March 16, 2022 - The need for diversity and inclusion efforts will continue to impact business education. As our society becomes more preoccupied (and rightfully so) with tackling inequality and exclusion, creating an environment where everyone is and feels welcome is mandatory.
Business education is not business as usual anymore. The external factors influencing it have multiplied significantly in the past two years and will lead to its complete transformation. To help you navigate this fast-changing landscape we published a trend report with the must-know trends.
We predict ten trends, split into three categories, influencing business education in all institutions and organizations. Societal trends, like diversity and inclusion, will challenge the purpose of business education, while industry trends will change the way it is taught. Tech trends will open new avenues and make the transformation of business education possible. Keep reading or download our 38-page Business education trend report 2022 in full.
Defining D&I and its impact on business education
Diversity refers to the similarities and differences among individuals accounting for all aspects of their personality and individual identity. Some of its dimensions are age, language, (dis)ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender identity.
On the other hand, inclusion describes the extent to which each person feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued in a place. It is the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded.
"Diversity refers to the similarities and differences among individuals accounting for all aspects of their personality and individual identity. Some of its dimensions are age, language, (dis)ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender identity." Society for Human Resource Management
In business education, the focus on diversity and inclusion will be noticeable in three major areas:
1. Admission and recruitments processes. Their intricacies are deemed to change, in order to become more inclusive and result in a more diverse group in question. Practices can include: ensuring the hiring or admission team is diverse or educating them on this matter, expanding channel of communication and making your organization or institution reach out to a broader pool of candidates, evaluating processes and data to discover any existing bias or severe discrepancies.
2. Curricula and training programs that will educate about the importance of diversity and inclusion and how to convey its values in the working or learning place. These programs can include acknowledging the variety of human identities, awareness of underrepresented groups, cross-cultural communication skills, explaining and addressing bias and prejudice, etc.
3. Methods of delivering learning and engaging employees or studentsthat are more digital and virtualized, synchronous or asynchronous. These enable enhanced accessibility and flexibility, allowing people to join wherever they are and lowering costs.
What are the benefits of D&I programs in your organization or institution?
D&I programs will improve access to your institution or organization and will make for a fairer work or learning place. They will promote tolerance and harmony among learners or employees, open minds and break down barriers between cultures, create more understanding between people, and reduce the potential for discrimination and misconduct.
Furthermore, these programs help tackle pressing societal matters; ensure that all groups and identities are well represented, that everyone feels welcome and enjoys an equal place at the table. But they are not beneficial only from a moral perspective.
A diverse and inclusive learning environment or workplace will provide a more rewarding, richer learner or employee experience, create a melting pot of insights and perspectives, support a diversity of skills, increase creativity and innovation. Safe to say, it is excellent for business.
According to McKinsey (2020), the topmost ethnical and culturally diverse organizations outperformed the bottom by 36% in profitability. In terms of gender parity, the same report found that organizations with over 30% women executives were more likely to outperform organizations with few to no women executives by 48%.
In the LinkedIn Workplace Learning report (2021), 64% of L&D pros globally and 73% of L&D pros in North America report that D&I programs are important and ranked number two in the top programs that L&D pros globally are deploying. Also according to Financial Times, diversity & inclusion ranked number 3 in the top learning themes for CLOs.
Whereas in business schools, 67% of the students believe diversity and equality are essential to business education according to Tomorrow’s MBA, an annual survey by consultancy Carrington Crisp, cited in Financial Times.
How can virtual and hybrid learning improve your organization´s D&I efforts?
It is not only the content of your programs that can instil the values of diversity and inclusion. The delivery method can support your organization or institution convey the same message, and virtual and hybrid teaching and training methods can help that.
1. They can bring together more diverse learners or employees thanks to the scaling potential to global capacity. People from all over the world can attend programs that were beyond their reach because it will no longer matter where a participant is geographically.
2. They allow for more accessible and flexible learning, enabling those who cannot afford to interrupt their career, who have family responsibilities or other impairments, including physical, to continue their studies. Participants join from any space connected to internet, watch recordings or attend evening, weekend or lunch break classes.
3. They can lower costs in terms of travelling, accommodation and catering but also rental space, maintenance and paper. This way, diversity & inclusion results can be enhanced by reducing tuition or training fees and by increasing the number of scholarships.
4. They allow all personalities to shine and are excellent for introverted participants who prefer not to share their thoughts in a face-to-face setting. This type of learner will feel more comfortable and open to speaking up via digital means, be it the chat section, a breakout room, or to be very responsive to interactive content, such as quizzes and polls.
Diversity and inclusion is just one of the ten trends that will impact business education across all organizations and institutions. Would you like to find out more of what lies ahead in the future? Then read all the trends to stay ahead of the curve in our report.