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5 Ways to Put Your Company’s DEI Ideas into Action

May 10, 2023
If designing a culture of belonging is on your company’s agenda for 2023, here are five steps you can take now to get headed in the right direction.

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All eyes are on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) right now as individuals, organizations and governments work to level the playing field for people regardless of individual backgrounds or identities. The movement has become particularly important in the workplace, where the unemployment rate remains at a 53-year low and the power remains in the job candidate’s favor.

Companies with DEI programs and policies in place are increasingly being seen as employers of choice. According to employment screening service GoodHire, 70% of employees in leadership positions want their organizations to invest more time and resources toward DEI.

The company also says workers are serious about their dedication to DEI, and that they value diversity over salary. In fact, 54% of people said they would consider taking a pay cut to ensure a more diverse and inclusive workplace and 66% of individuals in leadership positions concurred.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply say that your organization is committed to DEI; you need to take action on your ideas; create policies and procedures that support DEI; and create a culture of inclusion where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

Here are five ways that companies can start putting their DEI ideas into action in the workplace:

  1. Hold leaders accountable for the company’s DEI goals. According to CIO Magazine, managers have an “outsized influence” on the experience of people on their teams, so it’s important that they hear these stories around diversity and inclusion, too. “Unfortunately, leaders are often the last to hear from discontented team members, especially if they are seen as the problem,” the publication points out. “Leaders are gatekeepers for promotion, so when they make decisions that are influenced by unconscious bias, it has a ripple effect on the culture.”
  2. Give people an outlet for venting their DEI-related frustrations and concerns. People who experience bias are often hesitant to tell leaders what’s wrong, CIO points out. “Overcoming the feeling that nothing will be done about it, that there will be backlash against them and that speaking up is dangerous to their career is an integral part of living life as an underrepresented group,” the publication adds. Something as simple as an anonymous Google form where people can say what’s going on can help. Even better, solicit feedback through anonymous surveys and feedback tools.
  3. Present cold, hard evidence that the DEI policies are being executed well. Instead of publicizing a vague commitment to DEI, corporate leaders should share specific metrics, policies and other initiatives that show genuine investment in driving diversity and inclusion. “For example, if you’ve started tracking diversity metrics for hiring, let employees know—and follow up with data demonstrating your progress on hiring candidates from underrepresented groups, as well as the areas in which you’ve fallen short of your targets,” Akash Pugalia writes in How to turn your DEI talk into action. “In my experience, employees want to see cold, hard evidence that DEI policies are being executed well and are creating meaningful change.”
  4. Get feedback and act on it. Many times, the very people DEI policies are intended to support are excluded from the design and development process. Pugalia says this can lead to misalignment that can foster cynicism and resistance, ultimately creating even more problems for underrepresented groups. “To ensure DEI efforts are aligned with the actual needs and challenges faced by marginalized employees, leaders should work proactively to build a safe environment for people to share their input without fear of rebuttal or retaliation,” he writes. For example, your leaders can host monthly fireside chats, quarterly focus group conversations or even use anonymous surveys to gather suggestions on sensitive issues.
  5. Start an employee resource group (ERG). A group of employees who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics or life experiences, ERGs focus on providing support, enhancing career development and contributing to personal development in the work environment. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Since the beginning of 2020, about 35% of companies have added or expanded their support of these internal clusters. Get started by identifying a group of employees who share a common interest or characteristic; developing a mission statement and goals for the ERG; and then promoting the opportunity to employees and encouraging them to join.

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About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.