There are many elements that are vital for business growth, such as a solid sales strategy, hiring strategy and marketing strategy. However, company culture also has a significant influence on business success. Employees are more likely to enjoy doing their jobs when they feel as though they fit into the company culture. A company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion not only sustains a strong and collaborative work force, but it also allows your team to engage well with clients.
What Is DEI?
A diversity, equity and inclusion plan is a continually evolving strategy to foster a welcoming, fair and inclusive environment for all types of people and demographics. This philosophy is grounded on the principle that anyone can succeed professionally and personally regardless of their differences.
Many companies are implementing DEI policies or adapting their current ones to better represent the broader society and provide equal opportunities for everyone. It’s important to define and understand the components of the issues to build a successful strategy.
Diversity is the representation and presence of different types of people. These differences may involve the following characteristics, but this is not a comprehensive list:
- Political ideologies
- Socioeconomic groups
- Parental status
- Marriage status
- Job classification
- Work experience
These varied human qualities differentiate us. When they’re present in a workplace, they bring in distinct perspectives. This creates a well-rounded company culture as well as opportunities for everyone. It also enhances the ability of your employees and clients to relate to each other. Better decisions can be made within a company when various perspectives are taken into account.
The representation of diverse groups is the first step toward implementing a DEI strategy. Once you have representation for many types of groups within a workplace, they must have fair opportunities and access to resources. But it goes further than that; equity accounts for the fact that some groups may have specific disadvantages. It attempts to create a level playing field, compensating for individual hindrances to generate equal results for everyone. Equity is different from equality, which involves providing equal opportunities and resources without regard for individual disadvantages and needs.
Once equity is established, you can strive for inclusion, which has to do with access to resources. Making resources available to different groups is essential for rounding out the strategy. This may mean that you have to make adjustments so that everyone can contribute and participate. A significant part of achieving inclusion involves eliminating intolerance, discrimination and other barriers. When an environment is inclusive, it is welcoming and supportive of all associated members. People feel respected and valued.
Benefits of DEI
Diversity equity and inclusion strategies aid in enhancing morale and job satisfaction. This generates a comfortable and supportive work environment. It helps employees feel safe, valued and respected. It also helps companies to succeed via other metrics.
Reach Financial Targets
Extremely inclusive companies are more apt to achieve their financial goals. Perhaps this is because diversity increases innovation. It could also be due to the fact that people who are respected, valued and supportive are likely to work well toward a common objective.
Improve Decision Making
When people with varied perspectives come together, they usually feel safe to raise objections and challenge biased perspectives. The result is enhanced creativity and objectivity in solution-oriented activities, such as decision making.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Diverse thinking and experiences enhance your business, giving you an advantage over less diverse competitors. It can also set you apart from other companies that are recruiting. You’ll not only attract better talent, but you’ll retain it. Glassdoor reports that 67% of prospective applicants care about your diversity and inclusion strategy and statistics.
Increase Your Market Share
Research shows that diverse companies are 45% more likely to increase their market share and 70% more likely to secure a new market than businesses without much diversity. Diverse leadership is essential in this arena. When diversity among high-level employees is robust, other employees feel more comfortable sharing ideas, asking for resources and identifying challenges with them.
Boost Employee Engagement
Only 53% of employees are regularly engaged at work. But a recent study on millennials found that 86% of them embraced distinct perspectives as an impetus for success, and 83% were actively engaged when they felt that their company culture was inclusive. Engagement is important because it boosts performance, retention, employee satisfaction, revenue, the customer experience and customer loyalty. In fact, according to a Gallup study, the cost of reduced productivity from disengaged employees is approximately $350 billion per year.
How to Establish a DEI Strategy
With so many businesses establishing these types of strategies, you may be tempted to duplicate other organizations’ initiatives. However, there is no definite solution to diversity equity and inclusion. The best strategy is highly personalized for your environment.
Gain Awareness to Reveal Opportunities
Therefore, the first step in building a solid plan is to gain some awareness and explore the issues. Executives and leaders can clarify their own perspectives and values. While doing this, they should consider how their privilege limits or expands these values. Using this information, they can identify gaps. Asking for employee feedback also alerts management to disparities that they may not have noticed.
Make It a Priority
A diversity equity and inclusion plan must start at the top. When leaders and executives are involved, DEI becomes an invaluable commitment. This starts by demonstrating the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion. A top-down approach also ensures that management is on board with the program, helping to maintain consistency and foster success.
Identifying the purpose allows you to envision the procedures. Setting tangible goals helps everyone work together and measure success. A governing body that engages with the organization on all levels and represents diverse perspectives can provide oversight and monitor progress.
Enhance Your Hiring Strategy
Once you have identified opportunities for broadening your diversity, you can begin to attract varied and hidden talent. To do this, you may need to change your recruiting procedures. Expand your avenues, pursuing communities that are underrepresented in your company. You may also want to diversify your recruiting department, expanding your screening and selection process to include many perspectives and minimize biased decision-making.
You’ll also need to evaluate your language and job descriptions carefully. Including an equal opportunity statement goes a long way toward expressing your commitment to diversity equity and inclusion. Avoid using words that marginalize groups. These include technical jargon as well as slang. Job seekers may not understand it, which immediately creates a separation.
Put It Into Practice
Diversity goes beyond recruiting people from various communities. You must practice what you preach. After you have established your mission and vision, it’s time to take action.
It’s crucial to design and implement activities that equip all employees to feel included and perpetuate this culture. You should pay special attention to onboarding tasks, which may include mentorship, peer programs and specific schedules for newcomers. Training is also essential. Everyone in the workplace should be equipped to understand, follow and support your initiatives. All of your communication, from emails to your sales strategy, should maintain the same integrity as your DEI strategy.
It’s important to remember that establishing a diversity, equity and inclusion plan is not an overnight venture. It requires continual awareness, policy structuring, implementation and tracking. DEI concerns and employee needs are always evolving. Your strategy should adapt with them.