Rosanna Duncan, Palladium Chief Diversity Officer
Last year, I predicted that 2022 would be the year companies would get to know their people again.
And by and large, it was. This past year brought many of us closer to ‘pre-pandemic’ life and a sense of normalcy, but we also returned to some of the same issues and challenges with respect to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the workplace – just with new perspectives gained from several years of lockdown and shifting priorities.
I would be remiss to look ahead to 2023 and not acknowledge the profound changes that have occurred in corporate offices around the world as many shift to a more flexible way of working. Even the four day working week has entered the conversation.
We always come back to the ‘war for talent’ and we continue to be in an employees’ market. Organisations offering flexibility will maintain an advantage in that market.
Flexibility in working times, working from home, and hybrid working will stay centre stage in 2023 and those organisations who don’t have them on their radar or strategies, are likely to fall behind in attracting and retaining the best talent.
Mental Health and Belonging
Tied in with flexibility and employee happiness is the continued focus on mental health. For years, many people suffered in silence in workplaces where there wasn’t a culture where they could speak out or talk about their mental health or say that they aren’t okay. I think for organisations in many parts of the world, the shame and stigma associated with saying you’re not okay is lessening, and more people are starting to feel confident and safe enough to step into that space.
In practice, this looks like communicating with employers when staff may not be coping and need more flexibility in how and when they work.
Staff disengagement or ‘quiet quitting’ can creep in when employees don’t feel supported at each stage of their employment journey. Flexibility will be a close ally in helping to drive retention rates in organisations, but so too will be creating an environment where employees feel they can bring their whole selves to work and feel appreciated. As I said last year, at the heart of it all is organisations needing to listen to their people and what they need.
The reality is, as an employer, it is unlikely that you will be able to deliver on all employee preferences, but you can start by listening and openly discussing what issues you can address. If you can ensure that people are engaged, have a sense of belonging, feel appreciated and that all aspects of their selves are being supported and respected, you’re on the right track.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Leadership Level
As ever, we cannot let up on our focus on diversity at the leadership level, particularly racial and ethnic diversity. To do so in 2023, organisations must think about what they are proactively doing to think about what diversity means in the different local contexts within which they operate. What diversity means in one country is not the same as another and if organisations are serious about increasing diversity in their leadership, they need to better understand the contexts in which they work.
Organisations must be intentional about increasing diversity within their leadership, ensuring that there are opportunities to attract and retain diverse and high potential talent. In doing so, it’s critical to keep in mind that it’s more complex than just running a recruitment process – it’s a matter of revisiting and reimagining what’s wanted and needed from candidates and adopting approaches and workplace cultures which will include rather than exclude the best and most diverse talent.
As we move into 2023 and face issues both old and new, it’s critical that we continue to make progress on ‘traditional’ issues (like the gender pay gap), because doing so goes hand in hand with ensuring diversity at the leadership level and creating an inclusive environment for all.
For more, read 'Stability, Skills, and Green Jobs: Employment Services Trends for 2023' or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.