In recent years, companies have been faced with a choice: take action on diversity, equity and inclusion or be publicly called out. And in some cases, they have even been hit with discrimination lawsuits. It’s no longer acceptable for companies to stay silent on diversity, equity and inclusion issues. Companies must take action on DEI to remain relevant and recruit and retain top talent.
How to take action on your diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives
1. FIND THE GAPS
While duplicating diversity initiatives from other organizations may seem like a good and easy way to get your DEI initiatives off the ground, it’ll soon prove ineffective. You must first understand who your employees are and what they care about. This creates a baseline for you to measure change from the initiatives you are making. From there, you can start to design your diversity initiatives around the needs and wants of your employees.
If you aren’t sure how to get started identifying gaps within your organization or you just need some guidance, consider bringing on a DEI consultant.
2. MAKE DEI EVERYBODY’S RESPONSIBILITY
Too often, DEI is thrown on the shoulders of the Human Resources department or mixed in with the leadership mission. To have effective diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, every employee needs to have a role. That also means that everyone needs to be held accountable.
For example, increasing diverse hiring does not amount to much if you are not creating a workplace in which everyone feels heard and respected. Diversity, equity and inclusion affect every part of the organization, so your initiatives should also.
3. THINK ABOUT LEADERSHIPS’ ROLE
Senior leadership needs to recognize that the organization is not a level playing field, due to societal inequalities. Leadership sets the tone from the top. One of the top reasons that DEI initiatives fail is a lack of buy-in from leadership.
Sometimes leaders need DEI training that is tailored to them. This helps them understand what is lying ahead, what is expected of them, and what roles they play.
4. SET MEASURABLE GOALS
Many times DEI goals are extremely ambitious. Think practical and set realistic, measurable goals for your DEI initiatives. If your initiatives are brand new, expecting a 30% change in executive leadership positions may be a little unrealistic. Does a 5% or 10% increase in leadership and management positions sound slightly more realistic?
Nobody said that DEI was easy, but by setting goals, you can look back and see the actual effects of your work, which will make it a little more manageable.
5. INVEST IN TRAINING
6. PRIORITIZE ACTIONS THAT HAVE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR ORGANIZATION
The thing to highlight here is your organization. While some organizations may benefit most from going out to recruit from HBCUs, some may benefit most from making the material they hand out to employees more accessible. The actions you should take will vary depending on what your employees need most and what your organization's goals are for DEI.
The difference between diversity, equity and inclusion
DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Diversity refers to the different characteristics among people. While many think diversity is limited to race, gender and ethnicity, it is so much more. Diversity can also include sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, veteran status, disability, education level and more.
While the conversation around increasing diversity in the workplace has grown, 78% of employees felt that their organization lacked diversity in leadership positions.
Examples of diversity in the workplace
An organization's team is made up of people from different cultures.
An organization recruiting people from unconventional or different backgrounds
An organization is putting together a team of different age groups.
EQUITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Equity means ensuring that everyone has the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed. While some people may need extra resources, and some may need little to none, equity helps level the playing field. When equity is present in an organization, employees are more engaged, and employee retention is higher.
Examples of equity in the workplace
An organization makes job descriptions accessible.
An organization provides equitable employee benefits.
An organization provides accommodations for employees beyond what is legally required.
INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE
Once you get diverse workers in the door, how do you make them stay? Creating an inclusive culture means everyone feels heard and valued. Companies with an inclusive culture experience 2.3x more cash flow per employee because employees are more engaged and productive.
Examples of inclusive in the workplace
An organization recognizes and celebrates cultural holidays.
An organization ties DEI into its everyday communication.
An organization trains its employees and leadership on diversity, equity and inclusion.
How does DEI impact your organization?
Numerous research articles have been published outlining the benefits of prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion in organizations, from increased employee engagement and revenue to a better brand reputation.
Diverse teams make better decisions. A Cloverpop study found that when diverse teams make a business decision, they outperform individual decision-makers up to 87%.
Employees are more engaged. A Deloitte study found that 83% of millennials show higher levels of engagement when they feel like their organization fosters an inclusive culture.
DEI gives you a leg up over your competitors. 78% of people believe diversity, equity and inclusion offer a competitive advantage.
Employees seek out employers with D&I strategies in place. 86% of women and 74% of men reported seeking out employment opportunities with companies that had diversity and inclusion strategies.
Customers trust brands that show diversity within their advertising. 70% of Gen Z customers are more trusting of a brand when they feel that they represent diversity within their ads.
Diverse teams increase revenue. Boston Consulting Group found that companies with above-average diversity had 19% higher revenue due to innovation.
Diversity increases innovation. A Deloitte study found that cognitive diversity can increase innovation by 20%. Cognitive diversity refers to diversity of thought, values, and perceptions, ultimately leading to a better team.
Potential employees care about diversity, equity and inclusion. 67% of workers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering a new employer.
Diverse companies earn more cash flow per employee. Organizations that prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion see 2.3x higher cash flower per employee than their counterpart.
Diverse and inclusive teams exceed financial goals. 75% of diverse and inclusive decision-making teams exceed their financial goals, according to a Deloitte study.
All in all, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives all aim to create a culture where employees feel welcomed, valued, and able to thrive. Promoting DEI in the workplace is not a quick fix. It takes a long-term strategy and commitment from everyone in the organization. Be prepared to put in the work and commit to having uncomfortable conversations.
At FIG, we believe that DEI is more than just another HR program or company initiative, it is a business strategy. Ready to take action on DEI? Reach out to us for a free consultation today.