Nov 9 2021 | admin
It has been almost two years since we have been fighting this pandemic crisis. The employees are constantly crying for support. There are diverse groups that include people of all color, LGBTQ+ communities and women, and also working parents. All of them have had the most difficult times faced in their workplaces and had found it difficult to balance the home and work life. Here we shall be taking a look at the impact this pandemic has made over the inclusion and diversity practices at work.
Post-COVID-19 Impact on Diversity and Inclusion Practices
Unfortunately, it has been observed that workplace diversity and inclusion practices have been stalled because of the pandemic. The pandemic has built pressures and many companies are holding such inclusion activities on hold. Although this is the time when it should have been accelerated. Here are some of the challenges being constantly faced:
- The first challenge is the shift towards remote work. This has made an impact on the wellness and safety of the employees in minority. As per the McKinsey report, the employees in minority groups had reported higher rates of challenges that linked with household responsibilities and mental health. This has resulted in just one in every six employees feeling better supported by their employers when compared with the situation before the pandemic.
- Then the second challenge had been linked with the condition of the businesses owned by minorities. These businesses had been dealing with a higher rate of difficulty in finances when compared with times before COVID-19. They had been facing structural challenges as well. They seemed to be situated in businesses that had made them susceptible to disruptions from COVID-19.
On the positive side, these businesses also added services for supporting the employees and communities to which they belonged to at the time of crisis. The leaders must keep both of the challenges in their head while approaching the diversity in a post-pandemic world.
Another advantage that was seen with remote work is that the employers were encouraged with expanding recruitment searches. Therefore instead of hiring people just from the local area, the employers were able to expand the hiring reach and go for employees out of the state, even countries as well.
This had widened their hiring pool and employers were recruiting in far locations that have enhanced the diversity and inclusion practices in some manner.
Negative Impact of Pandemic on Inclusion Practices
1. Decision Making Under Pressure
With fatigue, stress, anxiety, and other kinds of pressures, decision-making and an increase in implicit bias are observed.
Now implicit bias here means an unconscious attitude or the stereotype that can affect our understanding, decisions, and actions. Such bias can be involuntarily assumptions that have been generated as they are usually rooted in structural inequalities.
This is specifically seen based on ethnicity, race, social groups, and religion, and gender identity. It can also impact the way we are interacting with colleagues, employees, and even clients every day.
With implicit biases, it’s likely going to distort the decision while we are stressed and there is fatigue, and time constraints. All of such factors were in added supply during the pandemic. Pointing out any of the efforts for raising awareness and for curbing this implicit bias with work until after this pandemic is very counterproductive because the decisions that we are making right now will have an impact throughout recovery and the viability of business post-pandemic.
2. Pandemic Has Deepened Existing Disadvantages
Just like how varied people have experiences with work, management, and workplaces, different people get affected by the pandemic in very varied ways too. One of the simplest examples for describing this point can be people dealing with health or disability issues.
People that had chronic illnesses, pre-existing health conditions, or disabilities stay at high risk of severe illness or even death in a few cases. Now there is also an added impact of social distancing, lockdowns, and also financial insecurities on our mental health.
This makes it clear that staff safety and for the clients isn’t the same for everyone. While we are coming back to the new normal the hygiene and distancing regulations in the places can be safer for most people, but one has to remember that this might further put a strain on the disadvantaged groups. Specifically when the enforcement of such safety measures is random.
The already existing inequalities have deepened with pandemic and how it has been returning to the organizations.
The past years have not just proven the way organizational leaders can turn the crisis with an innovative competitive edge, but they also showed that working on Inclusion and diversity practices will be the right thing that needs to be done. This has to be the way forward and we need to have lasting resilience, that’s based on an inspired, dedicated, and loyal healthy workforce that earned trust and relevance in front of the clients, diverse stakeholders, and shareholders.