For the final i4cp Diversity & Inclusion Action Call of the year, facilitator Jacqui Robertson asked the D&I and other professionals in attendance to share some of the lessons they’d learned in 2020 and to comment on some of the D&I priorities their organizations expect will shape their efforts in 2021.
Key Ideas Shared Today:
- What 2020 taught D&I professionals – lessons learned
- Continuing remote work opportunities begun in response to the pandemic will be a must for organizations. Attendees pointed out that remote options will still be necessary, not only because of the ongoing uncertainty of the health crisis, but also to enable organizations to compete for talent against other firms that will continue to offer remote work opportunities.
- Making remote work a permanent option was also noted as a strategy to help stem the flow of female talent out of organizations because of expectations imposed on women by the pandemic (home-schooling children, caring for children or other dependents, etc.).
- At the onset of the pandemic, leaders and organizations needed to and did respond quickly and decisively to prioritize employee safety. Flexibility was vital.
- In many companies, employees turned to each other for support, marshalled and shared resources, and built a greater sense of community and collaboration.
- Employee resource groups (ERGs/BRGs) stepped up to sustain communications, act as liaisons between companies and employees, and help reinforce organizational cultures; they continue to expand those roles.
- Priorities for 2021
- Re-thinking the structure of jobs and the duties and actions they require of employees as a step toward determining which jobs are appropriate for remote, onsite, or hybrid (combined) work environments.
- Evaluating organizational needs and jobs to determine appropriate work settings, ranging from fully remote, to fully on-site, and hybrids combining the two. Some organizations are surveying employees for their input.
- Understanding the implications for corporate real estate decisions will be a priority for 2021 as companies make decisions about who will return to workplaces. Some anticipate making office space in their facilities available as needed for employees who work remotely some of the time (practice known as hoteling).
- Need to hold leaders accountable for diversity and inclusion will increase in 2021. Conversation centered on ways organizations are likely to do that and how to ensure that companies are incentivizing the correct leader behaviors.
- Companies are looking at the work ERG/BRG leaders do and considering how to compensate them more effectively for their contributions.
- Organizations are considering how to ensure that D&I efforts are institutionalized enterprise-wide. Further, that diversity initiatives begun in response to events in 2020 continue to evolve.
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