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February 9 2021 - Prioritizing diversity in your workplace incites a sense of inclusion in each employee that prompts high productivity levels. The shift to remote work environments due to the Covid-19 pandemic put a spotlight on how companies planned to continue their diversity and inclusion initiatives.
As an HR professional, youíve probably experienced the sigh of relief from an employee after telling them about your culturally-driven professional programs. Or maybe youíve had the pleasure of sitting in on one of your companyís events with keynote speakers spanning a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
However youíve experienced your companyís commitment to diversity and inclusion up until this point, itís safe to assume that youíll now need to shift your strategies and prioritize celebrating diversity and inclusion from a distance. Here are 6 ways to encourage diversity and inclusion in a remote work environment.
6 Ways to Encourage Diversity and Inclusion in a Remote Work Environment
Encouraging diversity and inclusion in a remote work environment will require an extra effort in ensuring the initiatives are carried out appropriately, wholly, and with the new needs of your workforce visible.
Diversity and inclusion are key to constructing a workforce that is creative, adaptive, collaborative, productive, and profitable. They bring together a pool of bright minds that foster individual ideas about:
- Solving company challenges
- Effective remote work
- In-person collaboration
- Company organization
- Growth strategies
- Product/service suggestions
- Career development
Letís discuss how you can further diversity and inclusion in the remote workplace.
Host Weekly Check-Ins
Your remote workers need consistent communication to feel included. Scheduling a weekly check-in could be the difference between a completed project and an unfinished one. Your older employees will especially benefit from these check-ins because it will be a bit more of a challenge for them to adapt to a remote work environment. These weekly check-ins can ensure theyíre navigating the technology well and arenít experiencing burnout.
Since youíre unable to see workers each week, itís important to prioritize time for phone sessions, video calls, or email exchanges with remote workers. These check-in conversations can include questions like:
- Are you getting the support you need from your managers?
- How are you feeling about your workload this week?
- How close did you come to completing your work goals for last week?
- Do you like the platforms and technology options for your remote work?
- Do you have any specific needs for the week?
- What can I do to support you this week?
- Employ Diverse Recruitment and Onboarding Strategies
Recruiting employees with diversity and inclusion at the forefront will require an authentic understanding of how each individual can potentially impact the growth of the company. Youíll also need to appreciate how their Onboarding employees remotely will require a bit more attention to building a personal relationship. You should thoroughly discuss how your remote workplace functions as well as how the company culture has adapted to remote work.
Take it a step further by constructing a team dedicated to diverse recruitment and onboarding strategies.
Create Professional Resources, Groups, and Programs
When you hire a diverse group of individuals, they all come with unique challenges, individual needs, and specific desires for their career development. As an HR professional, you should be sharing any professional resources, employee resource groups, or programs available to employees.
If you see a gap in these sorts of support initiatives, donít be afraid to suggest creating career development programs, cultural support groups, and professional resources for the mental health and well-being of each employee.
Support groups, professional resources, and workplace programs are crucial to diversity and inclusion because they pinpoint specific ways to support the differences in each employee.
Host Remote Team Building Activities and/or Networking Events
Team building and networking are still essential to diversity and inclusion efforts. They start the conversation for connection through our different perspectives and backgrounds.
HR professionals have to be creative with how they simulate in-person "getting to know you" activities and inclusion events that inspire connectedness virtually.
The Society for Human Resource Management suggests, "virtual coffee chats, happy hours, team celebrations and digital recognition as all relatively easy ways to encourage a group of any size to convene and bond with one another."
Hire Leaders that Represent a Variety of Cultures
Representation matters when it comes to leadership. Diversity and inclusion should run through all levels of the company. So, when itís time to hire executives, managers, and other company leaders, candidates from all ethnicities and backgrounds should be equally considered.
Thoroughly examine the qualifications of each candidate and then narrow your candidate pool down by how well they may perform the duties of the job, who they are, and their career vision.
In addition to cultural backgrounds, explore how well candidates can build personal relationships with employees, how well theyíre able to communicate across the board, and their capacity for empathy and understanding; each of which is important to diversity and inclusion.
Support an Open, Honest Communication Structure
There is never enough communication in a remote work environment. An open, honest communication system is crucial to how deep your diversity and inclusion initiatives run in the company.
Diversity means honoring each personís communication style and making it comfortable for them to come to you in that communication style about anything that affects their personal and professional lives. Inclusion means ensuring each employee is allowed to adequately discuss their needs.
Encourage authentic communication across the board to make sure everyone feels just as safe to communicate remotely as they do in-person.
HR professionals will need to reevaluate how they will make every employee feel valued and connected in their remote workspace.
They can do so by encouraging an open, honest communication system. They can also employ diverse recruitment and onboarding strategies, hire culturally-diverse leaders, and implement remote team-building activities and networking.
Hosting weekly-check-ins and promoting support groups, resources, and programs also encourage diversity and inclusion in a remote work environment.
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Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.