more diverse job seekers to apply; but it will also bring innovative ideas, cost savings, and improved productivity to organizations.
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