Disconnect in digital workplaces working against DEI progress

With over 20 years-experience in workplace best practice and a recent Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 69.2, DWG’s insights are valued across the world of business. The second and third in the series of reports will cover ‘Forging digital ethics’ and ‘Prioritizing digital accessibility’.

A survey of 1,082 managers and employees across the US and UK was recently conducted as part of a report that covers how organisations can approach creating an inclusive digital workplace for their work communities.

With inclusive, equitable workplaces at the top of many leaders’ agendas, and hybrid workplaces on the rise, the paper offers insight in how essential it is that inclusivity efforts extend to the digital workplace.

The report reveals the disconnect between employers’ understanding and employees’ satisfaction when it comes to digital inclusion and offers practical advice for organizations looking to improve their practices, as increasing numbers address the ever-changing nature of flexible working.

Conducted by Digital Workplace Group (DWG), a strategic partner who provide expertise, community and insights for intranet and digital workplace professionals, the report uncovered some interesting statistics around inclusivity within digital workplaces. As many as 87% of managers surveyed believed they fostered an inclusive digital workplace, while in contrast only 31% of employees felt the same way.

This differing of opinion reflects a gap to be bridged between managers’ abilities to harness the digital workplace for inclusive working environments, and the actual experiences of employees. This demonstrates the essential role that organizations and managers have in levelling up their skills to nurture inclusive cultures, which in turn contribute to retaining talented employees.

While many have invested in systems and processes that empower employees to have their opinions heard, organizations are also finding it challenging to evolve their cultures and ways of working to take in a more hybrid way of working. This need for developing inclusive ways of working that are suited to in-person, virtual, and mixed-presence teams can, when not met, lead to employees feeling isolated, excluded, and as though they don’t belong.

Additionally, while DWG’s survey revealed that managers need support in learning how to manage their teams inclusively via the digital workplace, at the same time 58% of managers felt that their workforce didn’t possess the required digital skills to work remotely. A maturing of skills and understanding is therefore needed across all aspects of an organization to ensure that more flexible, digital ways of working aren’t accompanied by experiences of exclusion.

The author of the report, Shimrit Janes, who is particularly passionate about this the area of inclusivity, said:

“The current focus on creating equitable organizational cultures is long overdue. As part of this work, it is essential that particular attention is also paid to how the design and use of digital workplaces can contribute to experiences of either exclusion or inclusion across a work community. This isn’t a nice-to-have but plays a crucial role in creating organizations – and indeed societies – in which barriers are removed for participation across the full spectrum of the human experience.”

The first report can be downloaded for free here.

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