As we stand at the intersection of technology and globalization, the workforce diversity benefits are becoming increasingly evident. A multifaceted organization leads to innovative thinking, better decision-making, and a competitive edge. This growing realization has prompted many companies worldwide to adopt or bolster their diversity policies.
Nevertheless, businesses often encounter logistical challenges in implementing these policies, especially when the local talent pool lacks diversity. This is where remote work, an evolution of our workplace expectations catalysed by recent events, becomes instrumental.
As companies contemplate the adoption of remote work policies, diversity should be a central tenet of these discussions. The following sections outline how remote work can help companies realize the many benefits of a diverse workforce:
Surmounting the Geographical Constraints on Diversity
Arguably, the most evident advantage of remote work is its capacity to widen a company’s hiring reach. This feature is particularly beneficial for companies in smaller markets where the local population may lack diversity.
The pandemic-induced transition to remote work in my company served a dual purpose. Apart from ensuring business continuity, it expanded our candidate pool and enhanced our thought diversity.
Utilizing remote work to boost diversity also prepares a company for growth. It opens up untapped channels for hiring and reveals new talent pools – valuable resources for future expansion.
While local talent should never be overlooked, hiring managers often struggle to find the perfect fit, especially for roles requiring specialized experience. Remote work allows organizations to cast their recruitment nets far beyond their borders.
Connecting with Overlooked Candidates
The pandemic underscored the diverse ways people deliver their best work. Some people, burdened with personal or family responsibilities, struggled with traditional business hours. They thrived when offered the flexibility to work remotely at their own pace.
Effective remote work policies enable companies to accommodate various underrepresented demographics. An individual with a disability may find traditional office settings challenging but could excel working remotely.
Remote work also helps in retaining employees when their life situations change. Every company has experienced the loss of talented personnel who needed to prioritize personal needs over their work commitments. A remote work policy provides the flexibility many such employees require.
By expanding the candidate pool through a remote work option, companies can benefit from the varied experiences, knowledge, and skills of many employees that they would otherwise overlook in a traditional search.
Promoting Inclusion and Engagement
While building a diverse workforce is crucial, it is equally important to foster an inclusive environment. Ensuring that employees feel comfortable expressing their authentic selves at work is paramount to unlocking diversity’s potential.
Even before Covid, remote workers were found to be more engaged, more productive, and less likely to quit. I have observed that remote work has prompted companies to become more communicative and place greater importance on employee experience.
Remote work ensures that no one feels alienated or different because of their identity. I anticipate that remote work will become a permanent fixture in the business world, and companies that embrace it will experience considerable benefits in inclusion and engagement.
Discovering the Right People
In my view, the most effective strategy to attract diverse talent is to expand the candidate pool. Consider partnering with organizations that connect underrepresented professionals with companies in your industry. They can organize virtual hiring events, job fairs, and recruiting opportunities in areas where your company lacks a physical presence.
Creating employee resource groups in your workplace can also help discover new talent. These groups not only support team members but can also connect with diverse organizations outside the company.
Building these processes in a remote workplace may be challenging, but it can help hiring managers find remote candidates who are an excellent fit for the role. The aim should be to bring the right people onboard.
The last few years have reshaped our expectations of the workplace experience, with a heightened focus on diversity. Companies aiming to remain competitive need to not only address diversity but also continually strive to enhance it.
Creating positive workplace cultures with remote employees might require learning new skills and additional leadership investment, but the effort will undoubtedly be worthwhile. Remote work can supercharge diversity and inclusion efforts by helping companies find the right people with the right skills, thereby shaping the future of work.