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May 27, 2022

DEI in XR: Broaden Your Processes to Drive Inclusion

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It’s not enough to want a more diverse workforce at your company. Leaders need to get intentional about building one. That means ensuring that hiring processes are broad enough to be inclusive—and promotional paths encourage them to stay. 

The Role of XR in Diversity

We already know that diversity at work can help break down silos, lead to higher productivity, and surface innovation. 

When you combine the power of different minds, they are more likely, as individuals, to contribute unique thoughts. Their collective insights can lead to cross-functional partnerships, more efficient problem-solving, and new products or services. 

XR workplace technology can help you redesign your inclusivity processes for greater impact. As virtual recruiting programs or immersive 3D offices emerge, companies, like AT&T and PwC, are overcoming common blockers and building teams that represent a wealth of experience and talent. 

Explore how your company can achieve a diverse workforce that serves your growth objectives far into the future. 

Humanize Recruiting 

Lilac Ilan, AVP, Ecosystem and Innovation at AT&T, calls out an immediate need to make recruiting more personal to achieve inclusivity. She shares her thoughts from the Hands In 2022 Women in Tech panel.

“If you look at the way we recruit today, it's a recruiter that sets the network to find talent—but when the talent applies, they send their resume to a very dry system that matches keywords.”

This kind of automation is attractive when you expect thousands or even tens of thousands of resumes, but it’s inherently biased towards the keywords your recruiting team selects. 

Fix this potentially exclusionary practice by broadening your qualification parameters. Include non-traditional career paths or allow more value-based keywords to offset the reality that some highly intelligent people are held back due to bias. 

Their resumes might not have words like manager or director yet, but they still have what it takes. These are the people you’re looking for when you want to counterbalance legacies of exclusion. 

Pair automation changes with more humanized practices in your following steps. XR worlds and virtual offices make it so easy to meet candidates from anywhere in the world. There are no geographic, travel effort, or social distance barriers to meetings. 

For global companies, this can be a game changer for inclusivity. When your clients span time zones, continents, and languages, your staff diversity should reflect that. Virtual recruiting allows you to centralize your efforts for company-wide cost effectiveness, while still extending opportunity to a broad group of candidates. 

Develop Scalable HR Programs

As your company’s processes evolve, you can scale and repeat success by developing virtual frameworks for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and promoting. At some companies, this may include interview panels, onboarding sessions, task force meetings, performance reviews, and more. 

“I want us to start thinking about the future,” Ilan advises. “We can easily jump into a virtual environment, bring your authentic self to the table, and talk to a recruiter without any bias.”

In these virtual environments, people interact as avatars. You can express yourself however you like in avatar form, choosing and changing physical appearance and apparel options in a matter of minutes. In Virbela, there are options for dreadlocks, ponytails, fades, hijabs, and various facial structures. You can wear a neon green tie, an ugly sweater or high-heeled boots. Seeing these appearance options offered by a company sends a powerful message: Come as you are. 

Build these clear messages of acceptance into your programs and your company’s culture evolves along with its processes. Imagine an onboarding event where everyone can be themselves as they learn about your company and get to know each other. You’re already creating an environment that facilitates this culture and training your new hires to understand this is how you operate.

In turn, they’ll bring confidence and peace of mind to their roles. They’re empowered to focus on objectives without the distractions or insecurities that can detract from performance. 

At the leadership level, stay attuned to these changes. If you notice a talented team member holding back, consider if there is a gentle or appropriate way to change the mood. It can be as simple as a kind reminder that your company is designed for thousands of people to be themselves.

As company objectives adjust to meet your market’s demand, you can continue to support inclusivity by opening promotional paths to a wider variety of people. Rely on the spatial nature of virtual offices to form stronger connections with people, collaborate closely across teams, and spot the individuals who are ripe for promotion.

By building a more interconnected work environment, your company can help people step into opportunity when they may be overlooked at more traditionally organized companies.. The cross-functional transparency of XR frameworks allows a diversity of people to chat with leaders, access important projects, showcase their work, and prove their value. 

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For more on how to design immersive, inclusive XR workplaces, follow Virbela on LinkedIn or reach out to sales@virbela.com

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