8 Steps to Creating a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are top of mind for most organizations right now. Some may be stalled at the ideation phase uncertain of where to start. Others may feel their current DE&I practices aren't working and could use an overhaul. No matter what phase you are in, at least one of these eight steps will move you closer to where you want to be.
Make the decision
And stick to it! Isn't this the first step towards change? Deciding to create an inclusive culture that embraces the diversity of its people will lead to higher performance in employees, a more profitable bottom-line, and consumer loyalty. According to a study by Deloitte, "Organizations with inclusive cultures are 8x more likely to achieve better business outcomes."
Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. We are hearing those three words together quite a bit lately. But what do they mean, really, and why are they so important to your organization?
diversity (n): the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization
equity (n): freedom from bias or favoritism
inclusion (n): the act of including; include (v): to take in or comprise as a part of a whole or group
Doing the research and learning more about this subject matter can help you develop a strategy for creating a more inclusive workplace. Attend a workshop. Listen to webinars and podcasts. Read books. Join a DE&I advocacy group or form your own group. Volunteer at events. One way our team is furthering our knowledge is by attending a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate course through the University of South Florida.
"Knowledge is power." - Francis Bacon
Get leadership support
Leaders must be committed to DE&I in their organizations and communicate that commitment frequently. Prospective candidates and existing employees want to see lead-by-example behavior from their leaders. Consumers and competitors are watching as well.
Identify where you are currently
Start from the beginning. Look at your recruiting practices. Are you searching for candidates in the usual pool? Does your candidate tracking system contain bias search fields? Next, review your policies and procedures. Are they written to include all or exclude some? Is there equity in your pay structure and promotional opportunities? Don't forget that Colorado passed the Equal Pay For Equal Work Act. Rewrite and rework what isn't supporting your DE&I culture. Then communicate those changes to your employees.
Redefine the status quo
"But this is always how we've done things around here." Sure, there will be hesitancy and changes and growing pains. But the benefits will far outweigh the temporary discomfort that some employees and leaders may have. To truly embrace a DE&I culture within your organization, don't stop at diversity. You can hire diverse candidates, but once onboard is there equity among them and their peers? Are they given the same promotional opportunities as their white male counterpart? How are they treated? By redefining who you are as an organization you are setting the standard of how you want to be known by your employees, your consumers, and others in your industry.
Solicit feedback and help
Find out what's important to your employees and listen. Maybe you missed an area during the revamp or didn't take into consideration an outdated business process. Let your employees help identify changes that need to be made. Form a DE&I group that meets regularly. Bring in guest speakers to provide updates around DE&I. Hire a subject matter expert to audit your practices and provide recommendations.
You've done your homework, asked all the questions, and solicited help, now is the time to implement! But don't stop there. Revisit these steps periodically. Continue to grow your diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.
This is our favorite step! As part of your knowledge-seeking adventure, we are inviting you to join us for our next interactive training. Bring a friend or 10. It's going to be a good one! April 28th at 11:00 MDT. You can register here.