We have good news and bad news. The good news is that more organisations than ever have established some sort of DEI initiative. Now for the bad news. Dedicating time, resources, and budget to ongoing DEI efforts in the workplace is where many employers fall short.
This guide offers actionable advice on sustaining DEI progress for long-term results.
What Is DEI?
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The term covers a set of principles aimed at creating an inclusive working environment where everyone is respected and valued. As part of this, DEI promotes equal opportunities and champions creating a culture that embraces and celebrates diversity.
We break down each component below:
- Diversity: This refers to the variety of different identities an organisation is made up of. For instance, people from different genders, ethnicities, ages, physical abilities, religious beliefs, races, and sexual orientations.
- Equity: This is all about ensuring everyone in an organisation has equal treatment and access to opportunities and resources. As such, it acknowledges that some people need different levels of support to create a level playing field.
- Inclusion: This ensures that everyone in an organisation feels valued, included, respected, and empowered.
DEI efforts in the workplace promote a positive culture, enhance business results, and drive innovation.
Tips On Sustaining DEI Efforts In The Workplace
We want to start off by congratulating you. If you’re reading this, you’ve already taken the first steps in obtaining long-term DEI results. For too many employers, DEI is a check-box activity. As a result, they don’t see a long-term commitment to DEI, nor do they reap the rewards that come with creating an inclusive workplace.
Investing in a plan to sustain DEI efforts in the workplace showcases your commitment to improving your organisation. To help you, we’ve compiled 8 tips on sustaining DEI in the workplace.
1. Secure leadership buy-in
Without a fully committed and accountable senior leadership, your DEI initiatives are likely to fall flat. That’s because organisational behaviour change is a top-down activity.
So, it’s vital that your leaders are actively participating in, promoting, and being held accountable for DEI. One way to ensure this is to tie DEI goals to performance evaluations.
2. Embed DEI principles in your mission statement
Every successful organisation has a clear mission and core values. Therefore, integrating DEI into those values is a surefire way to ensure its longevity. In other words, if you want to build a culture where diversity and inclusion matter, you must reflect this in your mission statement.
3. Identify DEI Champions
It takes a village to sustain DEI progress. On top of policies, practices, and a clear mission, you need the support of the entire workforce. Now, that may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually more straightforward than you may think.
Start by selecting DEI champions across the organisation. These people will be responsible for generating and maintaining interest in DEI initiatives.
Think of them as DEI influencers – they should promote and participate in DEI events in the company. As such, it’s important to pick wisely.
For example, we suggest choosing a diverse group of employees from different departments, seniority levels, and backgrounds.
4. Provide continuous education
Making DEI efforts in the workplace catch on requires ongoing training. This training equips everyone in the organisation with the knowledge and tools to foster and maintain an inclusive environment.
DEI training should be regular and cover unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, inclusive language, cultural competence, and other emerging topics. Due to its importance, we suggest making this training mandatory for all staff members.
5. Implement diverse recruitment practices
Building a diverse workforce may require your organisation to rethink its current hiring practices and protocols. Firstly, analyse your current approach and identify weak areas. For instance, do you lack diversity in senior management roles?
Next, use this information to revamp your recruitment practices to attract and welcome a more diverse talent pool. For example, try implementing standardised interview questions and diverse interview panels.
In addition, review your job descriptions to ensure they are inclusive. For example, our expert team can assist you in job ad screening to remove biased language.
Finally, make sure you advertise your roles on diverse-friendly job sites. That way, you can reach a wider talent pool and improve accessibility.
6. Review your promotion practices
Equitable employers ensure that promotion opportunities are equally accessible to all staff members. As such, it’s important to regularly monitor your promotion practices to identify any potential bias or unfairness.
You can even set specific metrics or goals to ensure that underrepresented groups are getting a fair shot at internal opportunities. While this is a step you most likely took at the beginning of your DEI journey, it’s important to review regularly to make sure you haven’t slipped back into old habits.
7. Support and promote Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
ERGs offer diverse staff members a platform to connect, collaborate, and share their experiences. As a result, these groups play a major role in sustaining DEI efforts in the workplace.
If you haven’t already, establish and support ERGs in the workplace. Then, create a strategy and commitment to maintain this support. For example, assign them a fair budget for activities, and ask for their feedback and input on DEI initiatives.
When nurtured, ERGs can help create a sense of belonging in your company and spearhead change.
8. Audit policies and benefits regularly
Pledging your commitment to DEI is all and well, but do your policies and benefits schemes reflect this? If not, consider conducting regular reviews of company policies to ensure they align with DEI principles.
For example, do you offer flexible working, healthcare benefits, or other options that accommodate the needs of a diverse workforce? Identify gaps and update your policies accordingly.
How We Can Support DEI Efforts In The Workplace
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are increasingly becoming a top priority for job seekers. Why? Because organisations that invest in DEI efforts in the workplace demonstrate a commitment to fairness. As such, many job seekers consider them to be better employers.
Establishing a stellar DEI strategy and implementing it takes research, time, and resources, making it a challenge for many employers. But the long-term results are worth it (lower staff turnover, increased productivity, enhanced employer branding, etc.).
Now the big question that many employers have is how to sustain DEI efforts in the workplace. After a big push to get them up and running, the long-term success of your strategy depends on how well you keep up your commitment. Accountability, regular feedback, and clear policies can help your business stay on track. As can following the advice laid out in this guide.
Do you need support with DEI? Embracing Future Potential can help. Browse our blog for up-to-date news on a range of employment topics and the latest workplace trends. You’ll find detailed guides on everything from adopting inclusive language to overcoming unconscious bias.
For more information on our range of bespoke employer services, get in touch.