DEI is an acronym you’ve probably seen a lot lately. It stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. While these concepts aren’t new, they’ve taken on renewed focus for employers that want to proactively ensure everyone feels welcome and safe and is treated fairly in their workplace. This country has a long history of marginalizing entire groups, and taking steps to reverse that is long overdue.
Ensuring your organization better incorporates DEI may require changing its mind-set and culture. There are a lot of initial steps you can take toward the goal of clearly promoting DEI as a core company value, not just a short-term initiative.
Here are some ways to get started:
- Ensure your hiring practices are not inadvertently discriminatory. For example, assess where you’re posting jobs to be sure they’re reaching a diverse audience. If they’re not, consider where you could post jobs that would allow more people to see them.
- Train your leadership in recognizing and stopping inappropriate workplace behaviors.
- Perform regular pay audits to ensure pay levels are fair and equitable.
- Base pay rates on the job, not on the applicant, to ensure pay is not discriminatory. (Eliminating pay history questions can help with this, too. See this article for more information.)
- Train leadership on the necessary skills to handle uncomfortable conversations and be able to address important topics.
- Get additional training for leadership to increase awareness and change problematic behaviors. Empathy training is one example.
- Take steps to start tracking progress to see where your company stands each month and year.
- Communicate about the organization’s goals to increase DEI, and make it part of the organization’s culture and values.
- Regularly audit hiring and promotion practices to assess whether there are real opportunities for everyone.
- Take steps to ensure the workplace is inclusive of everyone. The key is to be proactive about ensuring all employees feel a sense of belonging and supported within the organization. Improving hiring practices doesn’t help if people leave because they don’t feel like the organization welcomes them.
- Ensure there’s an adequate budget and time for these initiatives so they can be properly implemented.
- Empower people to take actions that improve DEI outcomes, both formally and informally.
- Consider adding highly visible roles related to improving DEI. Not only does this help create change, but it also outwardly shows the organization’s commitment to it.
Having a diverse and inclusive workforce can be a benefit for all. Not only do more people get opportunities they’re well-suited for, but employers also get the benefit of more diverse perspectives and innovative ideas.
Companies that value and implement plans to ensure their workplace includes DEI perform better overall, and their employees tend to be more satisfied, leading to higher levels of morale.