- August 10, 2022
- By Joshua Reid
- Company Structure , COVID-19 , Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- DEI , diversity , diversity initiative , initiative , pandemic , post covid
How Have Diversity Initiatives in Businesses Changed Since Covid-19?
Although COVID-19 and the events that transpired in summer 2020 pushed the need for diversity initiatives in the workforce, diversity initiatives were necessary for business. These initiatives not only expand the workplace in terms of ethnicity but also the perspectives of the businesses’ employees. Whether in-person or virtual, diversity initiatives allows companies to address possible complaints against them and even target clients and demographics that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Since the pandemic shifted the face-to-face business model towards a virtual one, diversity initiatives implemented prior also had to adapt to the changing work environment. So how are businesses addressing those changes to the industry to their employees, clients, and potential business partners?
How have diversity initiatives changed in the aftermath of the pandemic?
In a 2020 article by The HRDirector titled “COVID-19 Must Not Delay Diversity and Inclusion,” author Paul Wolfe notes that over 1/3rd of workers believe that COVID-19 had delayed efforts to “improve diversity, inclusion and belonging in their company.” Additionally, Wolfe shows several statistics further supporting his claim that Covid delayed diversity efforts: 51% of disabled workers, 45% of black or mixed-race workers, and 39% of LGBTQ individuals all reported that they faced workplace discrimination.
“With COVID-19 seemingly exposing societal divides, minority groups believe they have been disproportionately impacted by restrictions that have been implemented in response to the pandemic.”Paul Wolfe
So, how do businesses with diversity initiatives address these issues during the pandemic? One way businesses could address these issues during the pandemic is by reaching out to their employees with their inclusive initiative and start a dialogue about the various pros and cons of that initiative. For example, if one aspect of the initiative was created to address how businesses could draw in potential clients from new demographics, they could ask questions like “How did the initiative help or hinder us from reaching that goal?”
Perhaps the business can see the weaknesses in its diversity initiative, whether internal or external and begin to address them so that potential problems don’t become reality. Other possible questions include:
- What’s missing from the initiative?
- What changes could businesses make to update their diversity initiative post-COVID? (Although diversity initiatives shifted to an online platform since the pandemic, the methods businesses used had to change.)
Garkay Wong points out what diversity initiatives are missing. In his article, Wong argues that “Incentives should be aligned so that DEI, beyond just being the right thing to do, is also the profitable thing to do.” According to Wong, businesses want to make money and continue into the future, so the profitable thing would be to create incentives aligned with DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).Wong also notes that there are various methods by which these incentives could be incorporated into the company’s decision-making process.
“How do we ensure our decision processes benefit from diverse voices and that those decisions are derived in an inclusionary and equitable manner?”Garkay Wong
For Wong, the AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) is one way businesses can see the changes to their diversity initiative. The AHP would also allow companies to “hear from and take advantage of these diverse voices to evaluate how closely proposed alternatives align with organizational objectives.” (Wong)
Hearing from diverse voices within the company would give businesses the drive to see where they fell short in addressing the issues presented in their initiative. By using the AHP format, businesses could see how much their industry needed to change due to the pandemic and what needs to be updated or corrected to continue working with employees and clients from different demographics in a post-Covid era.
Diversity initiatives in businesses have changed since COVID-19, and the digital landscape allows employees and businesses the opportunity to rectify some of their previous understandings or even certain aspects of their enterprise. Keeping the core fundamentals of their diversity initiative yet willing to change and adapt it in a post-COVID era could see businesses thrive and encounter new clients and potential business partners.
Wolfe, Paul. “COVID-19 MUST NOT DELAY DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION.” The HRDirector, . Accessed 21 June 2021.
Wong, Garkay. “Your diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are missing the point. Here’s how to fix them.” World Economic Forum. Accessed 21 June 2021.