Trends to Watch in DEI
Diversity and Inclusion Trends that affect Workplace Culture
Diversity and Inclusion trends have become a hot subject of conversation in workplaces all across the world. These trends affect culture from the CEO all the way to a new employee straight out of college.
“In 2023, many companies will be looking for ways to recession-proof their businesses, which will include investing in upskilling current employees,” says Mandy Price, Co-founder and CEO of Kanarys. “This presents a unique opportunity for female and nonbinary leaders to demonstrate their leadership capabilities by strengthening both hard technical skills and soft interpersonal ones that are critical for managing teams during this time of reorganization.”
Eliminating Unconscious Bias
There is also a vigorous push to eliminate unconscious bias in the workplace. Many employees have been enrolled in training classes for the past few years. The idea is to give workers the tools to eliminate shortcuts that could lead to quick judgments of a situation without taking in the whole picture.
McKinsey, a global management consulting firm, said in 2017 that each year more than $8 billion is spent on diversity training.
In The End of Bias: A Beginning author Jessica Nordell explores inherent and subtle biases that exist everywhere.
“I think what people might be surprised to know is that the subtle, ambiguous, everyday bias that’s pervasive in organizations and workplaces—not to mention in education, healthcare, and public safety—is actually more detrimental to our performance than explicit bias,” Nordell, a science journalist and speaker, told McKinsey’s Global Publishing’s ‘Author Talks’. “If we are in a workplace and are dealing with bias and discrimination that are hard to pin down—where there could be some plausible deniability, where we’re not sure exactly what’s happening—it’s a much bigger drain.”
Bridging the gap in a Multigenerational Workforce
Currently, some workforces consist of more than 5 generations and each one has their own perspectives of how workplaces should be treated. Many feel discussing politics in the workplace is a big no-no. But the younger generations are more apt to take part in these previously taboo subjects in the office.
“With the next presidential election coming up in 2024, conversations around political issues will only heat up. 71% of workers under the age of 35 and 61% of workers between 35 and 45 agreed that all employees should be able to actively discuss their political opinions at work,” said Price. “With political affiliation bias having risen by 12 percentage points in the past three years, companies should be proactive about developing DEI policies and guidelines in place to help eliminate conflict.”
Greater Understanding of Gender Identity
Recognizing workers' gender expression is extremely important in showing up as your authentic self at work. This concept is one of high priority in many workplaces whether it be a small business or a Fortune 500 company. This includes but is not limited to gender neutral restrooms, resource groups endorsed by the organization allowing and encouraging people to be themselves.
Transgender and nonbinary employees are protected under Title VII, making any form of discrimination illegal. This has prompted many companies to develop guidelines to avoid misgendering co-workers and specific training to further outline non-discriminatory policies.
Mental Health Awareness is Important
More and more companies are being intentional about the importance of mental health. Many offer access to health care professionals at discounted rates or free memberships to apps like Calm and Unmind.
Reports from the American Psychological Association say 90% of Gen Z experienced symptoms associated from stress in the last year. Companies are gaining a greater understanding that a multidimensional workforce includes those coming from different states of mind.
One thing is certain with a workforce increasingly aware of its surroundings and increased inclusivity of people from different backgrounds and cultures makes for a stronger workforce.
“One of the most exciting things about this generation of young leaders is they are not only ready to take on the world,” said Price. “They are bringing a unique set of skills that will shape the future workplace.”
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