Blogs - Posted on May 27, 2024

Can AV Solutions Help Drive Equity and Inclusion in the Hybrid Workplace?     

Can AV Solutions Help Drive Equity and Inclusion in the Hybrid Workplace?     

In a vastly diverse country like India, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is not simply another workforce mantra. DEI has the potential to help the Indian economy reach its $5 trillion mark by 2025. The latest workplace trends reflect this necessity:

  • 81% of companies are broadening their candidate sourcing strategies to create a more diverse talent pool.
  • 62% of companies are adopting a “gender-blind” recruitment process.
  • 72% of leadership programs are customized to enable women to move into senior positions.

The rapid shift towards remote and hybrid working models is impacting DEI strategies in modern organizations. They need a more balanced approach to addressing the diverse needs of their inclusive workforce. Among the successful case studies, Salesforce (led by Marc Benioff) has created Employee Resource Groups to promote equity through regular pay audits to remove any disparities.

Despite all the progress, Indian companies face a host of DEI-related challenges, as listed below:

  1. Lack of leadership

Indian companies often fail at DEI programs as they are primarily targeted at the privileged class. For instance, DEI initiatives for women leadership are generally designed for English-speaking upper-class women, and not for women from lower strata of society.

A 2023 DEI report found an 18% reduction in business leaders endorsing their company’s DEI program. For career progression, potential leaders (from a minority group) are more likely to switch companies, than keep their trust in their company’s DEI efforts.

Additionally, minority leaders (including women) experience a daily “burnout.” A flexible work arrangement can create an inclusive culture, which can help them embrace diversity and equity.

  1. Lack of cross-cultural organization culture

Corporate lawyer Rajesh Chavda says, “The workplace culture in India has been dominated by elite castes for so many generations.” To counter this challenge, organizations need to develop a cross-cultural company culture that can embed DEI across every effort. In place of superficial measures, companies need to make real changes to their working culture.

However, in reality, most organizations fail to foster a culture of inclusivity and equity in their workforce. To promote DEI, they must prioritize:

  • Listening to their employees including minority groups.
  • Understanding their specific needs.
  • Aligning benefits for collective progress.
  1. Inaccessible content

Despite the emphasis on improving accessibility in application use, companies fail at making their content accessible to all.

Equity in DEI is all about providing a consistent working experience for all employees irrespective of their abilities (or disabilities). This includes the use of Alt text and captions in productivity tools. Similarly, easy-to-understand transcripts can improve searchability for hearing-impaired employees.

Video conferencing tools can boost inclusion by publishing its content in multiple formats. This includes the likes of PDF documents and streaming of closed captions during conference calls.

  1. Non-inclusive workspaces

34% of remote workers have expressed a sense of workplace inclusion, as compared to 29% of in-office workers (including just 21% for women in leadership positions). While DEI does not demand office space, most physical offices have non-inclusive workspaces that do not cater to a variety of individual needs.

Here are some examples of how to create a more inclusive workspace:

  • Conference rooms with furnishings that accommodate nursing parents and provide them with private space.
  • Gender-neutral washrooms with safety for all genders.
  • Prayer rooms that can provide a comfortable meditation and reflection space.
  • Food serving rooms that can adhere to diverse diets and avoid allergens
  1. Lack of employee engagement

83% of millennial employees are more engaged in companies with an inclusive workplace culture. This percentage drops to 60% in a non-inclusive workplace. Disengaged employees can cost businesses up to $350 billion yearly due to loss of productivity.

Through customized and regular feedback surveys, companies can collect valuable insights into their employee engagement. For instance, to accommodate their diverse workforce, Citigroup deployed a 50-50 hybrid model, which designated employee roles as hybrid, remote, or resident.

Similarly, remote workers (including those from under-represented groups) can be regularly appraised of their performance or provided development opportunities.

Role of AV solutions in DEI

Audiovisual (AV) solutions are integral to the success of any business enterprise. In the modern workplace, they enable collaboration, communication, and productivity of both in-office and hybrid workers.

AV solutions also enable diversity and inclusion by making this technology accessible to all employees. For instance, interactive displays with large screen sizes are easily accessible to visually challenged employees.

Here’s how AV technology can improve accessibility across the organization:

  • AV solutions with user-friendly interfaces make it easier for visually challenged users to navigate the tool using voice commands and large labels for controls.
  • Closed captions and subtitles in AV tools are inclusive for hearing-impaired employees or those who are not native English speakers.
  • Easily accessible meeting rooms can facilitate employees with mobility challenges – in the form of wheelchair ramps and adjustable chairs.
  • Support for multiple languages to include employees from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Beyond the physical workspace, AV-powered training solutions can boost awareness about the importance of DEI among all employees. A DEI-friendly work culture can foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding among employees.

In summary

DEI is no longer simply another checklist item for modern organizations, but the right way forward to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. In this hybrid work environment, AV solutions can help companies embrace both equity and inclusion.

As an AV integrator, Resurgent can design your next AV solution to be more diverse and inclusive. We recognize the role of AV in the implementation of a DEI-friendly work environment.

We are here to help you. Book a consultation with our team today.

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