Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are essential to workplace success. They help employees feel respected and empowered regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status or disability status.
Though these terms may often be used interchangeably, each has a specific meaning. Inclusion refers to actions, such as fair employee policies; belonging is how people react emotionally when faced with these actions.
1. Identify Your “Why”
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) is more than a trend; it is about creating an environment in which every individual’s perspective is valued. But what does that mean for businesses? In order to foster an environment of inclusion within their workplaces, organizations need to set specific, realistic and measurable goals as part of their DEIB plans in order to foster an environment conducive to DEIB initiatives.
Before setting goals, it’s essential to gain an accurate picture of your organization’s current state. A company-wide assessment can be completed, taking into account demographic makeup, hiring practices and current programs and policies. This assessment can reveal any gaps within your organization and how best to close them.
As part of your goal-setting, it is also crucial that you consider how your goals align with the mission and vision of your company. Doing this will ensure they align with overall business strategy as well as being easily implemented into all aspects of your organization. Likewise, inclusion isn’t simply about representation; it’s about feeling like part of something larger – this drives employee engagement and happiness!
Companies need to foster a sense of belonging for everyone at work by creating an inclusive and welcoming space, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, national origin or socioeconomic status – including contingent and gig workers who may feel excluded and valued within your DEIB efforts.
Finally, it is essential that leaders recognize unconscious bias so they can recognize and address their own. This can be accomplished through encouraging open conversations as well as creating opportunities for learning – such as reverse mentoring or shadowing programs.
At its core, adopting a DEIB culture for any business is to demonstrate to employees and consumers alike that they value all people equally. Companies embracing diversity and inclusion demonstrate they don’t fear giving everyone a fair shot to demonstrate their worth; something all people deserve. Businesses which embrace DEIB culture will continue to thrive even during difficult economic times.
2. Identify Your “What”
Studies have proven that companies who put diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) at the forefront are better prepared to respond to business challenges and recruit top talent. Furthermore, DEIB practices help your employees feel welcomed at work – leading to increased job satisfaction, performance, and morale overall.
Before embarking on DEIB goals, it’s essential to fully grasp what these terms entail and how they operate together. Diversity includes differences among people; equity refers to making sure everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources; inclusion ensures employees feel valued for their unique perspectives; while belonging refers to being accepted and part of an inclusive community.
Diversity encompasses various factors, such as race, gender, age and sexual orientation. Equity involves making sure these diverse groups are treated equitably in all aspects of life – hiring decisions as well as promotion decisions must all reflect this reality. Inclusivity encompasses creating an environment in which employees feel free to express their perspectives, supporting employee resource groups to provide networking and advocacy opportunities, and offering on-going education on topics like microaggressions and bias. Belonging refers to feeling welcomed and connected to one’s coworkers. Reaching this goal may require providing flexible working arrangements, encouraging employees to bring all aspects of themselves to work and creating a sense of community among coworkers through events like potlucks and holiday parties.
Once you understand these concepts, it’s time to incorporate them into your company culture. Start by working with your leadership team on developing a plan with clear diversity goals outlined for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging – be sure to communicate these with employees as soon as you’ve made any progress toward these targets.
As part of your DEIB efforts, it’s also beneficial to regularly assess employee experiences and perceptions via surveys or meetings. If the results don’t meet expectations, reassessing strategies may be necessary and making adjustments as needed.
3. Identify Your “How”
Diversity, equity inclusion and belonging (DEIB) goes far beyond being just an HR buzzword; it’s a strategic business tactic designed to create an engaging workplace culture. Companies that champion DEIB cultures tend to experience higher retention rates, more innovative ideas, and stronger financial results than their counterparts.
Implementing DEIB goals can be challenging for organizations. A significant barrier lies in measuring progress – many rely on annual employee surveys as an indicator of company culture; however, these can often only cover one or two aspects of DEIB and have limited participation rates; furthermore, their results are often non-actionable and even misleading.
To gain an accurate depiction of your company’s DEIB, it is necessary to identify its guiding principles and develop specific goals. Begin with an examination of your culture; this can help identify where your organization stands in terms of gaps that need filling, as well as provide benchmark data from similar companies for comparison purposes.
Next, create an inclusion plan outlining strategies to achieve your desired goals. This can be accomplished through various approaches including training on inclusivity, encouraging employees to volunteer for inclusive activities, and collecting employee feedback. It is also crucial to communicate the benefits of DEIB to your leadership team so that everyone involved has full buy-in and is fully invested in its implementation process.
Though having a DEIB plan in place is essential, it’s also crucial that employees feel safe reporting incidents of bias or discrimination without jeopardizing their employment security.
To foster a sense of inclusion, it’s crucial that all types of employees participate in team and company events – this includes part-time employees as well as contingent workers such as contingent contract employees. Contract workers play an integral part of workforce success; making sure they feel part of company family is essential; to accomplish this it would be wise to establish an affinity group or employee resource group specifically dedicated to contingent and part-time workers.
4. Identify Your “When”
Belonging is the final pillar in your DEIB strategy and essential for creating an environment in which employees feel valued, respected and accepted as part of a team or organization. Workers experiencing this sense of belonging tend to work harder for their company while being more likely to collaborate with colleagues and customers in ways that drive innovation and productivity.
For your workplace to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion effectively, you need to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. In order to do this, identify any shortcomings in its culture that need addressing. Providing training on unconscious bias or creating employee resource groups specifically targeted towards underrepresented groups are great places to start; you can even set goals to ensure employees are equally represented across your workforce by setting and monitoring these goals using data metrics can also help.
Acquiring leadership support for DEIB initiatives is paramount to their success, and one way you can do this is by framing them as business imperatives rather than moral or social obligations. You could use data or research findings to demonstrate how having an inclusive workforce helps businesses meet their goals more easily.
As a means of measuring the effectiveness of your DEIB efforts, the best way to assess their success is to focus on what matters to employees. Instead of relying solely on annual employee surveys, strive for frequent, meaningful dialogues with teams and individuals within your department in order to make real-time adjustments that keep employees engaged with your DEIB program.
An organization dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion will regularly evaluate their progress to ensure they’re meeting their goals. They should conduct diversity-specific talent searches and hire new hires from underrepresented groups – as well as setting measurable and attainable goals – while making sure all employees feel included; including contingent and temporary workers – feel they belong. Lastly, regular training and education sessions will support employees as they continue on their DEIB journey. With these steps taken by your company you are on track towards creating an organization with truly diverse and inclusive culture!