Creating a workplace that values and drives diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) has become a major priority for many companies. In addition to being the right thing to do from a social perspective, the benefits to being a diverse organization are numerous. A diverse workforce leads to more creativity and innovation, better connection with its diverse customer base, and bring new ideas and alternate ways of thinking about issues that a homogenous team might miss out on.
Workhuman’s Human Workplace Index survey found that roughly two-thirds of individuals say the presence of a DEIB strategy will influence how long they’ll stay with a company. Organizations that lack a DEIB strategy and inclusive culture risk losing the same people they’re trying to retain.
However, building a cohesive DEIB strategy can be challenging. In the 2022 Workplace DEI Report by Culture Amp, 81% of respondents reported that they believe that DEI initiatives are beneficial to their organizations. However, only 49% reported having a strategic diversity plan in place.
While it can be difficult to know where to begin, addressing the areas below will help you get started on the path toward creating an inclusive workplace.
Understand the culture of your company
To understand the culture of your company, look at the diversity within its workforce. Look at gender, ethnicity, age, and ability to see how many people from these diverse groups are working for your organization. You could also take a look at the mission and values of your organization to get a better understanding of whether DEIB is prioritized throughout all levels of your organization.
Address company biases and imbalances
To achieve success in DEIB, companies must first address the biases and imbalances that exist within their organization. This can be tricky, because imbalances are often so ingrained in an organization’s culture that they go unnoticed by people who are part of those groups. This is why it’s important to identify any existing biases and imbalances using data and research before you begin implementing strategies to improve your DEIB programs.
For example, there are several biases that may exist in your organization’s hiring practices alone:
- Do you have bias in job descriptions?
- Are there different expectations based on a candidate’s gender?
- Are candidates getting paid differently because they’re not part of a dominant group?
By conducting a thorough audit of your company’s current policies and practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion you can better identify any imbalances and unconscious biases present.
Make DEIB education part of job requirements for all employees
One of the best things you can do to make sure all employees are aware of your company’s DEIB policy and goals is to create a training program that addresses these topics. This helps employees understand their role in creating an inclusive work environment. The more employees understand about issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, the more likely they are to feel comfortable bringing up concerns or new ideas.
Steps to take:
- Ensure that bias awareness and education is a part of your employees’ job requirements.
- Make sure that all employees are aware of your company’s policy on DEIB.
- Make sure that all employees are aware of the DEIB goals for the organization as a whole, as well as how these goals tie into their individual teams and roles (e.g., talent acquisition).
- Make sure that all employees have access to the DEIB resources available within your organization.
Set targets and goals and a system for tracking and measuring progress toward these outcomes
Identify or develop specific DEIB metrics you wish to measure and establish targets for these that can be tied to your organizational goals and objectives, policies and procedures.
Now that you’ve set goals, it’s important to put a system in place for tracking and measuring progress toward those outcomes. For example, if you’re using data regularly to track the diversity of hires over time at your organization, you’ll be able to identify opportunities for improving diversity within certain teams or departments. This data is crucial because it allows you to hold yourself accountable to your DEIB goals. It also allows you to better identify key areas such as:
- Areas of improvement: What DEIB goals are not being met? Where is work needed?
- Areas of success: What DEIB goals are being met? How did they succeed?
- Areas of risk: What did we do wrong in the past that led us into trouble with DEIB? How can we avoid making the same mistakes again?
- Areas of growth: How have things changed since we first collected this data? Is it enough change for us to feel successful about our DEIB efforts so far? Do we need more time before the effects of this change become visible within our organization’s culture and processes because they’re not yet deeply embedded in routine practices across departments?
- Areas of opportunity: Based on what we’ve learned from tracking previous DEIB efforts, how can we make them even better going forward–and where will those improvements come most easily?
Launching a successful DEIB initiative isn’t a “set it and forget it” endeavor. It takes continued effort, from the whole organization, to make an impact. But you don’t need to be part of a large corporation to benefit from these ideas—they can be applied just as easily at small companies and startups.
If you’re feeling inspired, start thinking about how you can make your own workplace more diverse! And if after reading this article, you find yourself wanting even more tips and advice on improving your business processes or managing your team, check out our previous webinar on the topic of DEIB in the workplace.