We often talk about EX Design and Diversity & Inclusion as completely separate channels of work. The reality is that the two are intrinsically and crucially linked. An exceptional employee experience
In the spirit of #InternationalWomensDay2021, we wanted to put the spotlight on how you can connect your EX and DE&I (or DIBS or D&I..) initiatives this year.
The Workplace of The Future
Regardless of your approach to returning-to-work, taking the time to consider how your workplace strategy impacts ALL employees in 2021 is crucial. Several organizations are still trying to figure out how to 're-board' employees and/or operate in a fully or partially remote working environment.
Returning to the office as 'normal' might seem like a reasonable ask but for many, the pandemic has permanently transformed caring and parenting responsibilities as well as financial obligations. Similarly, offering a hybrid environment might seem like to most equitable approach to workplace design but that solution also presents some challenges, particularly when the opportunity to return to the office isn't availed to all.
How can you ensure your workplace experience strategy works for all?
Engage with your employees and listen to their feedback on the returning process
Consciously engage with employee groups who don't represent the 'majority'
Ensure a diverse range of perspectives are included in the design of your workplace strategy
Implement an agile approach. Be open to change and respond to demands as they arise.
Don't be afraid to try out approaches and adapt based on the feedback
Virtual Working Experience
In addition to the above, we need to pause and reflect on the virtual working experience this year. The demands of last year's transition to remote working have created new habits and ways of working - some good, some bad and many that disproportionately impact some demographics more than others.
The always-on and always-available mindset we've seen emerge over the last year has created a wealth of challenges for employees. Frankly, the ease at which we schedule zoom meetings and create slack channels is overwhelming for all. In a bid to support work-life balance, many organizations offered flexibility with schedules, allowing employees to fit their calls around their home schedules.
But have we created a new and more challenging beast to contend with? Have we inadvertently blurred the lines in a way that certain employee groups (working parents) are adversely affected?
The virtual working experience also impacts the resourcing process. How can we ensure we're hiring diverse talent despite the remote working environment? Have new biases emerged as a result of remote interviewing?
From a DEI perspective, we need to consider how the virtual working experience impacts certain demographics within our organizations in particular.
How can we create a virtual working experience that works for all?
Ask your employees for specific feedback on the virtual working environment - regular pulse checks are crucial. Make sure your feedback process supports open and confidential sharing
Make having your video on optional. Some employees aren't comfortable sharing their background and some are balancing calls with parental responsibilities
As above, ensure your virtual interview process support all candidates. If your candidates have impaired hearing or visibility, how will you support them? What solutions can you use?
Gather some data on the volume and times of the virtual meetings if you can. Try to understand if there are routines/patterns emerging with team meetings that may impact some employees more than others.
Consider how accessible your virtual tools are. Conducting a regular audit helps to ensure you're implementing and using tools that work for all employees.
Build Your Design Team
Consciously connect your initiatives! If you're building an EX design team or you're embarking on an EX-centric project, make sure your DEI team are on your design committee. Likewise, involve your EX designers in DEI initiatives and projects.
It helps ensure programmes of change represent the needs of your entire employee population. That said, it's no replacement for having a diverse range of employees on your design committee too!
Schedule a regular cross-functional review of your DEI and EX strategies to make sure your teams are in pursuit of the same goals - an awesome, equitable and inclusive working experience.
We hope that helps! Let us know how you're partnering with your DEI team in the comments below.