The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented amount of damage to economies throughout the world. As we know, this is likely to continue long into the future. While the effects have been great throughout all areas of society, the pandemic has had a more significant impact on groups that are already marginalized such as women, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and people with disabilities - with statistics showing that people from ethnic minorities are more likely to be affected by the virus.
This article examines the impact that COVID-19 has had on diversity and recruitment and what businesses and individuals can do to redress the balance. We have a responsibility to ensure that we continue to provide the right opportunities and promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) throughout our workplace culture, after all.
Read on to discover some actionable ways to make sure your business is doing the right thing with diversity and inclusion.
Potential impacts of COVID-19 on marginalized groups
While many businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water, it is perhaps understandable that D&I initiatives might take a back seat, in the short term. It is crucial, however, that we do not undo the important achievements made so far. Here are just a few of the impacts we have already seen from COVID-19 on marginalized groups
In April the US unemployment rate was 13% for men and 15.5% for women; of this figure 14.2% are white, 14.5% Asians, 16.7% blacks, and 18.9% Hispanic.
Across every racial group mentioned above, the unemployment rate for women is higher than it is for men.
Women, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to take on the majority of care-related responsibilities which could negatively impact their job security.
In an analysis published in September 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that COVID-19 has caused an increase in ‘forced automation’ where businesses are forced to automate processes due to labor shortages and workers not being able to work onsite due to health and safety restrictions. As we move into an increasingly robotized world, this is likely to have happened steadily over time but the upheaval here has been swift with minority workers impacted particularly hard.
People with disabilities may struggle more with lockdown measures; getting the care they need and having the right equipment to work remotely. People with disabilities may also experience medical bias which can result in reduced quality of healthcare.
Actionable ways to promote diversity and inclusion in your business
Make diversity and inclusion part of your workplace culture
As many of us are still working from home, this can be a challenge, but it’s one that must be met. Make sure your teams have the right channels and the confidence to speak up about any issues they have. Then make sure you have the right tools and knowledge to address their concerns, act on them and report back to your staff about what you have done to rectify the problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The tone from the top is vital. The actions of management have a huge impact on your team so always act ethically and with the best interests of all your colleagues in mind. Make it clear that every colleague has to adhere to the company’s code of conduct at all times. This includes all internal and external communications, the way they conduct themselves in the office or working remotely, and all aspects of the recruitment processes.
Remember, most of us think we are aware of issues and approaches around D&I but if you are unsure about your team’s understanding, why not organize a training program, including some interactive exercises and workshops to get them up to speed. Not only does this cement the importance of D&I in their minds it also demonstrates your commitment to good practice.
Make D&I an integral part of your brand
In addition to strengthening your internal D&I strategy, ethically minded businesses have a responsibility to positively influence their industry and sector. Take a look at the language and imagery on your website and communications. Perhaps there is more you can do to promote diversity and show the good work you are doing. When you’re looking for speakers at your next event, online or otherwise, why not widen your usual pool? If you’re unsure of how to do this, talk to your peers or speak to diversity charities and NGOs about interested parties you could talk to. Bringing new ideas to the table can be hugely refreshing and we could all do with our perspectives being broadened at the moment!
Expand your network when recruiting
Many companies have tried and tested ways of recruiting new members of staff. While these methods may have proved effective in the past, they could also narrow the pool of talent you are attracting. Recruiting from the same colleges, job fairs and websites is likely to result in applications from the same types of people. As before, if you aren’t sure how to approach this, speak to an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion about additional routes you could try. Academic institutions with more diverse profiles, for example. They might even be able to help you with making sure you’re using the most inclusive language on your job adverts and specs.
Alongside making your D&I strategy far more robust, this approach could also help you attract younger talent to your business. According to a Deloitte survey, 75% of millennials believe an organization is more innovative when it promotes a culture of diversity and inclusion and are more likely to be loyal to organizations that foster this way of working. Put simply, in order to attract the best talent, now and into the future, you need to act with D&I in mind.
We hope these tips on actionable ways to promote diversity and inclusion in your business have been helpful. At Bramwith we are experts in finding the right procurement and supply chain professionals and we have access to an unrivaled and highlight diverse, pool of talent. If you are looking to expand your team or are thinking about your options talk to us. We can help.
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