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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) in Business, Before & After the Pandemic

Amit Patel (Business 2 Community)

08/03/2021

When it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI), where does your organization stand? Have you adequately put measures in place that account for differing backgrounds, perspectives and needs? If you’re like most organizations, these issues were likely on your radar prior to the global pandemic this past year, but they may not have received the full attention they deserve. However, COVID-19 gave some of the spotlight back to DEI initiatives, and wise business leaders are taking note. Here’s a look at how the pandemic has spurred this conversation forward, and what you can do to rise to the occasion.

DEI – Before COVID-19

Prior to the pandemic, one of the greatest and most pressing challenges for companies was understanding the needs and circumstances of diverse employees. As more vocal advocates repeatedly brought this issue to light, more businesses started to step up their considerations for employees. But even though the national conversation has shifted to focus on diversity and inclusion more, statistics continue to show a lagging ability to put these ideals into action.

In fact, one study revealed that “many employees still indicate they don’t believe somebody has their back when times get tough.” Such feelings can fester and lead to “poor outcomes” for both employees and employers, with as many as 50% of employees leaving a job due to shortcomings in diversity and inclusion.

During the height of the pandemic, employers understandably had to shift the bulk of their focus toward prioritizing employee health and safety. But as the worst of COVID-19 began to recede, they were reminded again of this important focus, especially after research showed that minorities and those in lower socioeconomic groups were hit the hardest during the pandemic. Today, it’s imperative that an employer must be their team members’ ally and advocate when they’re dealing with unusual life circumstances like chronic illness, disabilities or limited childcare, or facing societal injustices due to race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

DEI – After COVID-19

It’s no surprise, then, that today’s best leaders are prioritizing workforce inclusion more than ever. To be innovative in their approach to managing COVID-19’s impact on business, organizations are seeking input from a diverse group of employees who approach problems from a variety of perspectives. They are also appointing leadership roles, such as Chief of Diversity, to lead efforts in proactively diversifying workforces.

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    Disabilities
    Company Culture
    Gender Equity/Diversity
    LGBTQIA+
    Racial Equity/Diversity
    Ageism
    Leadership
    Mental Health
    Neurodiversity
    Inclusion

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