The Lenovo logo is pictured at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world's biggest mobile fair, on February 27, 2018 in Barcelona. - The Mobile World Congress is held in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1. (Photo by Pau Barrena / AFP)

By Dumisani Sigogo

The first release of a new global research report from Intel and Lenovo revealed that technology will play an integral role in achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace of the future.

With the power to bridge accessibility gaps, connect people who are otherwise divided, and expand the benefits of upskilling and progressive training programs, tech is enabling people to work in more dynamic, flexible ways.

The study explored how people around the world viewed D&I in their personal and professional lives, and their perspective on the role technology plays to address systematic inequities, create more access, and enable growth.

Lenovo and Intel the two tech giants said the research offered an employee’s perspective on Diversity and Inclusion and that it was their longstanding goal is to see their organizations’ representation mirror the markets and customers they served.

Yolanda Lee Conyers, Chief Diversity Officer and President, Lenovo Foundation, explained the collaboration on the global research by the two multinationals, she said: “Intel stands out to us not only as a familiar partner in the industry but as an organization we can learn from to fully achieve representation goals across our own employee base.”

Among the study’s findings, 89% of respondents in China and 75% in the US say a company’s diversity and inclusion policies were “extremely” or “very” important when deciding where to apply and whether to accept an offer.

“The data confirmed that no matter where someone is in the world, we all expect an inclusive workplace. It underscores that Diversity and Inclusion is not a program or a campaign—it’s how we must do business. It is a business strategy that drives growth and success and it is critical to creating the right environment for employees to boldly engage in teams and bring their full experiences to work. When employees experience a sense of belonging, they are better able to drive business value,” said Barbara Whye, the Chief Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice-President of Social Impact and Human Resources at Intel.

The report also revealed that parents in the US were more likely than non-parents to view flexible work hours as a prominent impact of technology in the workplace by a 12-point margin.

High-income earners who participated in the survey agreed that tech played an “extremely large role” in improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In Brazil and China, more than 80% of employees agree that artificial intelligence can be used to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive, as do half of the respondents in the US, UK, and Germany.

There was consensus across the respondents that tech developed by diverse and inclusive teams will be more appropriate for a broader group of people.

Whye said: “Just as we apply our engineering mindset to create the world’s leading technological innovations, we do the same with our D&I strategies, using data to inform our decisions and sharing it transparently to drive clear accountability and deliver results across the industry.