How to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Remote Work

June 17, 2020 by Verified First

How to Foster Diversity & Inclusion in Remote Work

From faster problem-solving to greater creativity, there are so many benefits to embracing and fostering diversity and inclusion initiatives in your workplaces. The stats below are just a glimpse. 

  • Gartner research found that a 20% increase in organizational inclusion increases on-the-job effort by nearly 6.2%
  • More inclusive organizations also receive a 5% increase in employee loyalty to an organization and a nearly 3% increase in individual employee performance overall. 
  • According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with higher-than-average diversity also had 19% higher innovation revenues. 
  • Companies with diverse executives also experienced 19% higher revenue overall (BCG).

But, even if we can all agree on the benefits of inclusive and diverse workplaces, what do we do when our workplaces have become our dining tables, couches, and home offices? How do we continue to build on our diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives in today’s remote work environment? Well, here are four ways you can continue to foster diversity & inclusion in remote work.  

Equip Leaders with Tools for Inclusion.

Your employees may be unsure about how to promote D&I in your organization. In fact, Gartner research found that only one-third of employees agree that they have the ability to influence inclusion within their organization. Your leadership team should set the tone with celebrating differences, embracing diversity, and encouraging inclusiveness. 

Not only should your leadership itself be diverse and represent the many people of your organization—both internal and external—but it should also be committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. What does that look like for you remote leaders? A little something like this:

  • Focusing on team growth: Now, more than ever, your management team should prioritize team growth. Help them look for ways they can create inclusive (and virtual) team activities such as team lunches, team game nights, etc. 
  • Setting the tone for communication: Communication is even more important in virtual work settings. Help your leadership team set the tone by supporting honest and transparent communication and by encouraging them to listen to the diverse voices in your organization.
  • Being effective with conflict: D&I strategies can still face apprehension today; give your managers tips on how to effectively and productively address conflict and embrace the differences among your workforce.

Offer Employees Inclusive Resource Groups.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a great way to foster an inclusive workplace environment, remotely. ERGs are employee-led groups that are traditionally formed based on similar traits group members possess. Now, however, would be a great time for HR to encourage non-ERG members to get engaged and involved.

Start by identifying the ERGs at your company that have the potential to bridge gaps among employees and offer a safe place for employees to connect, chat, and learn from one another. Encourage ERG hosts or leaders to invite new hires and non-members to join the conversation. Whether it be about race and ethnicity or how to care for a sick loved one, encourage your employees to embrace one another, their differences, their struggles, and their hopes. This is truly the time to come together and be vulnerable, honest, and real. 

Once you’ve identified ERGs open to making themselves available for transparent and honest conversations with members and nonmembers, hold a virtual lunch or webinar for employees to attend. Let the conversations be open and engaging.

Be Inclusive When Hiring.

With remote working comes remote hiring. Don’t let hiring remotely change your hiring strategy when promoting diversity and inclusion. If your hiring strategy doesn’t currently align with your D&I initiative, consider implementing objective hiring.

Objective hiring removes barriers for diverse groups that are susceptible to biased hiring practices, allowing you to focus on what matters most: their qualifications. Consider adding these objective hiring processes to your remote hiring strategy:

  • Blind screening resumes. To help remove unconscious bias when hiring.
  • Providing pre-hire assessments. To quantify the skills and experiences of candidates objectively.
  • Background screening every candidate. To better ensure you’re making your hiring decisions on the facts. 

Including objective hiring practices in your remote hiring strategy can not only help increase innovation and revenue but it can also improve your employee retention of quality hires. 

Be Accessible.

Last, but certainly not least, be accessible to everyone. A lot of changes have occurred over the past few months, and there are bound to be even more. Continue to be there for your employees—all of them. Remind them that they can always come to you to share feedback and voice their concerns. 

To learn more about how you can effectively implement D&I initiatives in your hiring strategy, check out our diversity and inclusion resource page!

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About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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