Disruption and Diversity in the Workplace

In the highly competitive business world, success isn’t just about what you do but also about what you do next. Even industry leaders always need to be looking forward, anticipating changes in the marketplace, tracking trends, and being willing to change as needed.

Disruption was one of the major trends businesses experienced in 2020 and continues into 2021. Now, depending on your point of view, disruption can be either positive or negative. On the positive side, it serves to implement or embrace innovations that can create new markets and bring new value.

“Positive disruption—or continually reinventing yourself and your brand—can better help people and organizations become more innovative and learn how to stay relevant,” according to a recent analysis of business disruption published by Forbes magazine.

One aspect of disruption is how people look at work. It is less about having a “job” and more about generating income.

“Jobs are over: The future is income generation,” says business strategist Heather E. McGowan from the Work to Learn think tank. Work is “not about driving productivity anymore because technology can do most of that. Now, it’s about inspiring human potential.”

For a successful business, that means upskilling employees, deepening their skill levels, and sometimes reskilling for new tasks.

The conversation about diversity in the workplace shifted dramatically in 2020, fueled by civil unrest and the Covid pandemic. The discussion has moved beyond the traditional talking points of inclusion to deeper issues regarding equity, social justice, and history.

“CEOs are realizing that they cannot and must not be silent in the face of the ongoing racial strife,” says Marc Haydel Morial, president of the civil rights organization The Urban League.

Morial says this shift in perspective began after the 2016 election and the “subsequent shift in conversations about race, socioeconomic status, immigration, and the systemic impact of these social markers on the experiences of people across the nation.”

As the nation comes out of the Covid crisis, businesses can diversify by reaching deeper into under-served communities. Companies can actively recruit a diverse workforce and provide the training needed to ensure workers can succeed.

Disruption and diversity are just two of the challenges facing businesses in 2021 as the world comes out of the Covid pandemic and people return to the workplace. Is your business embracing the changes?