We are all facing the same challenges, but we do not agree on a universal way to succeed. Covid-19 has hit minorities hardest, and as leaders reshape businesses in the wake of the pandemic, how should the future of work evolve to be more diverse and inclusive?
What To Do So That The Future Of Work Wins In Diversity And Inclusion
Fortunately, the coronavirus has fueled business evolution for the future of work. The most notable aspects of betting on diversity and inclusion are the following:
Future Of Work Solutions Require Diversity
The ongoing turmoil due to the pandemic puts additional pressure on companies looking to build on diversity. However, giving in to this pressure and not betting on diversity would be a mistake. Tackling the myriad of problems posed by Covid-19 requires creative solutions.
And where can we locate that creativity and innovation? Indeed, it is found through diversity, different voices, and various experience points.
It is perhaps no coincidence that certain countries that have managed the health crisis most effectively, such as Iceland and New Zealand, are led by women. It is not necessarily that women are better leaders, but they tend to have a greater diversity of thought. Homogeneous groups do not arrive at the best solutions.
Same Storm, But With Different Ships
We are experiencing the same pandemic, but with vast differences based on geography, economy, health, diversity, and the age of those affected. Leaders must know that saying that we are all in the “same boat” does not reflect reality.
The effect of Covid-19 on employees is very disparate. As lockdowns end, each employee will react very differently. Top talent may want to do things differently. We now know that many jobs can be done effectively from home, so many individuals may not want to return to offices, at least not full time.
Well Marked Inequality
Given that it has been, for the most part, the lowest-paid employees who have kept companies running, shouldn’t it be time to reconsider pay parity?
As with natural disasters, the poorest and minorities suffer the most. In the same way that inequality was exposed in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the area in 2005, the same thing happened with Covid-19 in 2020. We can see where the global economy has succeeded and where it has failed. Labour markets require interventions to mitigate inequality, despite resistance from some business leaders.
Despite all this, it is impossible to return to normal. And even if we could do it, it would not be appropriate or desirable. Our instinct must be collective, not isolationist, in response to the crisis. The concept of wanting to return to normality as we know it is a very strong instinct, but it is wrong. Leaders must reimagine new systems and define business success in human terms and sustainability terms, not just financial terms.
The crisis is a defining moment as leaders must decide what they want to keep and what they need to change. Businesses still need to make money, but behavioural changes will be the key drivers in post-Covid labour evolution.
New Effective And Active Measures
The evolution towards remote work and the digital tools that enable it could embed bias in the workplace instead of freeing us from it. Some workers who are “overheard” or “softly heard” in meetings will not change, as those encounters are now happening virtually.
Some of the companies that managed to recover best from the economic crisis of 2008 were those that invested in technology and their employees. Therefore, you have to keep investing. It’s almost counterintuitive when companies hoard cash and cut costs.
Once decisions are made, how they are communicated is also key. The crisis requires leaders to speak openly, frequently, and honestly. They must be willing to “show their work” to those around them.
Without a more diverse and inclusive future of work, what was learned during the health crisis will have been for nothing. The business world must take note and not be convinced by ineffective and outdated customs.
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