Is your organization’s technology supporting your DEI efforts?
By Dave Shull
Strange as it may seem, the workplace of five years ago had more in common with the workplace of a hundred years ago than with the workplace of today. For starters, almost everyone used to sit in the office.
And while the workplace concept has changed rapidly and permanently, the drivers of this change may not be as obvious as they seem.
Admittedly, the pandemic caused many of the seismic shifts that happened in most workplaces. Before 2020, only 34% of employees worked from home; by the end of that year, the rate was 87%, according to the Metrigy Research Workplace Collaboration Management and Endpoints 2021-22 survey. More employees than ever are now working remotely ‘by design’. In 2021, only 6% of contact center employees had to work in the office.
These shifts only get faster with time. But it is no longer the pandemic that is driving this change. It’s the staff themselves.
This is the age of employee empowerment. As people increasingly demand – or seek and find – the work experience they deserve, your organization must ensure that two crucial aspects of this experience work together.
One of them is technology. Not every organization has felt ready to suddenly switch to a remote working model for continuity, but many have adapted by embracing the operational and cost benefits of this model and adopting new information technology (IT) standards to achieve this. to support. High-quality audio and video tools can enable real-time remote connectivity and collaboration that is as seamless as any in-person experience.
Another aspect is inclusivity. In any successful business strategy, the human need for employee representation should not just be an afterthought for growth.
A forward-thinking organization has once seen its diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as supportive of its mission. But today a thoughtful approach is not enough; Leading and growing depends on putting DEI at the heart of the corporate mission.
Most leading organizations see both IT and DEI as essential to their success. But not everyone sees the symbiosis between DEI and IT: the understanding that empowering employees through representation depends on technology, and empowering employees with the right technology depends on representation.
An organization’s DEI and technology come together as work equality: the principle that everyone in the workforce deserves a place at the table and the assurance that they feel seen, heard and understood with total clarity. More than an ideal, employment equality is a necessity to thrive, succeed and retain talent in an era where employees have many choices about where and how to work.
A one-size-fits-most approach no longer applies, as not all business technology supports fairness and not all employees have a static work environment.
The remote working model that is so prevalent today often sharpens the contrast between excellent and inferior work technology. Every employee is an individual and every individual works with different variables. Consider:An employee who is accustomed to using professional cameras typically found in conference rooms for webinars or important client meetings now relies on a lower-resolution camera used at home. An employee who is prone to exposing their home to their co-workers may go off-camera or on mute during a meeting, diminishing their presence and voice. An employee who does not have reliable, high-quality audio and video technology can experience additional stress, confusion, inefficiency and miscommunication. An executive who previously relied on on-site technical assistance may need additional professional equipment and support to conduct video conferences at home or on the road.
Every situation calls for improvement in labor equality, both by directing operations with empathy for different attitudes, scenarios and lifestyles, and by offering communication technology that makes it possible to meet equality. In short, it requires expertise from an organization, both in its IT and in its people.
freedom of choice
In this moment of change, the workforce is in charge. More opportunities are available and more people are looking forward to them.
As organizations compete for talent, equipping the workforce with equitable tools has never been more important. An organization that provides high-quality technology that supports continuity of work, regardless of location, can hire better people — and maintain a happier, more productive workforce — than competitors that fall short on job equality.
When selecting IT to optimize work equality, many leading organizations partner with external partners with an in-depth source of workplace research, data and expertise that can help illuminate the range of values and pain points of their workforce, and the ways IT is fair representation, visibility and inclusiveness for all, no matter where or how they work.
Learn how Poly can help your organization align employees’ work styles and technology to support and advance DEI principles.
Dave Shull is the president and CEO of Poly and a member of its board of directors.
This post Is your organization’s technology supporting your DEI efforts? was original published at “https://hbr.org/sponsored/2022/03/does-your-organizations-technology-support-your-dei-efforts”