An diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) manager oversees an organization’s DEI department. He or she addresses internal discrimination complaints while encouraging diversity initiatives and making sure employees are treated fairly.
Kelli Newman Mason understands the significance of diversity and inclusion within the workplace as she was previously the Head of People at two venture-backed startups and cofounder of an award-winning workplace inclusion strategy firm.
Invest in a Diverse Workforce
Diverse workplaces aren’t simply nice-to-haves – they’re essential in order to attract top talent. A 2020 survey by Deloitte discovered that job satisfaction was directly correlated with company diversity and inclusion efforts; PwC reported in 2015 that over 80% of millennials considered D&I policies an integral component in choosing which job offers they accepted.
Employees working in diverse environments typically report higher job satisfaction and productivity compared to their counterparts working in non-diverse environments, and more diverse workforce can help a company connect with a wider array of customers. Studies have also demonstrated that when women and people of color are represented in leadership positions within an organization they are 27% more likely to create superior value than organizations without representation for these demographics.
Establishing an inclusive culture takes both commitment and hard work from companies unfamiliar with working with various people. Senior leadership must support this goal if inclusivity is to become a priority within an organization; one effective approach would be to implement inclusivity training for managers and leaders to help them understand their biases while learning how to be more open-minded and empathetic in the workplace.
An integral component of an inclusive culture is creating opportunities for employees to form bonds within the company, such as employee resource groups or mentoring programs, that promote inclusion. When employees feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work and belong at the organization.
As part of an effort to foster a sense of belonging and increase morale, it can be helpful to offer Diversity & Inclusion training for new hires so they feel welcomed into the workplace. Such sessions might cover topics like addressing unconscious bias, providing support during menopause in the workplace or how best to interact with international colleagues.
Finally, it’s essential to measure and track the impact of your diversity & inclusion initiatives so you can assess which efforts work and which don’t. One effective method for doing so is through employee surveys which ask about employee satisfaction with company efforts related to D&I as well as day-to-day team interactions and experiences with D&I issues. You can then use this information to further shape cultural programs at your workplace as well as adapt policies & procedures accordingly and continue building an inclusive work culture at your organization.
Create a Culture of Inclusion
If your employees don’t feel included in your company, they won’t stay. To promote inclusion, create a plan and commit resources towards changing how hiring works as well as day-to-day team interactions. Also important: educate employees on why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) matters as well as setting clear measurable goals.
Start by auditing all processes related to people–from recruitment, performance management and development through personnel policies–that may impact diverse employees. Include in this evaluation any biases or assumptions within policies and procedures as well as any biases or assumptions you might hold. A diversity and inclusion (DEI) committee could also help drive your initiative: this should comprise influential leaders one or two levels below your CEO who have demonstrated passion for inclusion; members of this group can set goals while also helping determine what needs to be done to create an inclusive workplace for all employees.
An inclusive culture isn’t simply the result of having a diverse workforce; culture must support its inclusion. If employees with disabilities are treated unfairly and don’t receive equal respect and care as other workers, they may become disgruntled and leave for one that does. A DEI committee’s goal should be to make sure all employees in your company feel accepted – from those with disabilities, women minorities veterans LGBT+ employees as well as any other diverse groups.
Establishing an inclusive culture takes time, but leadership plays a critical role. Executives and department heads must prioritize DEI by being visible and vocal about it, encouraging other employees to follow suit, as well as giving committee members a chance to show how important inclusivity is within the organization.
Companies can also host Diversity, Equality and Inclusion trainings and events to educate employees about various identities, cultures and experiences. This provides the team with a more rounded perspective on how to foster an open and inclusive work environment for everyone; additionally it can increase morale and employee retention rates.
Be Aware of Gendered Language in Your Job Descriptions
Companies often struggle with recognizing how the language they use in job descriptions can convey bias against certain groups or genders, including words like “rockstar,” which carry male-oriented connotations that alienates female candidates; or any language implying the need for advanced degrees that serves as a barrier for applicants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Recognizing these biases will enable companies to craft more inclusive job descriptions that foster diversity while creating welcoming company cultures for all candidates.
One effective way of avoiding biased words in job ads is to conduct regular reviews and be cognizant of any they could turn off candidates. Doing this will allow you to identify any hidden biases and make necessary modifications that ensure fair recruitment process for all.
Importantly, even though roles with neutral titles may seem gender neutral at first glance, their language can still contain gender-coded language that signals to your organization that only men or women would fit the role. Utilizing gender neutral pronouns could open up your recruiting pool to candidates from a range of gender identities and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Wording that suggests specific educational or experience levels should also be avoided as this can deter applicants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who may not be able to afford advanced degrees such as an MBA. Instead of saying you require someone with this qualification for the role, try instead describing more realistically what their responsibilities will be and focus on skills needed for the position rather than simply listing its requirements.
Inclusive job descriptions that foster diversity are key components of creating a diverse, productive workforce and an excellent business. When you take the time to craft inclusive job listings, it shows your commitment to equality and inclusion; additionally, this approach may encourage underrepresented applicants to apply knowing that they will be treated fairly in the hiring process.
By welcoming diversity, equity, and inclusion into your company, it will gain from an expanded range of viewpoints when solving problems and coming up with creative solutions, ultimately leading to higher productivity, increased success, and enhanced customer experiences.
Focus on Merit-Based Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) are central tenets of any productive workplace culture. Companies that actively encourage DEI attract employees with varied backgrounds, opening the doors for greater viewpoints and ideas to enter. However, organizations must ensure merit-based inclusion rather than using diversity simply as an excuse to talk about diversity as a talking point.
Under a merit-based system, each employee is evaluated on their performance and potential, which helps eliminate biases for more diverse workforces and encourage excellence among all employees – as well as provide them with a sense of accomplishment when they reach it. Fostering such an atmosphere can ultimately enhance work quality while leading to improved business results.
Research indicates the importance of organizations prioritizing diversity and inclusion across their entire company, especially leadership positions. Women and minority groups remain underrepresented among executives at major firms. By emphasizing merit-based inclusion by making it clear only top performers will receive promotions, companies can cultivate an inclusive and productive work culture.
Diverse workplace environments offer businesses many advantages, from more creative products and marketing strategies to new customers and clients. A multicultural woman who understands the haircare needs of other women in her demographic may provide invaluable insight into which products and marketing strategies might appeal most strongly to them.
There are various methods for creating an inclusive workplace, including employee resource groups, diversity and inclusion training, merit-based hiring and merit-based promotions. But DEI requires cultural change within an organization, making having a diversity and inclusion specialist on hand essential in setting the appropriate tone and making sure everyone receives equal treatment.
Diversity and inclusion investments are crucial for your company. By cultivating an equitable workplace environment and creating an exceptional DEI program, your company will quickly become an industry leader for innovation and creativity.