Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives have been popular in response to social justice issues in America. For a real impact, DEI must go further than a politically correct press release or a single round of diversity hires. Your company will need a year-round commitment to succeed with DEI, but the changes can pay dividends in boosted engagement, productivity, and innovation.
Building a sustainable diverse, inclusive environment
Studies show DEI has the unique potential to increase sales revenue, increase customer base, and ultimately, increase profits. When everyone in the workplace looks the same and comes from the same background, your company is missing out on a wider range of problem-solving perspectives. A more equitable and inclusive workplace promotes talent and ability while guarding against unconscious bias.
How to measure DEI success
You’ll need tangible metrics to plan and evaluate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. Even when you don’t hit target numbers, you can see progress and compare the results of different methods.
High recruiting and retention rates
You can’t have a diverse workforce without recruiting and hiring more diverse employees. How many of those diversity hires are still working at your company one or two years later? How does the hiring and turnover rate among minority workers compare to other staff? HR needs this data and to address it directly, when necessary.
Employee satisfaction surveys
How satisfied are employees from different backgrounds? Sort and compare the results from an employee engagement survey to see if certain groups of workers feel less supported or underrepresented by management and the company. Job satisfaction can be one way to approach issues like high turnover and low productivity.
DEI training participation
Use a Learning Management System (LMS) to for DEI training. An LMS allows remote access for workers outside of normal work hours. It’s hard to get perfect attendance records with in-person training, but an LMS allows you to automatically track course progress, completion, and quiz results. High scores on DEI quizzes will confirm that workers engaged with the course material.
Successful DEI initiatives completed
It’s easy to make half-hearted experiments with DEI initiatives. When you take a more structured approach and track results, can you tell which initiatives were more successful? How did the different programs affect overall employee engagement? A variety of complimentary programs tend to be more sustainable than a single “solution.”
10 ways to promote DEI initiatives all year round
The underlying causes of inequality can be subtle, and they aren’t resolved in a single team building exercise or policy change. Make meaningful progress with a variety of complimentary initiatives.
Build strategy with aspirational goals
Can the diversity in your office more closely reflect the racial makeup of your region? How many of the year’s promotions and management positions went to underrepresented minorities? Set goals for inclusion in group projects and other opportunities throughout the company.
Make HR policies inclusive
Make sure your employee handbook and other policies use gender-neutral language. Outdated terms like “manpower,” “chairman,” and “secretary” can have gendered implications. Make sure your benefits include empowering options like paid family leave.
Implement process changes
Take a critical look at processes that contribute to gatekeeping. From the vetting of new hires to the selection of team leads for promotion, how can your company better promote DEI? Can you promote inclusion in processes that tend to be more informal and cliquish?
Build better training & education programs
Use unconscious bias training and other tools to promote awareness and inclusion. Use a Learning Management System with a wide range of programs to close skill gaps. Extra training with onboarding might make it possible to hire applicants from a wider range of personal and professional backgrounds.
Developing better recruiting strategies
DEI can help you take advantage of untapped talent pools for recruiting. Consider using a blind selection process to compare resumes and qualifications without names and other personally identifying information.
Create open dialogue about diversity
You may be surprised at the perspectives and suggestions from workers. Invite feedback in a variety of channels, from anonymous comments to discussions with managers. Your employees will feel more invested in DEI initiatives shaped by their feedback.
Engaging with minority communities
Take advantage of nearby colleges and career fairs to reach a variety of young professionals. To empower minorities already on staff, organize Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for workers. Formerly known as affinity groups, ERGs can provide constructive feedback on equity and inclusion in your workplace with a direct line for employee feedback to leadership.
Include everyone in your initiatives
A common risk of ERGs is that some workers may feel excluded as non-minorities. Make sure your communication channels stay open, and listen carefully to the feedback from all quarters. DEI initiatives have occasionally been used as evidence of reverse discrimination.
Accept past faults and be open to learning
It’s easy to get defensive in response to criticism. When employees identify problems related to DEI, try not to focus on explaining the reason for past policies. In cases of legitimate mistakes or changing company values, don’t be afraid to acknowledge the need for positive change.
Promote DEI year-round
It’s not enough to celebrate a wider selection of holidays and heritage months. A public crisis may demand a thoughtful social justice response, but DEI requires long term commitment. Regardless of what topics are trending or featured in the news, your HR department should continue to workshop and improve DEI initiatives.
Discover how Netchex can help your company promote and measure DEI initiatives throughout the year:
Industry news & tips sent straight to your inbox!
Enter your email below to subscribe to industry news, product updates, and tips.