One of the unexpected consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that of the Great Resignation. 4 million people leaving their jobs wouldn’t have raised eyebrows under normal circumstances. However, the Great Resignation saw people quit stable jobs in the middle of the pandemic!
What caused this event? What were the reasons for leaving well-paying jobs?
It seems that one of the things the pandemic did, apart from making the talent shortage even deeper, was give dissatisfied workers a moment to reflect on their life situations.
A report from Microsoft revealed 41% of the global workforce and 54% of Gen Z workers could be considering resignation. 37% of the workforce was clearly stating the organizations are asking too much of them.
Workers were also burnt out and exhausted. As we moved towards the new normal, employees looked for a new, fresh start. Growing global awareness on equity, systemic diversity and inclusion also began to influence people’s views and shifted their focus on the business culture as on the job market.
The writing is on the wall – in this hiring climate organizations are struggling to find the right fits for the available roles. However, to find the right candidate many organizations are hiring the first qualified candidate. Without consideration for diversity and inclusion.
That apart, we need to pay attention to the statistics here. Reports like the Qualtrics’ latest Employee Experience Trends Report revealed that the percentage of women who intended to stay with their organization dropped to 60% from 67%. Women “leaders of leaders” intending to stay dropped from 87% to 66%. These numbers are a significant warning for organizations that desire to stay on the path of growth. It has now been an established fact that a focus on DIEB is good for business.
Given the talent exigency, it is natural to revert to old behaviors and just hire without focusing on diversity in these complicated environments. However, it is essential to remember that diversity initiatives today can no longer be an either/or. To hire and retain employees focusing on DIEB is essential.
Trends such as the Great Resignation reveal that while salaries matter, there are a few things that matter even more – values, shared purpose, and a focus on employee development being the usual suspects. Apart from these, employees are also scrutinizing empathy, social responsibility, and a commitment towards DIEB initiatives. Those organizations that do not focus on these aspects are giving their employees reasons to leave.
The culture conversation leans towards DIEB
While HR issues in the boardroom used to be primarily about succession planning and compensation, the new trends suggest that the conversation moves more towards ‘culture’. There has to be increased scrutiny over what people need, what they consider important, and elements that are enablers of people’s success.
DIEB emerges as a big influencer of culture. Those organizations that take measurable steps to build DIEB become more attractive to employees.
DIEB initiatives have to go beyond diversity hiring. Organizations now need to have difficult conversations, identify systemic biases and social conditioning at work, and build a better understanding of the challenges of those falling in the DIEB spectrum.
Creating Belonging is now a strategic priority
Organizations now know that losing women or those from underrepresented groups can significantly impact company performance. With the race for talent intensifying, action on DIEB and fostering a culture of belonging will be key differentiators.
Closing the gaps in DIEB initiatives also is essential as surveys support the idea that employees will leave if an organization is not diverse enough. A survey of technologists, for example, revealed that 50% of them were potentially leaving their current positions because the company’s culture “made them feel uncomfortable”. 68% felt uncomfortable owing to their race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, or neurodevelopment.
The ‘B’ in DIEB, is all about belonging. Belonging is now becoming a strategic priority. People who feel they belong are six times more likely to be highly engaged.
Creating a place of high belonging demands moving away from sameness towards diversity. Organizations have to learn to respect differences while valuing them. You might hire diversely, but if the organization is stereotyping people into roles, then inclusion and differences are not being valued. Promoting a sense of belonging then becomes hard.
Research shows that belonging is a universal force and can mitigate historical challenges to the success of diversity and inclusion initiatives by becoming the unifying force that everyone relates to. This happens because Belonging drives collective ownership towards steering diversity and inclusion.
Data leads the way
Organizations must build the right axis to drive DIEB initiatives if they want to avoid events like the Great Resignation. Using data-backed strategies to uncover unconscious biases or lacking skills that impede DIEB initiatives will become important for organizations. This is because change happens only when it comes from within. Unless people are convinced, they need to change and realize the consequences of their actions and behaviors, it is impossible to effect change.
In this respect, organizations have to pay closer attention to leadership and manager behaviors and identify their skills gaps. Managers and organization leaders set the tone and model of behaviors for teams. As such, learning the emotional language and identifying the skill gaps needed to augment DIEB initiatives become critical.
Increasing awareness using data-backed strategies also works to uncover unconscious bias. More often than not, people are not aware of their microaggressions and biases. There also are biases that have become ingrained into the broader social culture as they have gone unrecognized for far too long. Creating doors for people to walk in to identify and address these issues bears paramount importance. Providing access to coaching platforms that use data-backed strategies to connect the right coach with the learner can augment these efforts.
Data-backed peer coaching platforms become a catalyst needed for driving change and enhancing DIEB initiatives. Coaches offer a non-judgmental learning space and provide people with the right tools and strategies to unlearn behaviors and adopt positive, problem-solving mindsets. It is a great tool to build understanding and unite people by building a shared purpose.
Events such as the Great Resignation offer insights into what matters and, in this case, it is a signal to get efforts such as commitment towards culture, equity, inclusion, social responsibility, and employee empowerment spot on. Getting these wrong will not only drive attrition but will impact the employee value proposition negatively in the marketplace as well. Get these aspects right, and you gain access to a more skilled and dynamic workforce.
Connect with us to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can drive your DIEB strategies and help you build a future-ready workplace.
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