Embarking on the journey of increasing diversity and fostering inclusion in the workplace can seem daunting. However, with a well-defined diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy, we can establish a clear plan to execute our DEI vision. To fully ingrain DEI into our businesses, we must integrate our inclusion efforts into all aspects of the organization. Through this blog, I will share key internal and external ways to incorporate diversity into our businesses.
Here are some areas to look into as we put together a DEI Strategy for our organizations:
Internal communications: Ensure the leadership team communicates the company’s focus on DEI in its corporate values, mission statement, and other messaging within the organization.
Feedback channels: Implement ways for employees to share ideas for increasing DEI or to express concerns about discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Create ERGs to bring together employees with similar backgrounds, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and emerging professionals. The most effective ERGs are inclusive and open to everyone – both members and allies.
Recruitment: Determine the most common barriers that affect recruiting historically marginalized groups and seek a diverse pool of candidates. Offering unconscious bias training to hiring managers supports diverse recruitment efforts.
Talent pipeline: Create a talent pipeline to develop diverse candidates for future leadership roles, and ensure underrepresented employees are included in mentorship programs.
Ongoing workshops: Provide ongoing workshops regarding DEI topics like unconscious bias, working across generations, and handling discrimination case studies.
Roundtable discussions: Plan monthly small group roundtable discussions with executive team members and a diverse group of employees to gain input on workplace culture in relation to inclusion.
Leadership Compensation: Include the focus on DEI in the leadership team’s performance evaluation and compensation plans.
In addition to making improvements within the organization, we can exhibit our DEI commitments externally:
External communications and branding: Share the company’s focus on DEI by stating the commitment on the website and through social media posts.
Community engagement: Encourage employees to volunteer with associations and universities serving historically underrepresented groups.
Putting together and implementing a DEI strategy can feel overwhelming since it needs to be integrated throughout all aspects of an organization. The best way to tackle this process is through a phased approach. We begin by identifying and implementing the low hanging fruits: initiatives that are easier to start implementing. What matters is creating momentum and gaining buy-in. That is when we are able to foster real long-term change in our workplace and surrounding communities.
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company. Her mission is providing guidance to business executives to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and to implement a multi-year plan for advancing quality leaders from within their organization.