Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 4.0: A toolkit for leaders to accelerate social progress in the future of work
The start of the decade has seen a convergence of three major trends: the accelerated use of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in the midst of the pandemic, job market disruptions to both remote work and work requiring physical presence, and a wide-ranging call for greater inclusivity, equity and social justice. Now more than ever, in the midst of such sweeping change, organizations have an opportunity to embed greater diversity, equity and inclusion. Societal change and the need for future creativity and innovation demand that business consider the best use of new technologies in enabling this journey. Successful organizations are powered by the diverse opinions, skill sets and life experiences of their employees. To tap into the full potential of human diversity, organizations need to hire diverse talent and create an inclusive working culture underpinned by a fundamental sense of belonging, fairness and equity, enabling people to bring their “full self” to work. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, most companies are set to implement new technologies and practices to manage their workforces. However, implementing these tools without due consideration risks a range of unintended consequences which can ultimately undermine a company’s reputation and competitive position. Today, more than ever before, new workplace technologies and practices are no longer simply “neutral” with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes. Leading companies are increasingly recognizing this and proactively leveraging technology as part of organization-wide strategies for achieving “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 4.0”. Conversely, companies without such an integrated approach are increasingly facing unintended consequences and risks when implementing new technology tools. Recent events are a reminder of the persistent inequities that continue to pervade our societies and economies. As companies seek to take on more responsibility for addressing social justice ensuring that diversity and equality becomes the norm in the very near future, a key pathway is to adopt an integrated approach to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and a renewed commitment to tangible change. Ensuring racial justice, gender parity, disability inclusion, LGBTI equality and inclusion of all forms of human diversity needs to be the “new normal” in the workplace set to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.This toolkit is designed to highlight the opportunities and outline the challenges specific to greater use of technology in the service of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. It is designed for organizational leaders, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers (CDIOs), and others actively working to promote diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces globally. It is intended to complement a range of related publications produced by the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society: “HR4.0: Shaping People Strategies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, developed in collaboration with the Forum’s community of Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) and a guide to sound decision-making in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, “Workforce Principles for the COVID-19 Pandemic: Stakeholder Capitalism in a Time of Crisis”.
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