Times of crisis may be unsettling, but they can also be the catalyst needed for change. Since it’s unlikely that life will return to exactly how it was before the global coronavirus pandemic, there’s an unparalleled opportunity for leaders to take advantage of. This could be the black swan event that rallies us to address the diversity and inclusion issues we’ve been ignoring for far too long. After all, with organizations turning their focus on HR departments to lead during the stressful time, now’s the time to act.
Plenty of at-risk groups are being left behind to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic as businesses shift to remote work. Mothers still juggling work and childcare are seeing their stress levels magnified as the pandemic took away what little societal support they had, such as schools and daycares, which are now closed across the country. Many have been reluctant to include their partners or initiate potentially difficult conversations about shared parenting.
The digital divide has also worsened — those from poor areas with less reliable internet connections and older generations unfamiliar with tech have more difficulty working from home or attending classes online. Not to mention all the underrepresented groups, such as people of color and the LGBT population, that are now facing isolation without proper peer support, as well as “non-essential” employees who aren’t able to work during this time.
Virtual work has its benefits, with workers’ productivity up 54% during the pandemic due to no commute, less interruption from co-workers, and fewer meetings. However, this positive effect has its limits. This kind of “false-productivity gain” is only happening because employees are working more hours. It’s not sustainable. For long-term performance gain, organizations should focus on improving collaboration and innovating new ways to work that leverages existing and new relationships.
With all eyes on HR, it’s time to use the crisis to show how diversity and inclusion can improve innovation. Using the window of opportunity to establish new norms can bring about meaningful change in your organization. You’ll need to get everyone on your team involved and engaged as you develop a plan to improve company culture and leadership.
Our latest white paper outlines a step by step process on how to do D&I and details Orange Grove Consulting’s research-based analytic approach. What are you waiting for? The opportunity is now. Get started today to see the bottom-line business benefits.
Learn how to address current workplace challenges during this challenging work-from-home period. Our Leadership & Organizational Development for the Pandemic offers virtual synchronous workshops tailored for your organization. Contact Us to learn more.