5 Tips for Starting a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program

When people from various origins, ethnicities, and experiences are brought together in a workspace, it creates a rich and multicultural atmosphere. According to Talent Keepers, an agency that specializes in employee engagement and retention, Diverse and inclusive companies tend to have positive results in terms of productivity, workplace culture, and employee retention.

Despite this, many companies continue to struggle with diversity and inclusion, failing to recruit varied talent owing to workplace inequity.

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is a never-ending process of learning, cooperating, and sharing with colleagues and society.

Therefore, developing diversity and inclusion training programs is an effective method to combat organizational prejudices and biases. Regardless of where your organization is on its DEI path, here are five tips you can follow to make your environment more inclusive. 

Lead Compassionately

Your DEI program needs to be led by a person or team that understands the sensitivities behind having a diverse workforce. The impact intended from the program will trickle down to the rest of the employee tiers if the management believes in this initiation.

This is why it’s so important for the leader to be passionate and compassionate about the mission.

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The leader needs to communicate the objectives and intentions behind the program to the rest of the employees to ensure everyone is on the same page. Communication about your dedication to DEI is the first phase toward gaining the trust of your workers.

Determining why it’s essential and how it’ll be represented in the company can assist your workers in better grasping how they may engage in and create a more equal workforce.

Quotas Don’t Guarantee Inclusion

Understand that having a diverse workforce does not mean your business practices equality and inclusivity. Employers tend to concentrate their diversity and inclusion initiatives disproportionately on the hiring process. The employee experience, in reality, extends way beyond the offer of employment.

Establish an environment where everyone can contribute in their own unique way while feeling comfortable and secure while doing so. To expand diverse and inclusive practices, companies need to adapt their processes. There are questions that you can ask yourself to check if you have achieved what you intended for, for example:

● Who is leading the team?

● Who gets to present? How often do they present?

● Who can voice their opinions?

● Does anyone feel intimidated? Is there a particular reason why?

You can also host training and workshops that boost the sense of equity and inclusiveness amongst the workforce. These can be around topics like unconscious bias or internal allies.

Listen Up

Don’t assume that your opinions are shared across your organization. It’s vital that you get your employees’ views once periodically to see how well your diversity, equity, and inclusion program has panned out. Your observations and perspectives may not always align with the employees.

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Internal employee surveys may yield a lot of information that can help you add to or alter your DEI approach. Utilize the findings to gain a better understanding of how various employees perceive the workplace culture and if any improvements can be made.

Support Minority-owned Businesses

Despite owning just approximately 20% of all small firms in the United States, minority-owned businesses play a vital role in the economy, bringing much-needed diversity into our commercial landscape. Start by supporting minority owned businesses from within your organization.

Resources like Tell-Shop make it easy to find thousands of minority-owned companies across a wide range of industries. For example, if you need an event catered or want an interior designer for an office renovation, go out of your way to seek minority-owned businesses that meet your qualifications.

As a consumer and as a company owner, you can empower minority-owned enterprises. Once the employees can establish diversity, equity, and inclusivity amongst themselves, they will be more open to the idea of taking this a step further and supporting minority-owned businesses.

Monitor Your Progress

For any program to succeed, evaluation is important. Everyone in the program should be held accountable and given targets that they should meet. Only then can any company successfully establish a diverse workforce that functions on equity and inclusivity.

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The company should check for underrepresentation and ensure a balanced and diverse environment. While specifying minority quotas does not confirm inclusivity, it is a start. Apart from hiring, other areas that can be monitored are turnover rates by race, promotion statistics, and salary slabs.

The company can also analyze employee surveys and aim for better results each successive year. Interviewing employees that leave the company and occasional focus group discussions may also provide valuable insight into the employment experience.

Regular review and growth will aid in moving the needle ahead in the growth and development of your organization.

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