Once a luxury for a precious few, there are now more remote jobs particularly in the corporate world than ever before. So what impact does remote work have on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts?
DEI used to be nice to have. With candidates and employees in the driver's seat and an increasingly diverse workforce seeking jobs, it has become essential since these days, candidates' desire to work for an organization is about more than location and compensation. They want to work for a company as diverse as the world they've come to know and as diverse as they consider themselves. Otherwise, they question why those values aren't reflected and move on.
Companies have responded to DEI in different ways and with varying levels of commitment. The best examples engrain DEI into their work culture. A case in point is CVS Health and WeWork, which have created dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion resources for employees and candidates on their websites.
Truly progressive organizations establish DEI offices, invest in development programs for employees across the board, introduce "employee resource groups" within the organization, launch internal resources, and develop new partnerships with organizations to help educate employees.
In short, if your organization's efforts have thus far been symbolic, improving your DEI is past due. By 2044, groups formerly seen as minorities will reach majority status.
But where do you start? Among the surest ways is employing a robust DEI recruitment strategy that supports remote work.
Remote work grants access to diverse candidates
Over the last few years, global events kept diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) top of mind among employees and job-seekers alike. They also held employers potential or otherwise accountable for policies and systemic barriers within organizations, forcing them to look at and reevaluate their approach to mitigating and breaking down inequalities in the workplace.
As leaders across industries sought the right things to say and do as their employees emotionally processed ongoing acts of systemic racial injustice, much of the workforce was forced to go digital. DEI leaders sought to implement strategies online, with varying degrees of success.
Remote work grants access to diverse candidates
Remote work lets you hire people from all walks of life free of geographic confines and personal circumstances, unlocking a much bigger talent pool. It also opens up candidates who can't or won't work in person. Additionally, promoting remote work also helps organizations ensure DEI in markets with fewer people of color.
The benefits aren't just surface. In addition to bringing together a wide range of minds with differing problem-solving perspectives, DEI positively affects your organization's bottom line. According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, Diversity Matters, companies that employ a diverse workforce see a 35% increase in financial performance.
Remote work promotes a sense of safety
According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, four out of 10 Black and Hispanic adults and a 1/3 of whites say they often or sometimes feel the need to speak differently around colleagues of different races and ethnicities. Particularly among minorities with college degrees.
Working remotely can help some groups feel more comfortable, authentic and free of the dynamics and microaggressions they've experienced in a traditional work environment.
Remote work attracts female talent
The truth is that pandemic job loss impacted genders in different ways. The National Women's Law Center analyzed the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and it showed that male workers regained all pandemic-related job losses from February 2020 to January 2022.
Meanwhile, 1.1 million women left the labor force during that same timeframe and accounted for 63 percent of lost jobs. Many did so not because they wanted to but because schools and daycares closed, rendering them disproportionally responsible for their children and therefore unable to work. Those numbers were particularly staggering among women of color,
A flexible workplace and hours pave the way for attracting female talent.
Where diversity software comes into play
Perhaps you're on board but don't know how to recruit diverse talent. Maybe you've been trying, but your acquisition efforts haven't yielded the desired results. Either way, talent acquisition technology can exponentially kick-start, or fine-tune, the process.
- Programmatic ads let you target diverse candidates by selling your organization's key benefits, such as work/life balance.
- Robust job descriptions can showcase a role's growth potential while telling a compelling, inclusive story about your company.
- Recruitment marketing campaigns and career websites allow you to highlight your work culture and flexibility further.
- Talent assessments let you measure essential skills and narrow down candidates, saving time and effort and reducing the cost of hiring.
- Self-paced on-demand video interviews set the tone for conversational, convenient and candidate-friendly processes on talent's terms.