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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training is the first step to improving diversity in an organization. Unfortunately, many companies have yet to fully realize the benefits of DEI training. In fact, according to a 2021 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Harvard Business Review, 67% of organizations state they are only somewhat successful at creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.
Why Are DEI Initiatives Important?
Diversity initiatives improve communication and collaboration between people of different backgrounds and belief systems.
They also work to ensure fair wages, equality in hiring and promotion practices as well as improving the quality of life for all employees, customers and suppliers. These initiatives improve society, employee morale, reputation and economic equity.
It’s important to begin with these outcomes in mind when creating a D&I initiative. These programs require careful planning and execution to succeed in creating lasting change.
How Does Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Benefit Your Business?
Diversity is good for business. A six-year McKinsey study published in 2020 showed companies that were leaders in diversity were also more likely to be leaders in profitability.
How Does Inclusivity Affect Employee Satisfaction and Productivity?
Building a diverse workforce can help increase employee satisfaction and productivity by providing employees with opportunities to be part of an inclusive culture. Employee wellbeing skyrockets when each person feels valued for who they are and the unique perspective and personality they offer.
What Are The Basics of a Strong DEI Initiative and Why Does Your Organization Need One?
When it comes to workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizations often focus on the symptoms rather than the root causes of disparities. As a result, they may roll-out initiatives that unintentionally perpetuate bias or even create new ones.
Fragmented DEI initiatives that don’t address the root of flawed belief systems can leave employees who don’t identify with a marginalized group resentful; wondering if the most qualified candidates were overlooked for a position in the name of diversity.
Human Resources professionals may feel frustrated about how to meet recruitment expectations they don’t know how to achieve, or even if quality candidates in those marginalized groups exist. Employees may also feel that inclusive behaviors are just one more workplace responsibility they have to take on with irritation.
A strong DEI initiative must include the most important aspect of the company: the people. To develop a thorough understanding of an organization’s current state, the organization must talk to the people who are moving the company mission forward. Companies can begin by assessing demographics, analyzing job descriptions and processes, conducting climate surveys and reviewing policies and procedures, but until you talk to colleagues about how those findings effect their everyday work, you won’t get very far. A company needs to know the why behind making changes With this information, organizations can develop a plan to address areas of concern.
This can lead to a substantial and compelling set of goals tailored to a more equitable and inclusive workplace can bring several benefits to any company, including:
- Improved communication and understanding between employees of different backgrounds
- A more diverse pool of talent to draw from
- Greater creativity and innovation
- Improved decision making
- Enhanced reputation and brand image
By engaging employees in the process and ensuring buy-in from leadership, companies can set themselves up for success.
Identify Your Organization’s Top Areas of Priority
Identifying your organization’s DEI goals will vary depending on several factors, including industry, corporate vision, company size, geographic location, employees and customer base.
For example, if you’re a global company based in the United States with employees who work remotely from around the world (as many start-ups do), providing an authentically inclusive remote work environment may present an area of focus for your company’s growth.
Your organization’s areas of priority might include:
- Equal pay, without regard for country of residence
- Inclusive remote work environments that explicitly seek globally diverse perspectives
- Diversity in leadership that reflects the demographics of the company
How Do You Turn These Aspirational Elements Into Concrete Actions Your Organization Can Take To Enhance Its Equity and Inclusion?
Once you have identified your organization’s top priority areas, you can begin to develop a plan of action. This plan should include realistic and measurable goals with a timeline for implementation.
When developing your organization’s DEI plan, involving employees at all company levels is essential to making sound decisions and implementing change. Employees offer valuable insight into the challenges and barriers they face or notice for others in the workplace. They can also help identify potential solutions that will create a more inclusive organization for everyone.
Finally, remember that DEI initiatives are ongoing processes, not one-time events. It’s essential to review your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your organization is moving closer to achieving its goal of being an equitable and inclusive organization.
Developing an Effective DEI Initiative in 2022
Now let’s dig into how leading institutions are successfully addressing DEI in 2022. Corporations like Boston Scientific are ensuring that there is almost 100% pay equity across their organization.
Discover has released its first public Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report, sharing its achievements and goals. This list includes notable improvement of increasing the number of women in management to 50% and people of color in management to 40% by the year 2025.
Saks Fifth Avenue has committed to increasing the sales of Black-owned, -led, or -designed brands by nearly $100 million by 2023. Additionally, they are working to ensure 50% of their editorial models are diverse in age, ethnicity and size.
These are great examples of setting clear and measurable goals to move a company forward in concrete practices that make a difference. No matter the size of the organization or the depth of the initiative, there are some key components that every Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiative should have.
DEI initiatives differ depending on the needs of each organization; however, these factors work across the board in designing and implementing a successful diversity program.
- Leadership commitment: DEI must be a priority for senior leadership to succeed. Leaders should model desired behaviors, provide resources and create a corporate culture of accountability.
- Workforce analysis: As mentioned above, organizations need to understand their current workforce to identify areas of concern and opportunity. This includes looking at supplier diversity, hiring processes and promotion practices.
- Inclusive policies and practices: Organizations should have policies and procedures supporting DEI. This includes flexible work arrangements, unconscious bias training and equal pay for equal work.
- Diversity training: Employees should be given the tools to understand and embrace diversity. This ongoing training should cover topics like unconscious bias, effective communication and allyship skills.
- Employee Resource Groups: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be a valuable tool for promoting DEI within an organization. They provide a space for employees of diverse backgrounds to come together, share their experiences, offer support, and develop visionary goals for a company.
- Make it public: Publishing an annual report can help to show employees, customers and other stakeholders what your company is doing to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. It increases public trust and holds your business accountable for sticking to the goals you set for your initiative.
Measuring your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative’s Effectiveness
A simple way to measure your diversity, equity and inclusion initiative’s goals is by measuring outputs and outcomes.
- Outputs are the visible results of your inclusion initiative; they’re easy to see but don’t necessarily provide insight into what’s happening behind the scenes or how effective your initiative is overall. For example, an output may show the number of employees trained on unconscious bias.
- Outcomes show whether or not key indicators are changing due to your DEI efforts. An example of this would be an increase in the percentage of employees who’s post-training surveys showed they feel they’re workplace environment feels more inclusive and accepting.
The goal should always be a positive change related to diversity and inclusion within organizations and tangible results for communities served by businesses (e.g., representation, better access to goods/services or equal pay).
Evaluate and Adjust as Needed.
Evaluate the progress of your DEI program regularly with surveys, focus groups and data reviews. Be willing to make adjustments as needed to ensure that the initiative is successful and that your organization is a socially responsible institution.
Add Effective and Relatable DEI Training to your Initiative
It’s important to consider how you can make your DEI initiative more effective. Adding practical and relatable DEI training to your DEI efforts will help make them successful.
The Learn with Risha Grant online DEI training program is an excellent start to moving your company forward in its diversity efforts. This training is accurate, edgy and gets beyond often defensive roadblocks employees may have when entering a training.
Learn with Risha Grant enlists the expertise of a DEI thought leader who’s worked with clients like Harvard, Google and Youtube to share knowledge and practical tools for D&I with your organization.
While implementing a DEI initiative is essential, it’s not enough to just have one. You need to make sure that it’s effective and impacts your organization. If you plan on creating a new initiative or improving an existing one, consider the Learn With Risha Grant online training program to encourage your organization’s continued development and growth.