Tech companies should focus on diversity and inclusion during COVID19 for multiple reasons impacting directly their financial results.
Firstly, future job candidates will ask companies what they have been doing to address coronavirus-related issues with their employees; companies who failed to create a sense of belonging and inclusion amongst their employees during COVID19 will fail to attract future talent if they have not addressed diversity and inclusion during the pandemic;
The second reason why Tech businesses should focus on diversity and inclusion during COVID19 is because of the direct correlation between employee’s engagement and productivity. Engaged teams show 24% to 59% less turnover, 10% higher customer ratings, 21% greater profitability, 17% higher productivity, 28% less shrinkage, 70% fewer safety incidents and 41% less absenteeism. Creating a culture of inclusion is the best way for companies to create employee’s engagement, which will ultimately create productivity. This is especially true during COVID19 where most employees work remotely, which is the case in most Software companies, and are more disconnected than ever before; Tech companies must prioritise inclusion initiatives.
The third reason why companies should focus on diversity and inclusion during COVID19 is that there is a lot of media scrutiny on which companies are laying off employees during the pandemic, especially in highly visible Tech companies; it is a well-known fact that the most vulnerable employees (often employees from under-represented groups) are the ones being laid off first and are often the minority groups such as working mothers, people of colour, etc… Job losses are higher among people of colour during the coronavirus pandemic, as stated in NPR.org; a survey from the Data for Progress found that 45% of black workers have lost jobs or had their hours cut, compared with 31% for white workers. If companies fail to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts during the pandemic, they are more likely to unintentionally lay off those employees from underrepresented minorities first or put them in furlough and this will be picked up by the media which will damage their reputation and the trust from their customers.
Ultimately, companies’ leadership teams know that diversity is the right thing to do but often fail to prioritise it as a business priority and fail to translate the intentions into actions. Tech companies that will come out of COVID19 stronger are those whose leadership teams prioritise diversity and inclusion because they will create more employee engagement, more productivity, better talent attraction and a better brand sentiment from customers.