How does Diversity and Inclusion go hand in hand with Digital Transformation?
The Age of Transformation
Being a woman of colour and trying to get into any industry and excel is difficult. Let alone the tech industry, a space that has been widely dominated and controlled by the opposite gender for many years. My experience within the said industry has been shaped by my decision to join an SME company that promotes and values diversity and champions change. This aspect of the tech world is important as it highlights the importance and benefits of diversity and digital transformation.
We are in the age of transformation. Be it in the way we work, the way we employ, the way we hire, or even the way we train. The world is in a permanent state of change, be it digitally or otherwise. This transformative era is exciting and brings with it many positive changes.
Defining diversity in the workplace
Defining diversity in the workplace can be complex because diversity comes in different forms. How we view diversity is subjective, and many factors must be taken into account.
Digital transformation goes hand in hand with diversity. As we move towards a more digital world, companies must be more open-minded, forget traditions and embrace this age of transformation.
Not only do companies benefit from operating within a more open-minded ethos from an internal perspective but evidence shows that this can improve business too! In fact, during the pandemic, companies that embraced digital transformation and were more digitally literate exceled.
Bringing digital transformation and diversity into all aspects of our lives, not just the workplace, advocates for positive change. Now more than ever this is a crucial conversation to have.
Digital transformation: changing how we work
Over the years we have seen a massive change in the way we work. We have the technology and digital transformation to thank for that. In a short amount of time, we have gone from typewriters to iPads, going from traveling face-to-face for most meetings to instantly conversing with people across the globe thanks to tools like Zoom, and even from going to libraries to get all our information to simply pressing a couple of buttons and accessing it in the blink of an eye thanks to Google.
The global pandemic forced us to embrace digital transformation to survive. But this has also brought in more opportunities and has benefited the working world! In order to not only survive but thrive, companies have had to adapt their digital interaction with customers.
Thanks to video meetings, and remote roles, more people are given the opportunity to apply for roles which they couldn’t have before. Previously people from lower income areas were more likely to stay within that income bracket, however due to the rise in remote opportunities people from any area can apply to roles in any income area, giving more people access to work and social mobility, in time levelling the playing field.
Of course, this is easier said than done as people from lower economic backgrounds may still face a disadvantage. Overall, this ideology can level the playing field however it is by putting it in practice that we can experience real change. Throughout the UK, we are seeing a rise in preference for remote or flexible working in fact a recent survey, has shown that 75% of people would still prefer remote working.
Embracing digital transformation in the workplace can also greatly impact the lives of mothers, who previously may have had to take time off work or work closer to home to care for their children. Thanks to digital transformation, now mothers have the option to work from home, allowing them to simultaneously further their careers while still actively participating in childcare.
By providing everyone with equal opportunities and bringing people from different backgrounds and walks of life to work together even in different locations shows how digital transformation can lead to positive change and more diversity in the workplace.
Digital transformation and positive change
The more we surround ourselves with different people, the more we naturally start to embrace diversity. This is the case within the workplace too. Even though we have still got a long way to go, now more than ever more conversations around diversity in the workplace are taking place, and this is thanks to technology. We can interact with people from around the world, learn from other companies who have mastered the art of diversity and learn from others’ mistakes.
In my opinion and experience, working in a more diverse environment, in terms of age, race, gender, helps to understand people, in turn allowing people to consider new opinions, ideas and structures at work, as well as spread more cultural awareness. A major benefit of having a more diverse workplace is that it greatly improves and increases employee engagement, as well as bringing new perspectives into the workplace because everybody has their own unique experiences, ideas, and values.
Where does more work need to be done?
Like I have said, there is still a long way to go but there are many ways we can further diversity in the workplace. By educating your managers about what more can be done, creating inclusive workspace policies, or even creating mentorship programs and offering workplace flexibility, these are just a few ways that we can help promote diversity in the workplace.
There has been a lot of heat around how we should work and embrace the new digital way; at the end of the day, this will be an ever-evolving discussion and challenge that companies will face. People’s needs and beliefs can be met in different ways so the more that companies can be flexible, the better they can accommodate and accept diversity in the workplace.
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