In the last few years, company leaders were beginning to look closer in the mirror, digging deeper into metrics around hiring, pay, promotions and bonuses to surface gender and other bias within the workforce. Almost simultaneously, COVID-19 hit, disrupting every aspect of business worldwide and adding another complex layer to companies’ D&I efforts. Now, the Covid-19 pandemic-spurred hybrid and remote work models are becoming the new normal, and global business leaders are considering the impact on all aspects of their businesses, including D&I.
In September 2021, Intel commissioned a survey that interviewed 3,136 business leaders across 17 countries and several industries to learn how they currently view D&I, and how they plan to build inclusive and diverse companies going forward. In India, the findings reveal the perspectives of more than 200 business leaders across the country on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on achieving their goals and how they plan to build inclusive and diverse companies going forward.
81% of the business leaders surveyed in India said that workplace disruptions caused by the pandemic have had a positive impact on DE&I in their organization, demonstrating how remote workspaces and hybrid work models have been successful for achieving DE&I goals. Furthermore, 71% said their organization has significantly adapted DE&I initiatives for a hybrid workforce.
Organizations are at an inflection point in how they integrate DE&I into their systems, culture, and leadership expectations. Majority of survey respondents (81%) in India believe the workplace disruptions driven by the pandemic have had a positive impact on DE&I in their organization, suggesting that Indian business leaders are confident in their trajectory to achieving DE&I goals.
About 69% of survey participants who have set DE&I goals said they want to achieve them in the next two years, and 77% of those are confident in the company’s ability to do so – compared to 66% of business leaders globally.
In thinking about how changing work models will impact DE&I at work, 71% of Indian leaders whose companies offer hybrid work options said their organization has significantly adapted DE&I initiatives for a hybrid workforce. That compares to 60% of leaders globally, suggesting Indian businesses are at the forefront of anticipating inclusion challenges in an evolving workplace. On the other hand, 16% of Indian business leaders have indicated a negative impact on DE&I progress due to the pandemic, with the top reason being that remote work has made inclusivity challenging.
“This survey sheds light on the fact that with the right mindset and a culture that promotes employee wellbeing and technology, we can accelerate the journey toward a more diverse and inclusive workforce. As organizations plan for the next phase of work — whether remote, in-person, or hybrid — leaders need to continue thinking differently about DE&I. Intel is committed to driving inclusion within our organization, as well as in the industry,” said Anjali Rao, Senior Director – HR, Intel India.
Technology plays a key role in achieving DE&I goals; 94% of respondents with a hybrid workforce in India agreed that technology will make it easier to achieve their DE&I goals, highlighting its importance. Over half (51%) of respondents said that exploring how technology might help bolster their DE&I commitments is one of their top three priorities in the next 12 months.
66% said that remote working and digitalization has made it easier to hire from underrepresented groups. On the other hand, 55% of those who have indicated a COVID-driven negative impact on DE&I said that working remotely has made inclusivity more challenging. 36% of business leaders said there’s room for their company to invest more in systems and initiatives that promote DE&I. In terms of barriers to success, 45% said that a lack of investment in the tools and technologies to innovate is a key challenge that could prevent their company from reaching its DE&I goals. 50% said that more employee training, development and support is critical in helping their business reach its DE&I goals, and 63% believe that more awareness and inclusive language in products and documentation could help businesses achieve their DE&I goals.
As technology has helped organizations globally stay connected during the pandemic, increased feelings about its role in enabling D&I may not be surprising. They do, however, showcase the mindset of business leaders as we enter a hybrid work world: The right technology is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s critical for the future of inclusion.