Intel study: Workplace disruptions during pandemic had positive impact on DE&I – Times of India


The pandemic has been a catalyst for businesses to reimagine the workplace model and adapt to new ways of working, reveals a global survey commissioned by Intel that interviewed 3,000+ business leaders across 17 countries to hear a first-person point of view on the state of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) in present times and in the future. In India, the survey asked 200 business leaders across the country about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on achieving their goals and how they plan to build inclusive and diverse companies going forward.
As per the survey, 81% of the business leaders surveyed in India said that the workplace disruptions caused by the pandemic have had a positive impact on DE&I in their organization, demonstrating how remote workspaces and hybrid work models have been successful for achieving DE&I goals. Furthermore, 71% said their organization has significantly adapted DE&I initiatives for a hybrid workforce. About 69% of survey participants who have set DE&I goals said they want to achieve them in the next two years, and 77% of those are confident in the company’s ability to do so – compared to 66% of business leaders globally.
In thinking about how changing work models will impact DE&I at work, 71% of Indian leaders whose companies offer hybrid work options said that their organizations have significantly adapted DE&I initiatives for a hybrid workforce. That compares to 60% of leaders globally, suggesting Indian businesses are at the forefront of anticipating inclusion challenges in an evolving workplace. On the other hand, 16% of Indian business leaders have indicated a negative impact on DE&I progress due to the pandemic, with the top reason being that remote work has made inclusivity challenging.
Other key trends from the report:
* Technology plays a key role in achieving DE&I goals: 94% of respondents with a hybrid workforce in India agreed that technology will make it easier to achieve their DE&I goals, highlighting its importance. Over half (51%) of respondents said that exploring how technology might help bolster their DE&I commitments is one of their top three priorities in the next 12 months.
* Impact of COVID-19 on inclusivity: 66% said that remote working and digitalization has made it easier to hire from underrepresented groups, and 57% said that the acceleration of digital transformation spurred by the pandemic has encouraged the adoption of new tools that will support inclusivity. On the other hand, 55% of those who have indicated a COVID-driven negative impact on DE&I said that working remotely has made inclusivity more challenging.
* Room for stakeholder, financial and industrywide investment: 36% of business leaders said there’s room for their company to invest more in systems and initiatives that promote DE&I. In terms of barriers to success, 45% said that a lack of investment in the tools and technologies to innovate is a key challenge that could prevent their company from reaching its DE&I goals. 50% said that more employee training, development and support is critical in helping their business reach its DE&I goals and 63% believe that more awareness and inclusive language in products and documentation could help businesses achieve their DE&I goals.
* DE&I trainings and benchmarks: 48% said their organization has introduced new DE&I training for senior leadership over the past year and have made significant changes to them since remote work began in 2020 in order to adapt to changing work environments. That’s in addition to 39% who said they already have rigorous policy and training for their senior leadership. Further, 46% of leaders surveyed said they’d welcome global benchmarks and industry standards for DE&I and 47% want more collaboration across the industry as it relates to inclusion.

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Sagar Biswas

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