Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) jobs have experienced an upsurge of interest recently. Promoting an environment conducive to equality within companies is vitally important to their growth and success.
Workers whose workplace promotes DEI are more likely to feel satisfied and comfortable at work, according to research conducted in 2020 by McKinsey.
1. Invest in Your Workforce
Investment in diversity is one of the key ways companies can create an inclusive culture. Employees want to work for organizations committed to inclusion, and studies demonstrate that businesses with diverse workforces tend to perform better than those with homogenous teams. Furthermore, people from various backgrounds bring unique ideas and perspectives into the workplace that help companies innovate and expand.
One way to invest in diversity is by creating a dedicated team to foster a more inclusive company culture. This team should consist of people from various walks of life who possess an ardent desire for inclusivity, and act as liaisons between employees and leadership teams. Furthermore, its composition should include both senior and junior members to allow all employees equal participation in this process.
Before forming this committee, it is crucial that your organization clearly defines what the terms “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” mean within your organization. There may be debate as to whether you arrange these letters alphabetically according to equity or diversity – no matter your choice, make sure all members on your team understands each of these words individually as well as how they relate.
An inclusive culture can bring many advantages to an organization, including increasing productivity and recruiting top talent. It can also increase customer satisfaction and strengthen brand image. Furthermore, it is crucial that employees recognize everyone has an identity which shapes their experiences and influences how they interact with one another; while this may be difficult for some people to comprehend fully at first, training employees on how their identity impacts them personally as well as ways they can work to make their workplace more inclusive for all is key in developing an inclusive workplace culture.
Companies should review their current workforce to assess its diversity. Furthermore, hiring practices must also be assessed for any necessary adjustments; gender and racial makeup of leadership should also be examined in order to ascertain if more diversity should be introduced into leadership teams.
2. Create a Culture of Inclusion
One effective way to promote inclusivity in your workplace is ensuring all employees understand its significance. You can do this through training programs that teach people to identify biases and understand how they can avoid them, encouraging everyone to discuss experiences and feelings openly with managers supporting these discussions; ultimately creating an environment in which employees feel safe enough to speak freely about issues in the workplace.
To successfully promote an inclusive culture, leadership needs to set an example and show their support of this value. One effective approach to do so is by creating a team of influential leaders passionate about inclusion who are dedicated to making it a core value within the company. This group may consist of people from various backgrounds or levels within the business – as long as each area of business is represented on it. Finally, working alongside CEO and other key leaders, they’ll devise an action plan for creating lasting culture change within your company.
Companies often hire a chief diversity officer (CDO) to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are taken seriously throughout the organization. This individual typically reports directly to either their CEO or head of HR and receives resources needed to implement inclusion initiatives in the workplace. While hiring an CDO is an excellent way of prioritizing diversity and inclusion across their entire company, it should not take on this responsibility alone as this may cause them to focus too heavily on certain groups within employees while overlooking other aspects of business operations.
All employees should be encouraged to participate in events that recognize diverse cultures and backgrounds, such as Black History Month, Women’s History Month, or Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month. Doing this can encourage employees to become more immersed in company culture while showing they care for individuals while providing an enriching workplace experience.
3. Train Your Staff
Your employees are an essential asset when it comes to diversity training, as they will ultimately be affected by company culture and DEI initiatives. Involvement from employees from the outset helps promote buy-in and ensures they feel confident advocating for inclusivity within their teams and throughout your company.
Dependent upon their position, this may include serving as the go-to person for employees with inquiries about office policies or training programs. They could also assist with planning inclusive events, verifying job ads for bias-free recruitment practices, resolving internal discrimination complaints and providing ongoing education, mentorship and support to their peers on how best to advocate for inclusion within an organization.
Unconscious bias training is another part of this kind of role, helping individuals recognize how their subconscious or automatic assumptions influence decision-making and overall interactions with others. Such courses may help reduce microaggressions and other forms of discrimination for a more inclusive environment.
As a company, you can also take steps to diversify your workplace by revising job descriptions and cultivating an inclusive workplace culture. For instance, using gender neutral terms will prevent alienating anyone and adding an invitation for people with disabilities to apply may also help encourage people with disabilities to submit an application. You could even try expanding your reach using nontraditional job boards and reaching out to Veteran Employment Representatives as ways of finding talent.
Establishing an inclusive workplace may seem challenging, but with the proper approach it can be highly rewarding for all involved. By centering your staff around mentoring programs and educational training opportunities; using gender neutral language when writing job descriptions; using gender neutral terminology when selecting candidates for roles; using gender neutral terminology when interviewing and reviewing qualifications of roles – you’ll soon attract a more diverse set of candidates while reaping real returns on your investment in DEI. Although it may take time and efforts are ongoing – as long as you remain consistent and remain open to learning – you’ll soon create an inclusive work force!
4. Create a Job Description that Attracts Diverse Talent
One of the first steps toward building a diverse workforce is writing inclusive job descriptions. Though this may seem like a small change, its significance should not be overlooked – using gendered language and non-inclusive pronouns may send unwelcome signals that dissuade qualified applicants from applying.
Reconsidering required qualifications is another effective strategy to get people onto your team. Requiring a bachelor’s degree, for example, could exclude candidates from less privileged backgrounds who cannot afford such an expensive higher education; restricting applicants by age and social class could alienate potential applicants; instead focus on creating a set of core skills which make up an ideal candidate and ensure it’s clear that learning on the job is encouraged and supported.
An additional tip when posting diversity job ads is listing only essential candidate needs, rather than employer wants, which has been shown to significantly increase applications4. This strategy works particularly well when emphasizing how a candidate will make an impactful difference to both their role and wider company.
Hearst Magazines utilize photos of employees alongside job descriptions to entice prospective candidates to hover their cursor over them and reveal short employee stories that provide insight into working for their company. Parexel uses creative, timeline-focused media based on real employee stories to attract a range of candidates.
Consider listing policies your company has implemented to promote inclusion, such as employee resource groups or significant benefits like paid parental leave and religious holidays being recognized. This will demonstrate your dedication to diversity and inclusion while giving candidates searching for an employer who supports them an incentive.
Finally, use a tool that allows you to collect feedback from self-described underrepresented candidates regarding what aspects of the job advertisement were most enticing for them. This can help identify any barriers preventing underrepresented groups from applying and provide you with insight on how you can best attract them.