Diversity and Inclusion in Virtual Teams

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In these challenging times, many companies are seeking authentic ways to increase equity and diversity initiatives within their organizations. Racial tensions in this country have reached an apex, and many US citizens are calling out for a reckoning. This turmoil is occurring in the middle of a pandemic. COVID-19 has caused major impacts across the globe, barreling us into remote work environments and instigating decreases in revenue within those industries that cannot nimbly pivot to a virtual format. With so many uncertainties, many of us are just trying to keep our heads above water. But one clear advantage to the “new normal” is that the increase in virtual teams has made achieving diversity and inclusion initiatives more attainable than ever before.

Diversity

What is Diversity, Really?

We all are likely familiar with diversity initiatives and protected classes in the workplace. When considering diversity, there are key characteristics that first come to mind. But it is important to note that diversity goes beyond age, race, religion, nationality, gender (and gender identity), or sexual orientation. True diversity also includes considerations such as differences in personalities, ideologies, education level, and work experience (in general and/or within a specific field).

Organizations should seek to hire individuals with varying backgrounds, cultures, and mindsets to foster diversity on their teams. Now that businesses are increasingly going virtual, there is an opportunity to open the hiring pool to essentially anywhere. This allows the team to seek the very best talent, not limited to geography or proximity.

Benefits of Diversity

But why should we? Countless studies have shown clear benefits of increased diversity in the workplace.

The 2020 McKinsey & Company Diversity Study found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity financially outperform other companies that are not as diverse.

By: Dr Khatina Brunson

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