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Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

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5 Diversity themes for the future

Much of the dialogue about the future for diversity and inclusion focuses on more openness around organisational diversity data. This will, in part, be stimulated by a greater demand from potential employees who will prioritise the commitment to diversity of the organisations they are applying to.

A photograph of a road with the years labelled on the floor.

Ellsworth et al (2021) describe three future steps towards a more inclusive workplace:

  1. Make diversity a priority – evidence shows it’s good for business.
  2. Challenge biases to increase equity – the push toward an equitable playing field in the organisation should begin even before candidates join. Challenge assumptions about the knowledge, skills, attributes, and experiences required to succeed.
  3. Improve inclusivity – are the right communities and supporting mechanisms in place? Are managers having open conversations about what it takes to succeed, providing good feedback consistently, and being good sponsors?

In a report for the CIPD, Green et al (no date, pp20-24) focus their research on people professionals and looking towards 2030, advising the following actions:

  • Ensure people teams have the resources to drive diversity and inclusion (D&I) – with the resources to lead conversations on D&I, evaluate and adapt people management practices to be more inclusive, and support managers to lead inclusively.
  • Be curious and continually update knowledge on D&I – equipped with up-to-date knowledge and understanding of evolving social constructs, and taking an evidence-based approach to forecasting demographic shifts, people professionals will need to feel confident to champion diversity and to challenge and shape people practices accordingly.
  • Look outwards to understand the systemic barriers to D&I – people professionals will need to challenge existing and emerging biases that may develop as globalisation impacts businesses and our workforce demographics.

Here, Asif Sadiq talks about the multiple layers of people’s identities and the role that technology might play in diversity and inclusion.

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Video 7: Diversity – looking ahead
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Boston Consulting Group (2022) also put the focus on intersectionality as a growing theme for the future, suggesting that companies must diversify from broad categories such as Black, LGBTQ or female, and instead:

  • consider the vast range of identities that their employees embrace
  • take a more holistic view of the solutions and initiatives offered to effect diversity and organisational change
  • ground all these efforts in the unique context of their individual organisation and workforce.

The final word goes to global organisational consulting firm Korn Ferry, from their report ‘Future of Work Trends in 2022: The new era of humanity’ (no author, 2022). In it they predict that power will shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’, and encourage organisations to ‘address the issues of “invisible people and unheard voices” to unlock the true power and potential of all.