Is Technology an Obstacle for Your DEI Initiatives?
How can you bring your team members together to give them the opportunity to communicate respectfully with one another, while also finding out their needs?
From experience, we’ve seen that when more and more organizations start embracing diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) initiatives internally, they find that technology is an obstacle for their communication. It’s especially true when trying to reach frontline workers who don’t necessarily have an email address nor a laptop device. This is the case with cashiers, people who work in distribution centers, people who are stocking shelves, to name a few.
Frontline workers are among the most diverse set of employees that organizations have, yet communicating with them hasn’t been a top priority for quite a long time. That’s where technology for DEI initiatives comes in, and it needs to be used smartly.
Why DEI Initiatives Make a Difference
Given that frontline workers come from very diverse backgrounds, it is crucial to make sure that every employee is represented. For instance, there is a substantial portion of women in the frontline workforce, and their needs have to be accounted for. In fact, they make up more than half of the retail workforce and control nearly 75% of all retail purchasing decisions, according to research. Frontline jobs also attract individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities and people of color, including immigrants.
Frontline workers encounter unique challenges in their professional and personal lives. Effective communication is a constant hurdle, particularly in the context of multilingual interactions. Ensuring that individuals can communicate comfortably in their preferred language and engage in meaningful conversations becomes vital. Also, a significant portion of frontline workers belong to low-income households, many of whom are parents with dependent children. Balancing work and family responsibilities adds further complexity to their lives, which is why DEI initiatives in companies are crucial.
Driving DEI Initiatives Through Digital Platforms
DEI initiatives aim to foster an inclusive environment that supports the diverse needs of their workforce. Communicating these initiatives effectively to frontline workers poses a significant hurdle. Organizations grapple with questions like how to disseminate information and whether technology will impede or facilitate the process.
One solution that has emerged is the use of technology platforms like an employee app, which has become an entry point for DEI within organizations. By leveraging such platforms, organizations can create sub groups where individuals from specific communities or shared backgrounds can engage in conversations and build a sense of belonging, besides work discussions. Moreover, leadership programs can be designed to promote minority employees, ensuring their growth and advancement. Over time, these initiatives become ingrained in the overall organizational culture.
Equitable Access to Information and Technology
When it comes to frontline staff, accessing corporate technology can be a challenge. However, by leveraging the devices they already use, organizations can bridge this gap and deliver impactful training and advancement opportunities. By doing so, they not only nurture the diverse leaders of tomorrow but also boost overall morale by showcasing a commitment to developing a diverse workforce.
Having the app readily accessible to frontline workers enables easy access to information and resources. Employees can discover and join affinity groups, fostering a sense of community and shared values. For frontline managers, the platform serves as a hub for diversity training, facilitating essential conversations on inclusivity. Community involvement is also streamlined, allowing organizations to target specific communities and make a meaningful impact through initiatives like extensive local community service hours.
Many organizations recognize the importance of cultivating diverse leadership. Consequently, they offer specialized training opportunities tailored to people of color. However, these programs may not be widely known or accessible to frontline staff. Employee apps bridge this gap by providing a platform to communicate and promote these programs effectively. By empowering frontline employees with knowledge about such opportunities, organizations can pave the way for their growth and development as future leaders.
By leveraging technology platforms and integrating DEI efforts throughout the employee experience, organizations can successfully navigate the complexities and build thriving communities where everyone can contribute and thrive.
And the shift in perspective is evident, as DEI initiatives are no longer standalone efforts partnered solely with HR departments. They have become integrated into various aspects of the employee experience, with partnerships formed between DEI, HR, and internal communications teams. This integration ensures that the messages and values essential to the long-term success of the organization permeate throughout the entire workforce, creating an inclusive and supportive environment.