Companies are embracing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts eagerly, but their pursuit comes at a time when the workforce continues to change.

The push for DEI became mainstream in 2021, as more businesses made the initiative a core organizational goal. As a result, many businesses have benefited from the changes made in hiring, retention and management of employees. They’ve hired private DEI firms, like Unsiloed – Inclusion and Diversity Consulting Firm. They’ve expanded employee groups designed to encourage workers to share their feelings and struggles.

But the trends in 2022 for DEI come as a result of workplace changes, like remote work and more job vacancies. Stay on top of these trends as your business navigates the challenges and rewards of a robust DEI effort.

Increased use of remote work

Businesses rarely relied on remote work before the global pandemic, but the practice flourished after COVID-19. Workers enjoyed the flexibility and savings that remote work offered. Companies realized they could cut overhead costs by using remote work and meet worker demands for flexibility.

But remote work can impact DEI efforts. A scattered workforce can make it more difficult for employees to connect. It can be more cumbersome for workers to actively recruit diverse opinions on projects. In some cases, remote working conditions can differ among employees who may not feel comfortable admitting they struggle with the arrangement. Companies must understand these challenges and create solutions to overcome them. It is important to make sure that every worker has the same resources and opportunities while working remotely.

Ongoing pandemic problems

Businesses quickly adjusted to changes in worker behavior after the pandemic began, and they will need to continue to adapt. Companies responded to the pandemic by offering workers flexibility to do their job remotely. Some offered incentives to employees for vaccinations. But even after business restrictions were lifted and vaccinations became popular, companies faced challenges.

Their DEI efforts now include accommodating employees who are opposed to vaccinations or returning to the office. They must consider long-term strategies for workers who face challenges with relatives who become ill or are displaced by the virus, such as new time-off policies.

Talent recruiting and retention

An unexpected outcome of the pandemic was employees leaving their jobs. The pandemic forced workers to re-evaluate their careers and companies to assess how they hire. Businesses with DEI initiatives can incorporate the principles into recruiting and retention. Remote work allows businesses to expand the pool of applicants for an opening. Employee groups created early in the DEI process can inform businesses about what workers need to stay.

But it also will require companies to think differently about hiring and screening talent. They must ensure that screening tools don’t exclude some candidates they should be considering. They must look for ways to train existing employees for higher-skilled jobs. The process of adapting continues long after the pandemic, and this can be good news for DEI efforts.

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