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How to Take Your DEI Initiatives to the Next Level

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Many companies have set DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) goals in recent years. Putting measures like these into place can yield benefits for employers and employees alike.

However, as is the case with many corporate social responsibility initiatives, the success rate of many of these efforts is sub-par. Often the slow pace of these results correlates to a lack of actionable activities. Without actual ways to put words into practice, it’s difficult to create change.

If you’re part of an organization that is trying to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips to help you put your company’s money where its DEI mouth is.

Start by Defining DEI

One of the biggest pitfalls of DEI initiatives is the fact that they’re often misunderstood. Contrary to popular belief, the acronym doesn’t just mean hiring a variety of different races within the same workspace. It doesn’t even stop at the inclusion of different genders, ages, sexual orientations, religions, and disabilities.

True diversity must also extend to the skills, experiences, and education of your workforce. Different personalities and beliefs should percolate through a business, providing a variety of different cultural influences. This allows a company to benefit from a widely diverse worldview.

In addition, inclusion and equity address the idea that everyone is allowed to operate on a level playing field. A workspace must labor to become open and fair. It should offer opportunities to everyone to both contribute and receive compensation equally, regardless of backgrounds, cultural norms, or expectations.

Education is a critical first step in successful DEI policy. By clearly defining DEI, you can ensure that your business is working toward the right endpoint. This one step all on its own will have an instant impact on your DEI effectiveness.

Consider All Aspects of Your Company

It’s easy to assess your DEI initiatives in relation to specific areas of a company. The C-suite or white-collar departments can often take center stage. And these are important areas worthy of attention.

However, the work shouldn’t stop there. On the contrary, the application of diversity, equity, and inclusivity should continue to trickle down throughout your entire organization. From accounting departments to warehouse staff, management to customer service, businesses should vet every department of their organization.

In fact, this momentum can and should carry right over to other B2B relationships, as well. For instance, DEI policies can impact freelancers and contractors. Companies like Certifiably Diverse also help streamline the complexity of overseeing a diverse yet effective supply chain.

Extending DEI policy beyond the four walls of your organization is important. It helps expand the positive impact of your efforts. It also ensures that others outside of your organization are aware of your DEI policies — and by extension, help to keep your company accountable.

Lean on Data

Data is a powerful tool in the hands of a modern business. And, sure enough, it has a very applicable use in the area of DEI as much as anywhere else.

For example, you can use your existing data to compare your actual hiring, compensation, and other practices against your DEI objectives. This doesn’t just help you gauge how well you’re doing. It can also provide relevant data that you can use to set appropriate goals for the future.

These should be SMART goals that are achievable yet challenging. Having quantifiable metrics to track can do wonders when it comes to accountability.

It can also give you the parameters within which you can reasonably announce these goals to stakeholders. You don’t want to make empty promises that you can’t fulfill. However, if you’re aware of the data, you can announce real-world DEI initiatives that you’re aiming for.

Revamp Your Hiring Methods

Recruitment has been a hotspot for DEI issues for a long time now. No matter how much pressure builds up, recruiters continue to struggle with introducing bias into the hiring process. This makes a company’s recruitment efforts a prime area to overhaul in the name of applicable DEI activities.

This is a process that, like many others, can start with metrics. Consider the effectiveness of your current system. Is it including an acceptable pool of diverse candidates? Is it giving everyone inclusive and equitable consideration?

If you can tweak your current process for better results, more power to you. However, if you find that you need a significant change in your hiring process, you may want to consider setting up a new system.

There are many diversity and inclusion technology options, like Jopwell, available for employers to use. Tools such as these can help bring greater balance to the recruitment process. This kind of software can give employers the means to build a workforce that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Weave DEI into Your Company Culture

Influencing company culture isn’t free. It requires time and resources when done well. If a company wants to see greater DEI results, it can dig to the root of the issue by impacting the very culture of its organization.

This can happen in multiple ways. A good compliment to a more diverse and inclusive hiring process is to create a DEI-friendly onboarding process, as well. From company beliefs to proper training to providing mentors for new hires, there are plenty of ways to use this time to improve your DEI.

In addition, consider more subtle yet crucial activities, such as embracing a growth mindset for your enterprise. This involves adopting a state of mind that is open to change. In most cases, this speaks to the idea that individuals can develop things like talent and skills over time.

However, a growth mindset can also apply to things like diversity and equity. The ability to practice continual learning on a regular basis opens the door to healthy interactions between diverse staff. Both existing and new employees can mesh together easier as they become more willing to learn and grow side by side.

Again, this isn’t an instant process. On the contrary, cultivating a growth-oriented corporate culture takes patience, commitment, and a willingness to invest time and resources.

There are many ways to improve DEI initiatives throughout a company. Some of the above recommendations are easier to apply than others. All of them will vary depending on the circumstances and size of each company.

Nevertheless, they are all valuable pieces of a modern, DEI-friendly work environment. So, consider your company’s current success or failure in areas like diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Where can work be done? Which of the above options will be the most helpful? Once you’ve identified those two points, you can begin to get to work in the name of a better future for all and sundry.

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