Many entrepreneurs and organizations wish to do the right thing. They are stepping up their efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. In fact, according to a recent report, DEI initiatives are among the top priorities for many organizations. Some underrepresented groups are concerned that some of these efforts and diversity initiatives are not fully committed to DEI. Instead, they are more concerned with “checking a box.”
To demonstrate their genuine commitment, organizations require a plan not just a wish. That is the purpose of a DEI strategy. It maps the goals, actions, and outcomes an organization seeks from its DEI efforts.
Why DEI Matters?
A diverse workforce is the new normal. The expectations and needs of that workforce include the increased demand for hybrid workforce flexibility and inclusive teams. The global pandemic has revealed many vulnerabilities for companies, particularly when it comes to employment employee health, commitment and shutdowns. A good DEI strategy helps build a resilient work environment.
Starting Your DEI Strategy
Developing a DEI strategic plan demonstrates that a company recognizes the importance of a fair and inclusive workplace. So, what exactly does DEI stand for when broken down? What makes it so important? How do you embrace diversity and foster a welcoming environment? Before implementing a DEI strategy across your entire organization, clarify what you mean by the terms for your company.
For much of the modern business history, diversity was almost non-existent. The majority of organizations were dominated by white men. They rarely had room for people who did not fit into this mold. As a result, most businesses grew from the perspective of a white, straight and often wealthy, man. These were traditions and customs established by a single group of people. There was no one to speak up for the marginalized groups.
Employees began to understand their power as the business world evolved. This resulted in important conversations and significant changes in governance. It also resulted in changes in business operations and equal opportunities at work.
Workplace diversity refers to differences between employees in a company. It includes how individuals identify themselves as well as how others perceive them. Ethnicity, gender, race, religion, age, citizenship, sexual orientation, and other differences are all included.
Diversity in the workplace has a positive impact only when there is inclusivity and accepting the differences of each individual. Inclusivity enables employees from various backgrounds to reach their full potential. This will assist the company in reaching its full potential. Embracing diversity and inclusion will also help to strengthen your company’s mission and brand. Furthermore, variety will provide you with new perspectives and allow you to enter new markets.
“Equity” refers to the plan of action for identifying organizational factors that prevent inequity. Equity is about ensuring all employees and job seekers equal outcomes in processes and interactions. It also implies that employees receive the fair recognition, opportunities, and other benefits. They should have these regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. When considering whether or not an approach is equitable, ask first “where does power currently reside and how can it be shared?”
Inclusion of Underrepresented Groups
Inclusion means accommodating and including those who have previously been excluded due to a variety of factors. These characteristics include their ability, race, sexual orientation, or gender. However, making organizational changes and taking meaningful action to create more inclusive environments can be difficult. Many marginalized groups struggle to feel valued and welcomed.
This is especially true if the organization does not engage in practical DEI initiatives. In all business practices, action must begin from the ground up. These are some examples:
- The hiring process.
- Pay scale.
- Fair treatment, and more.
Employees of all identities should have unlimited access to the same opportunities and resources.
Things to Include in DEI Strategy
Essential things to include in your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts include:
Leadership Buy-In and Full Participation
Only senior leaders have the authority to declare DEI as a business strategy and a company priority. They are the only ones who can allocate funds for DEI work. As a business owner, you are the primary advocate for DEI objectives. Diversity, equity, and inclusion should be key discussion points.
Make Your DEI Initiatives Specific and Actionable
The key to success is specificity. Forward-thinking companies divide their DEI plans into several levels or strategic priorities. Each DEI priority should have its own set of actions. This will assist you in achieving your primary objectives.
Make Your Strategy Measurable
To avoid disparities in outcomes, your strategy should be measurable. Otherwise, you’ll take a blind shot and hope for a hit. Direct reports, employee demographics, hiring, promotion rates, demographic retention, and other metrics are all useful.
A DEI strategy, no matter how good it appears on paper, will fail unless everyone invests in its success. As a result, clear and consistent communication across all channels is required.
DEI is not solely the responsibility of the HR Department. Integrating accountability throughout the organization is critical to ensuring that everyone is on the same page. DEI is a company-wide goal that should be adequately represented in all departments.
Today, feedback is critical in DEI. Before developing a DEI strategy, organizations should solicit employee feedback. They should also seek feedback on a regular basis. Surveys and formal and informal conversations are used to collect feedback. After all, the strategy applies to everyone in the company.
Businesses should cultivate a DEI culture in addition to procedures and policies. The culture of a company is a living, breathing entity. It can be compared to a garden that requires constant care and nurturing to thrive. A flourishing culture, according to the business case, necessitates the following:
- Occasional difficult conversations.
Work with the Best DEI Company
The preceding discussion only scratches the surface of DEI strategy. These seven-pointers should get you started. We, at Hyphens and Spaces, actively encourage individuals and businesses to view their communities through an inclusive and equitable lens. This should enable them to make an immediate impact, deliver measurable results, effect meaningful change, and empower action. Download our DEI Strategy Planning Document at no cost here.
We are deeply committed to assisting businesses and individuals in creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace. We have the resources and experience to multiply their good and expand their net impact. Please contact us to learn how we can assist you on your DEI journey, and we will have a productive conversation.