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  • Writer's pictureDiego Tomasino

3 Come Out! DEI Trends for 2022

A new year begins, so first of all…cheers!! 🥂

2022 opens its days framed in a context that is still quite volatile and ambiguous not only for companies but for the whole world. New normalities are adapting day by day according to the progress of the vaccines, and the new variants that still insist on appearing. With regard to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues, it becomes necessary to establish a solid framework as organizations increasingly tend to focus on people, and the need to support their talents to adapt to this reality.

So, what drives and what are the trends of DEI for this year that has just begun?

In several publications on the subject, 3 very clear points have been positioned: change towards the remote workforce; establishment of “new normal” policies; and the use of artificial intelligence to attract and retain the right talent.

1) Shift to remote workforce 💻

It is already known that remote work is here to stay and has shaped our organizational culture. Even many of the companies that have forced their staff to return 100% to physical offices have found that a large part of their payroll has extended their resignation letter (Bye, Felicia!!). Workers have been through a lot in the last twenty months, and many people are reevaluating the balance of their career and personal life. According to some studies, 75% of people would like to work from home two or more days a week[1] and 64% would put aside the extra money and opt for the benefits of remote work[2].

What does this mean from a DEI perspective? For starters, telecommuting allows us to consider a more diverse and geographically dispersed workforce. However, we should also consider more equitable approaches and ask ourselves:

· Is it possible for all team members to work from home?

· Those who have obligations in the office, can they work some days at home?

· How many people have the option of some kind of asynchronous work schedule?

· How do we ensure equitable access to remote technologies and systems? (quality equipment, fast internet, functional accessibility to equipment, etc.)

· Are we using truly inclusive virtual or hybrid media, through the use of closed caption or subtitles, pronouns in Zoom sessions, or sign language?

From a support networking, coaching and mentoring standpoint, HR teams will be challenged with finding creative ways to build an online business culture and bringing remote teams together in an inclusive and equitable manner.

2) Establishment of “New Normal” policies and benefits 🤸‍♂️

One thing is for sure. The pandemic changed our priorities. Not only did we realize that most of us can work from home, but we have also begun to prioritize our well-being.

In 2022, companies will have to think about fairness in the workplace from the point of view of establishing policies and benefits related to reducing stress levels and even reducing the working hours, but, above all, focusing on the “Employee experience

Examples of questions and situations that we are likely to encounter are:

· Can I have the option to work from home because I feel uncomfortable returning to the office?

· My partner or a close family member has contracted Covid-19 and I would have to quarantine and take care of them. In terms of work, can I take some time off?

· Does everyone need to be vaccinated before returning to the office? What about those people who choose not to?

Some possible SOLUTIONS to the above are:

· Write and communicate policies that support those affected by the pandemic (mentally and physically), such as paid time off, access to health professionals, etc.

· Create a company culture that fosters compassion and empathy; making sure that it permeates to people who work remotely.

· Promote long-term DEI strategies that go beyond pure compliance, adding training and permanent learning.

· Improve communication channels and regularly check-in with your employees to see how they are dealing with their emotions and personal challenges.

As COVID-19 affects various communities, individuals, and families differently, it will undoubtedly raise questions about fairness in the workplace. This is something that talent teams and HR leaders will need to start thinking about and creating policies around this new normal.

3) Using artificial intelligence to attract and retain the right talent 🤖

As a consequence of the pandemic, many companies still have thin margins and restricted expenses. While HR and Diversity is one of the areas where investments are seen as costliest, at the same time, there is an even more significant need to hire and gain talent quickly, given the steep ramp-up of operations. This trend was evident in 2021 and, in 2022, the ability to quickly hire quality candidates en masse will be a competitive advantage for those companies that know how to do it.

It would not be possible to select candidates in a timely, effective, and highly personalized manner without the help of artificial intelligence (AI); since this has become the best way to speed up and automate these processes.

Handing over manual tasks to AI automates workflow and frees up the hiring team to focus on more creative, higher-value tasks. This means that candidates can receive a better hiring experience, among other activities that are crucial to attracting and keeping talent in the company.

However, it is always important to evaluate these algorithms with different groups of people to prevent them from being influenced by unconscious biases from the people who has programmed them.

As you can see, to build a solid culture and efficient processes around DEI - one capable of resisting and adapting to constant changes - requires more than just a non-discrimination policy. Let´s remember that research by Glassdoor[3] that reveals that 67% of job candidates consider workplace diversity very important when looking for a company.

This is why companies must first learn how to make DEI a priority, by alignning themselves with these trends that will mark our next 12 months.

My greatest wish for this year 2022 is that we get more and more companies out of the closet! 🚪🌈

Get your edition of “Come Out! Las empresas también tienen que salir del clóset” on Amazon in Spanish and Portugues

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