By Varnika Garg, Associate Product Manager

“Inclusion is the celebration of diversity put into action.”

The future of work is here! The unprecedented forces of the pandemic have disrupted and reshaped the way organizations and teams work today. While remote teams have become the new normal; it also means recognizing the need for changing organizational policies and paying attention to crucial issues. One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations, made even more stark by the pandemic, is the need for Diversity and Inclusivity.

The benefits of a diverse, equal and an inclusive work environment are numerous, and these diversity in the workplace statistics can prove it.

  • More than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity (Glassdoor)
  • 69% of executives believe that diversity and inclusion are the most critical issues (Deloitte)
  • Companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues (Harvard Business Review)

Claudia Brind-Woody, VP and MD at IBM said,  “Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.”

Evidently, workplace diversity is one of the most crucial elements today. D&I initiatives make workplaces more successful and smarter, promote better employee wellbeing, and lead to increased job satisfaction and employee engagement levels.

How to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusivity 

The next biggest question for every organization is to identify where they are on their diversity efforts and how to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment. 

If you are ready to assess your D&I efforts, the most effective tool would be to run a “Organizational Assessment” or what we, at Numly, refer to as a mechanism to understand and bridge the gap between your current state and goals, and how to approach it.

Taking an assessment is a critical step to long-term success, as it provides a data-driven understanding of your current state around diversity and inclusion to guide strategic decisions around resourcing and action planning.

How Numly Helps You

Numly offers the opportunity to provide a Talent Insight Report for your organization, It enables you to understand and measure your employees’ skills gaps and get a personalized diversity solution for your organization.

The report provides an insight not only on diversity skill gaps within the organization, but also a detailed analysis and a plan of action to start with.

What You Need To Do

  1. The first step is to identify your goals towards a diverse workplace and clearly define what diversity, inclusion, and equity would mean to your organization.
  2. Take the simple Organizational Assessment to understand diversity skills gaps, followed by a strategic plan and analysis catered specifically to your enterprise. 
  3. Undertake a DE&I Peer Coaching program designed to help grow leaders who can implement collaboration and empowerment within diverse teams and nurture a working environment that treats people fairly and equitably. 

Want to reinvent your D&I initiatives? Contact us for a Product Overview or Book a quick demo with us.

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Diversity has been a hot topic over the past years in the enterprise community. A diverse workplace, now, is not a fleeting trend but a key to get higher revenues, capture new markets, and drive meaningful innovation. However, diversity is more than just a buzzword. It is meant to motivate corporations to provide an equitable and inclusive environment to their employees. It is a strategic initiative that has to tackle the systemic barriers and microaggressions that disenfranchise certain groups that hope to create a more equitable workplace. 

Organizations now know that diversity training is essential since:

  • The Millennials and Gen Z, the dominant workforce in the enterprise, are the most diverse generation in history 
  • 67% of job seekers consider diversity an important factor while considering employment opportunities 
  • Organizations with a diverse workforce are more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians 
  • Organizations with ethnically and culturally diverse boards are 43% more likely to show higher profits 

The Diversity Conundrum – Diversity Training Doesn’t Work 

While diversity training is essential to help individuals recognize unfair treatment in the workplace, most organizations hold an annual diversity training session that merely pays lip-service to equality, inclusion, and diversity. This traditional model of diversity training does not contribute towards an equitable workplace and can often be disappointing and even counter-productive. 

This is primarily because of two reasons. Firstly, most diversity training programs are focused on creating awareness about hidden prejudices and biases, usually towards women and ethnic minorities. However, raising awareness alone does not change people’s behavior. 

Secondly, unconscious bias becomes hard to address with a day-long session. It is almost impossible to retrain the brain not to fall prey to prejudices that have been socially reinforced throughout our lives. 

That most diversity programs don’t increase diversity is quite clear. You just have to look at diversity statistics for that. But why are diversity training programs failing? It is because, for diversity to work, it needs behavioral change. 

Change Ahead – Diversity Coaching Leads the Way 

Diversity initiatives need behavioral change 

Most diversity training programs assume that people act offensively because they know no better. While this is largely true, unlearning deeply ingrained behavioral patterns is difficult. As such, organizations have to create an environment that has a shared understanding of why certain things are offensive, and secondly, and more importantly, builds a shared understanding of which behaviors and comments fall outside the purview of acceptance. 

Providing clarity on unacceptable verbiage and penalties for transgressions is important. But it is more important to coach people to build empathy and sensitivity to new concepts of identity, fairness, responsibility, and intent. 

Creating such a work environment demands a shift in views and mindsets and can only be achieved through continuous learning. Coaching thus becomes the perfect pair for driving diversity in the organization to make sure behavioral change supports diversity in the workplace. 

Create an understanding of diversity 

Diversity training is supposed to address how different people are represented across the organization. Simply asking people to ‘tolerate differences’ does not fit today’s workplace, one that is defined by the global scope and lightning-fast communication. 

Given the complex narrative, organizations have to now focus on helping the entire workforce understand how a diversity of thought and different approaches bring in new ideas and perspectives. At the same time, they need to help employees understand that they need to embrace diversity and not merely ‘tolerate’ it. 

Diversity coaching helps organizations distill the concept of diversity into the employees such that it becomes a learned behavior. It helps everyone across the board understand that everyone across the organization is working towards a common goal and creates a common bond. Diversity coaching helps people understand that all employees are like soldiers charging up a hill – unless everyone moves forward together, the initiative fails

Battle the impact of learned behaviors

Organizations also should lean towards diversity coaching to create better-learned behaviors while unlearning older behaviors that do not support diversity and progressive thinking. 

A good example of learned behavior would be this statistic – “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” Women often tend to do so as they don’t view the hiring process as one where “…advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications.”  

Acting on these beliefs leads women to leave opportunities on the table. They also often tend to build small deltas in their professional and personal growth by limiting career options. 

Coaching helps bring a step-change in these beliefs that people live by and helps them realize their true potential. It gives them the tools, support, guidance, and network needed to succeed and helps organizations integrate diversity strategies, associated policies, and expected behaviors to align with the organizational goals. All these activities collectively impact the diversity matrix positively. 

Address the key diversity dimensions

Diversity is not unidimensional. It has multiple key dimensions and can be successfully implemented only when all these dimensions are covered to develop a path that ensures an improved arc of change. Achieving this through superficial, day-long training is an overarching, if not an unrealistic, goal. 

Organizations thus need to first identify all the key dimensions that play into diversity. For example, in addition to the hiring process, organizations need to assess the other areas that impact diversity – how are promotions conducted? Are all women employees getting the right kind of leadership coaching? How is the representation in the high-potential candidate pipeline and the leadership pipeline? How well are learning needs being met to create a pipeline of leaders who have the right technical and critical skills? Are we creating powerful networks that enable people to foster their growth path?

Identifying all dimensions that control diversity, all the traits that impact diversity, and all the behaviors that drive diversity have to factor in to make diversity programs successful. Organizations thus have to become more intentional in designing their diversity coaching programs. These programs should be data-driven, should connect the right coach to the right learner, and identify the right needs of individuals to create tailored programs that are measurable and impactful.

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can power your diversity programs. After all, many have a vision of what diversity programs should look like. But the difference between vision and hallucination is implementation. 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Remember the time when Artificial Intelligence was just a futuristic technology meant to be movie material? Today, AI is a mainstream technology driving almost all online interactions. As AI-driven everything becomes an enterprise staple, it becomes natural to extend the power of this technology to the learning and development department to drive powerful and contextual initiatives that deliver tangible results.

Here are a few reasons why AI is the future of coaching

Battle Information asymmetry

Until recently, coaches have worked on the principle of information asymmetry – a place where they have more information than the learners. However, the world of work is no longer holding the same avatar as a decade back. The enterprise is now a living, breathing organism that is evolving each day…and with this, its needs are evolving and changing.

Given the market forces and disruption at play, the rise of the remote workforce, gig economy and distributed teams, and rising competition, information asymmetry has to reduce to drive better coaching outcomes.

While coaches will have better coaching information, that information has to be relevant and contextual to the learner. For this, it is as important to have accurate and precise information regarding the learner and clarity on their learning needs. 

At the same time, the learners have to be aware of where their learning and coaching needs lie, how these efforts translate into progress, and how that helps them progress in their job roles.

AI-enabled coaching platforms help battle this information asymmetry by providing deep and accurate insights that help build a better understanding of how to drive coaching outcomes. They can help organizations drive phenomenal business results by identifying accurate coaching needs and powering better coaching conversations.  

Smart coach-learner pairing

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.

While this is a good philosophy to go by, in the enterprise context this doesn’t hold water. 

With constant change becoming a staple, enterprises need to increase their agility and flexibility to adapt to change. The role of critical skills such as communication and collaboration are also becoming more pronounced owing to the rise of remote working. 

A sharp focus on reskilling, upskilling, and associated learning and development activities become natural outcomes of this climate of change. However, to drive elevated coaching outcomes, it is imperative to have the right coach-learner pairing. After all, this determines the quality of coaching conversations.

Read: Power your Upskilling Initiatives with Coaching

While organizations realize the importance of the right coach-learner pairing, many still rely on archaic guesswork to enable this. Unless the pairing is right, the learning interactions and the engagement is not going to be impactful and will be unable to drive powerful results.

An AI-enabled platform alleviates this concern and makes it easier for organizations to drive transformational coaching programs. Such a platform uses advanced technology to make the right coach-learner pairings taking the learning needs and other variables at play. This approach makes it possible for enterprises to pair the right coach with the right learner, and make sure that enablement reaches their workforce when they need it.

Build a thriving internal coaching culture

The number one HR priority for most organizations this year is to create an internal coaching culture to drive organizational and employee agility. Skill development initiatives have to become more future-focused and dynamic. These initiatives have to ensure that employees develop the right skills at the right time and contribute to the development of a robust leadership pipeline.

Integrating coaching in the workplace culture is the only way to achieve goals while driving lasting change. However, to create the right coaching culture, enterprises have to replace guesswork with accurate data to identify the current and future needs of their workforce.

An AI-enabled coaching platform gives enterprises the capacity to identify potential coaches from their internal employees and assess their skill sets versus coaching needs. Using this knowledge, organizations can create an army of internal coaches and build a thriving internal coaching culture.

Drive performance management with coaching

The days of the end-of-year annual review are behind us. The millennials and Gen Z (the dominant workforce demographic) need timely and action-oriented feedback at regular intervals. Whether it is to identify performance gaps proactively or to identify new skill development opportunities to augment career paths, organizations now need to make feedback a proactive mechanism.

Read: Coaching Strategies for Millennials and Gen Z

Optimizing performance management systems to help accurately identify top performers and high potential employees are also organizational prerogatives. Data-backed insights into both technical and critical skill sets are essential to drive organizational outcomes by ensuring that employees are on the right upskilling, reskilling, or critical skill enhancement trajectory.  

An AI-enabled coaching platform helps to drive performance management with coaching and optimizes coaching interactions by providing timely and contextual nudges. The technology also gives organizations the insights they need to identify their high-potential employees and top performers and assess who should be moved into the leadership pipeline to make it more robust and vibrant.

Manage the diversity chasm

Organizations with diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by 35%. 

Diversity is the enabler of innovation and creativity and a factor that builds empathy into the teams’ fabric. To reap the benefits of diversity, these policies have to align directly with organizational goals.

Read: The Critical Piece to Drive Successful Enterprise Diversity Initiatives

However, strong coaching programs are essential to drive diversity initiatives and to make sure that they stick. For this, it is essential to make the right coach-learner pairing, assess where diversity initiatives are lacking, identify exact skill areas that employees need help with, and develop critical skills like empathy that link back directly to diversity.

But how do organizations make sure that they are not linking their diversity initiatives to become mere affinity programs within organizations? Employing an AI-enabled coaching platform can help organizations build their diversity initiatives by creating transformational relationships that elevate the intellect by addressing relevant and contextual concerns and challenges.

Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, an AI-driven coaching platform helps organizations build contextual and relevant coaching programs by providing clear insights into performance gaps. With clear insights, organizations can jumpstart relevant company-wide coaching programs, provide actionable insights into skills development, performance, employee engagement, and much more. With overall enterprise transformational insights, an AI-powered platform helps organizations proactively identify and add new skills to address their growing needs.

Connect with our team of experts to see how our AI-enabled coaching platform can help you drive better learning outcomes and power your employee engagement and employee experience initiatives.