Fostering DEI in the Era of Remote-Hybrid Work

Business transformation
Published on
November 4, 2021

The last few years have undoubtedly changed the trajectory of society. From the pandemic and its lasting knock-on effects to the growing demand for public and private enterprise to address long-standing issues of systemic bias, the second decade of the 21st century is all about disruption thus far. And that extends to how we work. 

Thanks to the combined effect of widely available tech and the impact of rolling lockdowns, companies are now transitioning substantial portions of their company into a remote structure. Workers in many industries no longer need to spend long hours in the office or commute to be productive employees. Access to the Internet and a laptop are more than enough now. 

However, when it comes to addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, the effects of en masse transition to remote-hybrid operations are unclear. Some argue that those in marginalized communities now face more barriers than before. 

For stakeholders looking to take advantage of remote operations while still addressing systemic bias within the organization, mentoring is the perfect solution. 

DEI Initiatives in the Remote Era

Given the major changes occurring in the current global marketplace, it’s safe to say that remote operations are part of the “new normal.” This means that both operational and cultural aspects of the workplace need to shift to their digital analogs. Diversity, equity, and inclusion measures, which are difficult to apply in even the best of corporate environments successfully, will be a particularly challenging transition for enterprise stakeholders to achieve. 

Here’s what you need to know about DEI Initiatives in the remote era. 

Mentoring Software

Mentoring is proving to be an effective method to build sustainable diversity within organizations. A quality mentoring software is key to design, launch and monitor the success of an organization’s DEI initiatives. The potential beneficial relationships that used to develop in the break room or around the water cooler are now contingent on messaging platforms, video calling, and asynchronous communication. And that's before even considering any language barriers and cultural differences. 

It may seem counterintuitive, but DEI programs that incorporate mentoring software actually have advantages over their traditional counterparts. In particular, the leveraging of a global mentor base, synchronous digital communication, and a more resilient and efficient program design

Global Mentor Base

The modern-day enterprise is no longer constrained by factors like office size, local talent, and even national borders. From SMEs to Fortune 500 enterprises, corporations are now represented all across the globe. Now potential mentors and mentees from satellite locations, even subsidiaries, can form structured relationships that help them unlock the full benefits of mentorship.

This is particularly helpful for aspiring leaders who may not feel they have a representative mentor in their current environment. Studies of successful mentor-mentee relationships find that similarity between the participants is an important building block of a solid mentoring relationship. 

Alternatively, mentoring software also allows mentorship participants to engage with people from different lived experiences and walks of life. This style of DEI-infused mentorship creates cohesion between different components of the global enterprise structure. 

Synchronous, Face-to-Face Mentorship

Both mentoring and DEI activities are more effective when they occur between two people in a more conversational, two-sided approach. 

Lectures and speaking engagements are often the go-to for DEI initiatives, but this type of unilateral engagement doesn’t provide as much opportunity for employees to voice their thoughts, opinions, and concerns. Compelling data shows that compulsory, lecture-based programs are actually more likely to increase the divide between employees of different backgrounds. So, the question is: why bring these outdated DEI practices into the remote-hybrid era?

When DEI activities take on a mentorship-like approach, whether in groups or individually, companies begin to more accurately identify and address the specific barriers to inclusion in their workplace context. Mentoring software provides both parties of a mentoring relationship with a secure platform to learn, discuss, and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Program Resilience and Efficiency

As we’ve witnessed over the past two years, proximity is no guarantee of live interactions. The pandemic and other disruptive factors can rapidly transform a traditional office environment into a completely distributed organization —and companies need to adapt. 

Most SMEs and large enterprises have some digital infrastructure and workflow in place. Now is the perfect time for them to address the cultural issues that are often left unattended. DEI initiatives can now be integrated with the rest of a company’s ERP, making the program more resilient to disruptions that might shut down in-person options. 

Including synchronous DEI mentoring within the rest of an enterprise’s online architecture also means that the company can gain insights into what is working and what isn’t. Data and analytics, user surveys, and meeting trackers all provide key insights that help improve the efficiency of DEI programs. For example, HR representatives, management stakeholders, and executives can then leverage these data-rich insights to identify leadership candidates from traditionally marginalized communities. 

“Where Should DEI be Initiated within an Organization?”

In the digital era, the answer to this question is simple: everywhere. From top to bottom and across all different departments, comprehensive DEI programming in the digital era is available to anyone within an organization. With solutions like mentoring software, enterprises can now integrate the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the very structure of their organization. 

To learn more about how mentoring software is optimizing DEI best practices for large organizations across the world, contact the professionals at MentorCloud today. You’ll find out firsthand how easily an effective, comprehensive DEI mentoring program can be implemented across the company. 

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