The Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Organizational Change

by: Diversio Blog

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

— George Bernard Shaw

The world is changing rapidly. To keep up, many organizations are embracing diversity and inclusion, organizational change, and mindset shifts.

It’s inevitable that change will happen. Artificial intelligence and automation will likely alter many industries, as will shifting demographics. Unexpected events, such as pandemics, armed conflicts, and natural disasters will leave their imprint on communities, companies, and whole sectors.

Organizations need to be ready for change, and they need to keep growing to stay competitive, too. For many leaders, starting with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) makes sense. This can be a road to creating the kind of positive shift that leads to progress rather than change for the sake of change.

Diversity & Inclusion, Organization Change: What’s the Connection?

Big changes are coming. Between 2016 and 2060, the US Census Bureau forecasts that the number of foreign-born Americans will jump from 44 million to 69 million people. By 2060, it is expected that almost one in four Americans will be over 65 years of age. By that same year, 32% of Americans are expected to identify as a race other than White.

The changes in our society will mean big changes for all organizations and industries. Competitive companies will likely start appealing to older customers, offering accessible services and products for this target market. Products may need to be presented in ways that people from different nationalities and backgrounds can appreciate. Some companies may want to translate their labels to make them more accessible to an increasingly diverse customer base.

And that’s only the beginning.

Workplace change is coming, too. Here are some statistics relevant to any employer:

  • In 2001, the average age of a S. worker was 39.6 & by 2031, it will be 42.6.
  • Gartner predicts that by 2032 artificial intelligence and tech will change how work gets done & will place a greater emphasis on skills rather than worker seniority.
  • A Deloitte survey found that only 42% of employees polled in 2018 worked for companies consisting mostly of salaried employees. Deloitte predicts this trend will continue, with more flexible work arrangements, contract & gig work, freelancing, & other non-traditional work.
  • While in 1980 about 17% of the workforce had at least a bachelor’s degree, this number was 34% in 2015.
  • In 1979, 7% of the workforce was non-white, compared to 22.3% in 2019.

Embracing Change

As the workforce itself has grown, it has gotten older, more tech-dependent, and more diverse. Organizations are already changing. They don’t need to do anything to make change happen. To create growth, however, leaders need to take steps to transform inevitable change into positive, conscious progress.

Here’s how.

Using DEI to Drive Progress

Demographic shifts in the population and workforce are inevitable, but choosing to create a DEI strategy means embracing that change by creating inclusive and diverse workplaces that meet the needs of today’s (and tomorrow’s) talent. With 86% of job candidates reporting that DEI is important to them when they’re deciding where to work, focusing on DEI also lets workplaces create the kind of environment where top talent wants to work.

Getting Buy-In From the Whole Organization About DEI

Even a small handful of people who are resistant to DEI can create a problematic culture. Just a few managers or leaders who don’t find diversity important can bring belittling comments or microaggressions into your workplace.

Company-wide discussions and DEI training can help ensure buy-in from everyone. They can shift mindsets. Making DEI strategy an essential part of the employee lifecycle, recruiting, the company vision and goals, and everyday work can also help. Embedding DEI into how work is done rather than having temporary inclusiveness initiatives gives everyone different ways to embrace diversity and inclusion. It also sends a strong message that DEI is mission-critical.

Creating a Culture of Learning, Meaning, & Understanding

Increasingly, job candidates are looking for more than a paycheck. According to McKinsey research, 70% of employees define their personal purpose through their work and that number is even higher for millennials. Candidates want work with meaning. In addition, when comparing job offers, candidates cited company culture 23% of the time as the top factor that made them choose one job over another.

Focusing on DEI allows companies to create a company culture that is focused on inclusion and equity—the type of culture that attracts purpose-driven talent. Companies can also go further to create a culture based on meaning and understanding different perspectives. This can encourage deeper conversations and make people with different values and ideas feel welcome.

An open learning culture is one where everyone is focused on continual learning. This could involve DEI training so teams can create a welcoming work environment. It can involve upskilling, so teams learn how to use changing technology to work more effectively and to make the workplace more accessible.

Measuring DEI & Change

Strong DEI strategies focus on metrics. They track progress in diversity and employee feelings of inclusion over time to measure the effectiveness of any DEI initiatives. DEI metrics can include surveying employees and benchmarking the numbers.

This same data can help companies track organizational change over time. How are departments and roles changing? How is employee morale shifting? DEI data can offer insights into the company as a whole.

Hiring and Recruiting Through a DEI Lens

As demographics and workplaces change, organizations may need to shift their hiring and recruitment processes, too. Creating a space where all talent can feel excited about applying helps organizations improve innovation. It lets them serve a more diverse customer base, too. When recruiting, companies may choose to:

  • Set recruitment & hiring targets.
  • Evaluate job ads for any biased or excluding language.
  • Create a stronger employer brand with DEI certification & a public commitment to inclusion.
  • Recruit through community colleges, public colleges, & job boards or recruiters that appeal to a wide range of talent.
  • Offer flexible interview options to accommodate neurotypical candidates & candidates living with a disability.

How Diversio Can Help

Change can be exciting for organizations, especially when they partner with Diversio to guide them toward progress. Diversio is a people-first company offering AI-powered DEI solutions for companies, portfolios, and organizations of all sizes.

By leading with metrics, Diversio ensures change at your company is strategic and based on facts. We gather, analyze, and benchmark DEI data and then guide you to a suite of field-tested DEI programs you can implement to address your unique pain points. By moving you holistically from data to action, we make sure you’re making relevant progress for your organization. We also offer DEI training, certification, and a suite of bespoke solutions to guide organizations through multiple changes.

See for yourself how powerful Diversio could be for your organization. Schedule a demo today.

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“Diversio’s technology has offered us concrete, data-driven insights about diversity & inclusion at Canada Learning Code. By better understanding our D&I efforts and implementing solutions from Diversio’s recommendation engine, we’ve been able to drive meaningful change and inclusion.”

Melissa Sariffodeen – Co-Founder & CEO of Canada Learning Code