Thanks to remote and hybrid work, we can see how digital transformation and societal transformation can evolve simultaneously. Businesses are implementing digital innovations and reinventing their organizational strategies. It is apparent how Unified Communications (UC) is supporting the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives of companies worldwide.
Drive to DEI
The Covid pandemic and recent movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have compelled people to reflect on the social injustices that exist in our country today. The scrutiny on these social issues has permeated the professional world. As employees discuss their discriminative experiences in the workplace, executives and business owners are scrambling to improve their organizations’ hiring practices and company culture. This has led to the rapid expansion of workplace DEI programs. Once seen as a sub-component under the human resources department, DEI has now evolved into a core business function in which large and small businesses are aggressively investing.
- Diversity is the practice and quality of including and involving people from different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.
- Equity refers to fairness and equality in access, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals. With workplace equity, companies look to identify and acknowledge specific needs related to demographics such as ethnicity, race, gender and gender identity, disabilities, and more.
- Inclusion is the set of behaviors (culture) that encourages employees to feel valued for their unique qualities and experience a sense of belonging.
Digital & DEI
Digital transformation and the focus on DEI have led to increased demand for UC, which provides a one-stop interface through which employees can communicate and collaborate. As a reminder, UC gathers all modes of communication, such as voice calls, messaging/chat, and more, into one software platform to make communication and collaboration easy and accessible. Here are five examples of how UC and DEI intersect:
1. UC provides access to resources
DEI efforts include ensuring that all employees have equal access and ability to reach their full potential by having access to the necessary tools that will help them meet your company goals. Supporting and optimizing UC environments such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack provides employees with capabilities that enable access and sharing of work across individuals in different locations with different needs.
2. UC for variously abled teams and team members
UC meets users where their abilities are. UC benefits are especially apparent with teleconferencing. For instance, speech-to-text, like closed captioning and text-to-speech capabilities, make information accessible to users who best absorb information through reading or listening. UC allows team members to contribute orally or through the chat function for speech output. In addition, UC expands the talent pool by enabling people with physical disabilities who could not easily travel to an office to join your team and work from home.
3. UC for equitable workload distribution
UC solutions can collect time-tracking data. With this data, managers can more effectively distribute more significant tasks among team members and also optimize meetings in terms of length and who is in attendance. Here UC and leadership can foster teamwork while highlighting the heavy lifting of specific individuals.
4. UC to support women in the workplace
The Covid pandemic continues to be especially tough on women, who are still bearing the brunt of the demands of childcare and housework. With UC, employees with children at home from school can easily toggle over to chat rather than audio and have the option of switching off their camera in video conferences.
An added benefit of UC is that recording and sharing features facilitate “on-demand” employee viewing or listening so that they can catch up or review when, how, and as often as they want. UC enhances the meeting experience for all.
5. UC for voicing concerns
Through the literal screen of UC, employees are more likely to feel empowered to speak up when facing or witnessing discrimination or harassment. UC also affords an employee a variety of ways to report and, more importantly, document problematic interpersonal dynamics in the workplace. UC provides more channels for airing and addressing workplace concerns.
Designed to Deliver
Empowering people via powerful technology is what we do. The cornerstone of our iTelecom culture is support. We support our iAgents and customers with the highest levels of service.