Sometimes it’s easy for things to fall off the radar if they
aren’t right in front of us. The latest Institute for Corporate Productivity
(i4cp) research suggests that may be just what’s happening to Diversity &
Inclusion initiatives in a significant number of companies that have shifted to
remote work in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
A new pulse survey of D&I leaders found 27% reporting
that their organizations have put all or most D&I initiatives on hold
because of their response to the pandemic. The same percentage note a decrease
in mentoring and ERG/BRG (employee/business resource group) activity. And 12%
say that D&I is less of a consideration when companies are making decisions
about such workforce changes as reductions, promotions, special assignments and
Which, if any, of the following has your organization
experienced or initiated during the pandemic?
An all-that-apply response
option means total exceeds 100%
With all the challenges organizations and individuals are
facing at present, this is no time to fall back on the tendency to regard
D&I initiatives as nice-to-haves (versus business imperatives). Or to
forget the returns that investments in D&I can realize in supporting
culture, business strategy, leadership diversity, organizational performance,
employee engagement and other vital corporate concerns.
In fact, the good news delivered by the survey findings demonstrates
that many organizations clearly haven’t forgotten. On the positive side:
- 82% of respondents have increased use of
inclusive virtual meeting practices
- 74% say they’ve gained a better
understanding of employees’ personal situations and needs
- 16% report more mentoring and ERG/BRG
- 6% say they see greater consideration of
D&I in workforce-related decision-making
Companies engaging in those positive practices understand
that, while the COVID-19 health threats will, ultimately, pass, organizations’
responses to current work challenges can have long-lasting effects—on talent
brand, employee and customer sentiment, and more.
Now is the time to visibly focus on the ROI of D&I to
ensure that companies keep in place the programs that help strengthen
communication and connections with diverse employees. Those programs will help
ensure that you have the capable, dedicated constituents who will help their organizations
through the new and different challenges still to come when recovery eventually
Among other areas of interest explored by the D&I pulse
survey: whether companies are providing resources to ensure women and
minorities maintain visibility while working remotely (few are), the well-being
resources organizations are sharing with their workforces (mental health
support tops the list) and whether D&I teams are seeing their job functions
the full survey results—due
to the current global health and productivity crisis affecting everyone, i4cp
is making all related ongoing research publicly available.
encourage you to visit i4cp.com/coronavirus for other employer resources including discussion forums, next
practices, useful resources, and more.