How to Build Diversity in Remote Teams 

The rapid advancement of communications technologies over the last few decades has opened the door to new possibilities for connecting businesses to a global talent pool of workers. And in recent years, employers have uncovered numerous potential benefits — for businesses and employees alike — of supporting a significant remote workforce. 

If your company has embraced remote employees, you want to make sure the work environment you create is fully connected and conducive to peak performance. One important aspect of the equation is finding ways to foster diversity in remote teams. 

Have you developed the right hiring processes, opportunities, corporate culture, and policies and procedures to support diversity within your remote workforce? Here are some steps to take if you’re committed to building diversity in remote teams. 

Assess Your Hiring Process 

Diversity in the workplace starts with hiring processes designed to eliminate bias, and there are several options to explore. Anonymous application reviews that lack information like names and photos can counteract biases in the early screening process, ensuring that candidates are considered for their skill, competency, and merit. 

Using AI software and data-driven analytics for blind recruitment is another option. Eventually, of course, the hiring process will involve interviews, which will reveal identifying information like candidate names, races, geographic locations, accents, and so on. 

You can use standardized assessments to inform the interview process, creating an apples-to-apples comparison of knowledge, skills, qualifications, and overall job suitability. Training is also an important aspect of promoting diverse hiring practices. All hiring managers should complete bias training to help avoid unconscious biases. 

And don’t forget to diversify the resources you use to recruit. Choose platforms and networks that cater to underrepresented groups. Determining how to build diversity from the ground up isn’t easy, but there are several steps you can take to create processes that support diverse hiring. 

Provide Equal Opportunity 

It’s important to understand that every employee is unique. While businesses naturally prefer to maintain certain standards for operations, there are steps you can take to provide equal opportunities that support diversity. 

One simple modification is creating flexible scheduling to accommodate workers in different cities, states, and countries. Demanding a “9 to 5” schedule based on your time zone could seriously limit access to a diverse pool of candidates. 

You might also offer some flexibility in days and hours worked, such as earlier shifts for parents who pick kids up from school. Alternatively, you could offer to do four ten-hour workdays instead of five eight-hour days each week for employees seeking a better work-life balance with three-day weekends. 

One of the most important DEI strategies for remote teams centers on access. Some workers may not have access to the technology and tools required to do the job, so you might consider issuing hardware like laptops and cell phones to everyone in your remote workforce. 

Address Your Company Culture 

A good reputation as a diverse company with an equitable and inclusive culture can help you attract top candidates and pave the way for diversity in remote teams. This starts with raising awareness of biases through mandated diversity training and creating policies and procedures that support diversity. 

Committing to an inclusive workplace where all employees feel safe and supported is the cornerstone of building a diverse corporate culture. Training designed to raise awareness of unconscious bias and develop cultural competence is another great option. 

You can set diversity goals for your organization related to representation, equity in pay and promotion, and employee morale. You might also consider creating penalties for infractions like discrimination or microaggressions to empower individuals to report behavior that makes them feel unsafe or unsupported. Encourage allyship that promotes bonding and protects vulnerable employees. 

Widen Your Hiring Net 

Qualifications for different positions could include both education and experience. However, you might want to reconsider benchmarks.  

Is there an amount of experience that would offset a lack of education? Could candidates with the right skills, core traits, and eagerness to learn be trained for a position? 

Understanding how to build diversity in the workplace isn’t just about hiring from different regions. You also need to consider candidates from backgrounds that don’t match the norm. 

Does your company outsource certain activities? If so, make sure to partner with organizations that not only offer the business services and technology solutions you need but that share your goals of promoting diversity in the workplace, too. 

Facilitate Collaboration 

It’s not enough to create diversity in remote teams. You also need to find ways to help individuals participate and connect. This starts with facilitating communication and collaboration across a workforce divided by time and space. 

Technologies for collaboration abound. You should consider utilizing several communication platforms, including:  

  • Team Chat Apps: Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, Slack, Discord, etc.  
  • Video Conferencing Software: Zoom, RingCentral, etc.  
  • Messaging Software: WhatsApp, Wire, etc. 

You could also develop custom software solutions tailored to your organization’s specific needs. 

Engage in Remote Team Building Efforts 

Team building doesn’t necessarily require that all employees be together physically. You can conduct it virtually as well by utilizing online exercises or games meant to help remote employees connect and bond. 

You might want to acknowledge and observe different celebrations and traditions, allowing team members to share the things that matter to them personally and culturally. This can promote understanding and awareness, helping to create a work environment where every employee feels seen and valued. 

Even something as simple as a weekly group coffee chat to check in with remote members can be an important aspect of team-building efforts when determining how to promote diversity within your organization. 

Institute Training and Mentoring Programs 

Some of the best DEI strategies for remote teams include pairing up members for training and mentorship. When employees with different backgrounds collaborate to teach one another, it not only supports professional growth but helps to increase cultural competence as well. 

Experience the Benefits of Committing to DEI in a Remote Workplace 

Building diversity in remote teams could help improve performance and morale. In turn, in turn, you can boost financial performance company-wide. It can also help you attract top talent. With unbiased hiring practices, accessible opportunities, and an inclusive corporate culture, you can foster diversity in ways that benefit your company and its employees. 

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