Virtual workspaces allow companies the chance to redesign their diversity, equity, and inclusivity initiatives from the ground up. Within the structures of immersive workspaces, individuals are empowered to show up as themselves in avatar form, leading to fewer risks of bias and a stronger voice for each person.
These measures require intentionality. By planning frameworks, taking action, and developing a culture of inclusivity, enterprise companies can facilitate achievement across all types of staff. Those who may have been left behind due to intrinsic inequalities in traditional work now have a chance to reach their full potential.
Here, we’ll explore how you can help support diverse achievements at your company as you transition into the Metaverse.
During Hands In 2022, Virbela’s first user conference, we heard from Lilac Ilan, AVP Ecosystem and Innovation at AT&T, on how to start promoting DEI objectives in new virtual workspaces.
“The virtual world really allows an empowerment of individuals. The Metaverse tells individuals who may otherwise be stifled in a normal work environment that they can feel safe to share their views and be more vocal at the table. I think this is where the virtual world has a definite benefit compared to the real world environment.”
To Ilan’s point, Virbela has seen firsthand the ways in which introverted staff members are more comfortable sharing their knowledge, ideas, and work products with larger groups of people.
Companies can encourage this type of inclusivity across all staff by creating space for discussions in environments that replicate typical office spaces. Sitting around a table together, working in shared screens on walls, and spending time chatting before and after presentations allow those who may normally feel marginalized to participate in ways they couldn’t in typical offices or over video conferencing.
As companies start to build inclusivity frameworks that impact culture and innovation, it’s just as important that leadership takes action to foster achievements at the individual level. Staff who share their thoughts and ideas without appropriate recognition in the form of compensation, promotions, and access to high-profile projects are likely to retreat or simply find new jobs.
During Hands In 2022, panelist Mitra Best, PwC Partner & Technology Impact Leader, explains how this can happen:
“It's important to recognize that diversity actually leads to more innovative, more productive outcomes . . . Treating everyone with dignity and equal pay keeps people loyal. Recognizing them and rewarding them for what they have done will make us all strive towards that same goal of equity in the workplace.
“I think it's really important for us to recognize that this is not just check the box. This is not just lip service. This is actually an important, significant, critical success factor for the future of work.”
As leaders challenge directors and managers to provide these critical factors to staff, companies can discover ways to define themselves as innovators in their verticals. This is one of the most important business outcomes of allowing individuals to achieve. The achievements of your staff is exactly how your company achieves greater things.
Supporting Individual Staff
Brainstorm with your leaders and teams to discover ways to ensure recognizable achievements are accessible to all staff members. Depending on your company’s vertical, these new frameworks may include elements that weren’t possible when working remotely without a spatial presence:
- Provide transparency around meetings and leave doors open so staff can join when they see potential to contribute.
- Hold larger meetings in common areas so that they feel accessible. That way, anyone passing by is aware they’re happening. Even if they don’t attend, visibility connects everyone to your company’s objectives and opens paths to achievement.
- Search for ways you can invite staff to stretch their skills. Consider training, test projects, shadowing, experimental products, and more. When people can work together in the same office, they can collaborate in extensive ways.
One of the greatest ways to facilitate achievement across diverse staff is to provide mentorships outside of expected communities. People often gravitate towards people who are similar to them. They can see themselves stepping into a role if someone like them already has it.
Unfortunately, many workforces lack diversity in top positions. Women, BIPOC groups, openly LGBTQ+ individuals, and the neurodiverse are consistently under-represented in today’s C-suites. Your company can change this by inviting individuals who identify with these groups to join mentorship programs and form personal relationships with leadership.
By making these connections between different people and work objectives, your company can become a leader in DEI and surface the brilliance of all types of people.