Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an organization-wide responsibility requiring input from every team. Therefore, employees from every role must be able to track data regularly – including junior-level employees as well as leaders.
An effective DEI assessment must address everything from recruitment and hiring practices to workplace culture and amenities. Here is how you can start tracking progress:
1. Understand your demographics
As a business, you need to understand your demographics in order to effectively implement diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Doing this allows you to recruit top employees from varying backgrounds – which helps create an inclusive workplace culture while drawing in top talent.
Many younger workers consider diversity an important component in choosing whether or not to accept a job offer, believing that an inclusive workplace makes them feel at home and can increase productivity. Older employees must also recognize diversity’s benefits for overall workplace productivity.
Encouraging employees who wish to act as DEI sponsors is also crucial, and an excellent way of doing this is forming an inclusivity committee comprised of employees from different departments and levels within your organization. It should ensure everyone can voice their opinions freely without creating an echo chamber where everyone agrees with one another.
An effective way to promote an inclusive workplace is through training for all managers and senior leaders. Remembering their critical role in your company’s success, these managers set the example for how employees should be treated; by giving them training on the importance of DEI in the workplace they can create a more welcoming atmosphere – helping your company to thrive!
Another effective way of cultivating an inclusive workplace culture is ensuring its accessibility for all employees, such as transgender people. Furthermore, offering flexible working arrangements may prove especially helpful when trying to balance work life with home life.
Finally, it’s essential to recognize that any DEI initiatives won’t succeed without the support of senior leadership. A diverse executive team that sets an example by leading by example is necessary if DEI initiatives are going to succeed.
2. Build a culture of inclusion
One way of building an inclusive workplace culture is establishing employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs allow employees to come together, discuss issues of mutual concern and offer input into business initiatives; ERGs may help identify any bias or barriers to inclusion and make necessary changes.
An essential step toward building an inclusive company culture is educating leaders on what constitutes inclusion within their company. This should involve making sure leadership is aware of all of the cultures and traditions represented among your employees, as well as welcoming feedback. A recent survey discovered that 34% of employees felt their employers didn’t listen when suggesting ways to enhance workplace environments.
Doing the time and work required to understand your diversity and inclusivity needs will pay dividends in the form of increased employee attraction to companies that prioritize equity, as demonstrated in a 2021 CNBC/SurveyMonkey workforce survey. Furthermore, employee retention will become easier when employees feel connected with their workplace – leading to reduced turnover costs.
Companies can foster diversity and inclusion beyond creating ERGs by reviewing their policies and practices for any biases or barriers that might hinder diversity. This may involve reviewing language used in job posts to ensure it does not contain discriminatory or negative messages, as well as offering flexible working arrangements and family-friendly benefits to meet different lifestyles and traditions.
As part of their inclusion efforts, organizations should create an inclusion team. This committee should include people from varying backgrounds so that it can develop an overall view of inclusivity within your organization and uncover any blind spots in current strategies that may not be fully inclusive – new perspectives or challenging assumptions could even help uncover these blind spots!
3. Invest in talent
Diversifying and increasing inclusion is more than recruiting employees from diverse backgrounds and offering them equal opportunities; you must invest in them by giving them what they require, such as mentoring and sponsorship programs that enable leadership growth and learning and development initiatives that allow them to develop new skills and broaden perspectives. Foster an inclusive workplace where everyone feels free to bring their unique perspectives and create employee resource groups or other formal communities where employees can meet people with similar interests.
Your DEI investments are crucial to its success as it helps identify and remove barriers that prevent individuals from fully participating in your organization. In contrast to equality, where rewards are divided evenly regardless of need or desire.
Once you have developed an effective DEI strategy, it is crucial to assess its progress and establish goals that can guide future decision making. This might involve reviewing hiring practices to see if more candidates from diverse backgrounds are being attracted, or reviewing the ratio of women leaders compared with other companies.
McKinsey studies have repeatedly shown that more diversity within management ranks correlates to greater likelihood that your company will outshone expectations. For instance, companies with the highest proportion of women on leadership teams were 38% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile of diversity levels.
Consider also the wider impact of your efforts, such as measuring how diverse employees rate their job satisfaction and whether their ideas are valued within your workplace. As this issue can differ depending on which business is involved, measure metrics which best address your unique requirements.
Though it will take time and dedication to address diversity effectively, companies that do not prioritize it risk losing out to competitors who do. Once in place, its benefits will become evident: talent acquisition becomes easier.
4. Measure progress
As the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion gains momentum, businesses must commit to strategies that will result in real change. Many people understand that simply talking about issues without taking action to address them is insufficient if businesses truly wish to make an impactful statement about diversity, equity and inclusion.
Education of employees about the importance and advantages of welcoming diversity within a workforce is an essential first step to creating an inclusive workplace environment. Setting benchmarks and tracking progress are equally vital; for instance, if hiring more women becomes part of your company’s goal, measuring how many have been hired as a percentage of overall staff could give an indication as to its progress as well as any potential issues or gaps that exist in diversity management efforts.
One of the best ways to foster diversity in a workplace is through developing programs that provide opportunity and growth to underrepresented demographics. Such initiatives might include mentoring, employee resource groups, training on unconscious bias/microaggressions/DEI value as well as other initiatives. Senior-level sponsorship of such efforts is crucial – with leaders actively participating in training events or attending training courses themselves.
Step two is ensuring there is representation at every level in the organization, including frontline employees and C-suite. For instance, if there are more women in entry-level jobs but none in management roles, that indicates an issue that must be addressed. Furthermore, diversity should also be present among your leadership team – this means including different races and ethnicities within it.
Diversity doesn’t just boost morale and culture; it also has been shown to boost business performance. Studies have revealed that companies with the highest levels of gender and racial/ethnic diversity experience greater financial returns than companies with low diversity levels. To realize these returns, it’s essential that diverse workforce representation exists at every level within an organization – this may mean recruiting from various geographic areas as well as using blind resumes which obscure data such as socioeconomic status and race information on resumes. You could use sites such as Hire Autism or 70 Million Jobs which help find talent from marginalized communities.