Building diverse & inclusive teams: The remote workforce of 2020
The whys and wherefores of remote working spurred by the pandemic and its implications for the employer and the employee.
The pandemic has opened the doors to huge uncertainty and has each of us feeling utterly stumped about the future. While there are some of us still stuck at home, in a state of denial, it has got others desperately searching for useful information online, for the smallest ray of optimism.
And all these fortune cookie articles aren’t helping paint a rosy picture either. With a range of opinions about remote work and recruitment doing the rounds on the internet, it has got us, both companies and candidates alike, in a complete bind.
Can your company afford to go remote?
The truth is that now is the most important time than ever to not exhibit herd mentality and make carefully calculated decisions that would elevate your company.
Going completely remote needs tons of planning to put in the right processes and tools that will allow people distributed across geographies to be able to collaborate together. It also means that the culture of the company allows it to go remote without resulting in any significant dip in productivity and collaboration. So, not all will qualify for being fully remote.
But, if yours does and a decision has already been made (or you are on the brink of one), read on.
Does workplace diversity come into play?
Workplace diversity has always been a growing concern in most industries and has been a recurring theme in recent times. Companies in the past have always sought out ways to fix this and have implemented several models to combat the problem.
However, the current era of remote work brings with it a promising hope for the future.
Can remote work improve diversity and inclusion? Let's explore
Employee relocation is perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to building a strong, diverse, and multicultural workforce. There has always been an abundant availability of talent in the world, but it comes scattered across zones and is never easily accessible.
Not everyone can afford the freedom to uproot themselves that easily, owing to a multitude of factors such as the cost of moving, personal commitments, family, or immigration laws. That said, with shifting trends and a steady increase in the number of industries that are adopting a permanent work-from-home model, location no longer remains an impediment.
We are at a unique juncture in time where companies can hire whomever they want and job seekers can apply wherever they want (both geographically and literally speaking). With the right tools, you can now cast your hiring net wider than ever before. And with this comes the luxury of integrating more diverse and inclusive teams into your workforce.
Allows you to choose the best person for the job, irrespective of biases
Resumes, more often than not, fail to tell you the entire story. Once you disregard factors such as the number of years under one's belt, or background, and strictly evaluate them based on their crude skills, you would naturally end up choosing an extremely diverse range of individuals.
You can also tap into a larger pool of talent and attract a much more skilled as well as a seasoned lot of aspiring applicants. As much as there are many clear advantages to having a young team -- like unbounded energy levels and fresh perspectives that haven’t been tainted by tradition – it is still, in a way, incomplete.
The ideal scenario is to always hire the best possible candidate for the job, and turn a complete blind eye towards pretty much all else. This includes age, where they come from, or where they worked before. Remote work finally gives you the opportunity to truly embrace this.
Provide a stage for cross-cultural engagement and collaboration
Another great aspect of remote working is that you are not just restricted to your own community anymore. You can now source your team from different cities, states, or even different countries for that matter.
A cross-collaboration between teammates from such diverse backgrounds and cultural origin could set the seed stage for an utterly remarkable product line that can germinate into something entirely revolutionary.
Your business would benefit from a whole range of contrasting perspectives and host proactive discussions that could lead up to some very unique business solutions. This is an added bonus for employees as well, as they get to be part of a competitive work environment and interact with a broad ecosystem of diverse stakeholders.
The whole work-from-home predicament is actually a blessing in disguise for a lot of parents in general, but especially the ones with young children. A remote working model offers them the flexibility and freedom to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
There now is an increased number of women applicants across the spectrum of job roles. This is another opportunity that companies should leverage on by filling their vacancies with qualified and deserving candidates, while also potentially addressing any gender gap issues within their organisation.
Building a progressive model for the future
What this means is that you don’t have to settle for mediocrity when it comes to closing a job posting, thereby drastically improving the quality of your hire.
Additionally, it helps you save a significant amount of time, effort and cost while you are at it. Due to the completely digital nature of the hiring process, you can interview a far larger base of candidates than traditional onsite formats. The same goes for the applicant as he or she can now apply and work for their dream company and profile regardless of the location.
Access to great jobs and people are at an all-time high right now, and the best bet for both companies and applicants is to meet each other halfway in a fully remote, yet diverse and all-inclusive work environment.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)