It’s hard to deny all the benefits you get from having a thriving DEI program. For example, DEI is associated with higher recruitment and retention rates. According to Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers want to work at companies with a diverse workforce. Having DEI initiatives helps you keep top performers engaged for the long haul.
Yet drawing up a DEI policy is not a ready-made proposal. Like so many other strategies, DEI can fall flat if it lacks support. And a DEI program that is all talk and no action does not look good for your organization.
This makes it imperative that you figure out ways to get your DEI seeds to take root. You can start by remembering some of the best practices for creating DEIs below.
1. Make sure you have visible, active DEI champions at the top.
No DEI program can gain traction without leadership encouragement. After all, executives and top managers set the tone. If claims Gallup“A leader’s active, visible role in DEI efforts conveys the company’s values, sets an example for employees, and helps maintain momentum.”
Don’t just assume that all of your C-suite players will be on board with DEI immediately. Many may like the idea of a more inclusive, diverse culture, but fail to recognize the importance of their input. Help them understand how you want them to model your expected DEI efforts. For example, you can ask them to mentor employees from underrepresented groups to increase those employees’ promotion opportunities.
2. Expand DEI in the candidate experience.
It’s impossible to become more diverse as a company without incorporating DEI elements into your hiring processes. As a partner for talent acquisition OSI Engineering Notes, the way to increase the diversity of your talent pipeline is to expand your sourcing pools and offer both flexible and remote work. Internships, especially in areas like technology, open doors for more job seekers without a degree.
Once applicants start the process, remove any biases from the evaluation process. Standardizing all interview questions can be a good start. While you still want to hire people who are the best fit for you, you can’t afford to let unconscious bias thwart your DEI goals.
3. Set measurable goals for your DEI goals.
The broader goal of all companies’ DEI campaigns is to build a more diverse, inclusive culture. However, you need to know whether or not you are going in the right direction. KPIs help you track your successes and identify obstacles.
If you’re not sure what metrics to look for, there are a few options to consider. Take, for example, the demographic composition of your workforce. Yes, 20% of your workforce may represent minority groups such as people of color or people with disabilities. But what if they’re all entry-level with little chance of moving up the ranks? You then have no representation at all levels. Other measures to help quantify DEI include employee satisfaction surveys and supplier diversity breakdowns.
4. Learn from the DEI triumphs and stumbles of others.
A good way to get stronger with your DEI measures is to keep an eye on other companies. Knowing what’s working under the DEI umbrella at organizations inside and outside your industry is important. You not only gain insight and quick ideas, but you can also avoid pitfalls.
As you learn, make sure to keep adapting the role DEI plays in your business. DEI is a continuously changing process. What works this year may not have the same impact next year. Stay open to growing your DEI if you need to. Setting up an internal DEI committee can be a huge resource. That way, you have a group tasked with ensuring your DEI is at the forefront of transformative change.
5. Make use of DEI sources.
Still not sure you have everything you need to launch a large-scale DEI campaign or set DEI policies? That’s where resources come in handy. From consultants to DIY style DEI kits, there is no shortage of information available. You just need to look for something that fits your DEI vision and mission.
DiversityInc is a respected premise, as it is CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. The former offers numerous solutions, including connections with other leaders and brand partners. The latter is a coalition with opportunities for peer-to-peer discussions and mentorships. As you meet other founders, owners, and directors who are at the forefront of DEI plans, you can continue to gather information and resources.
Your DEI policy does not write or maintain itself. Nevertheless, the process of bringing it to life doesn’t have to be daunting. Mapping out your approach can help you become a leader in the DEI movement in your industry – and perhaps beyond.