While more and more companies are being proactive about diversity and inclusion, a lot of work still needs to be done to create a modern workplace where all employees feel safe, respected, and valued. In addition, when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent from different backgrounds, races, and cultures, businesses must build and maintain a culture and community that gives everyone a voice. These individuals bring fresh, new perspectives to your company and can drive creativity, innovation, and profitability. But above all else, your company has a moral obligation to ensure minority employees feel comfortable at work. Not sure how to kick off and invest in DEIB initiatives? Here are a few examples of how your company can prioritize diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging to create a work environment where every employee belongs.
Moreover, to truly invest in DEIB, companies must commit to it long-term. This means creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging, developing equitable policies and practices, and investing in ongoing training and development programs. By doing so, companies can create a more diverse, engaged, and profitable workplace for all employees. Watch this video below for a year-by-year breakdown of a 5-year DEI journey.
7 Ways to Invest in DEIB: Building a More Inclusive Workplace
1. Commit to Diverse Hiring Practices
Building a diverse company starts with attracting diverse talent. Tools like Textio can help you identify and eliminate gender-biased language from your job description, helping you attract a balanced set of candidates. Applicant tracking systems can also help remove bias by removing candidates’ names from their resumes. Studies show resumes with ethnic-sounding names get fewer callbacks than applicants with the same credentials and white-sounding names.
Many companies have committed to having diverse interview slates for open roles, especially at the leadership level. This means having at least one woman and minority candidate in the final interview stage and hopefully increasing the diversity of company leadership boards.
2. Educate Employees
Attracting diverse candidates isn’t enough; you must create a culture where every employee feels comfortable and respected. Building this community of inclusion and acceptance often starts with education. For example, training courses on unconscious bias, microaggressions, respect, and leadership can teach employees to be mindful of others in the workplace and speak up against injustice.
Companies cannot treat diversity and inclusion training courses like checking a box. One DEIB training a year is not enough to instill change. Instead, companies need to invest in interactive expert-led training programs so employees can ask questions and practice new skills. DEIB training course providers, like Hone, can help your employees take personalized courses wherever and whenever it is convenient for them. Encourage your employees to build a better workplace culture by investing in DEIB education and training today.
3. Create Employee Resource Groups
Employee resource groups (ERGs) allow employees to meet like-minded people, share their culture and values, raise awareness and tackle issues in the workplace. ERGs usually address the needs of underrepresented groups in the workplace, like black, Hispanic, and Asian employees, as well as women, parents, LGBTQ, and veterans. Employees don’t need to identify as a member of one of these groups to participate. Many ERGs host events, speakers, and discussions to increase awareness of their group’s issues and current initiatives to company leadership to improve DEIB in the workplace.
4. Invest in Employee Growth
Even companies with a diverse workforce struggle to maintain diversity at the leadership and management levels. Twenty-six percent of Amazon’s employees identify as black, but only 8 percent of the tech giant’s managers are black. These numbers continue to dwindle when looking at the company’s leadership team.
If your company is already diverse, consider investing more in your employees’ professional growth. This can help you promote existing employees and help them move upwards within your organization. For example, consider introducing internal mentorship programs or offering tuition reimbursement and professional growth stipends to help employees hone existing skills and learn new ones, like leadership and team management.
5. Audit Your Internal Policies
Companies must examine their policies and practices to ensure they are equitable and unbiased. This includes reviewing hiring practices, promotion processes, and pay structures to identify and eliminate any potential barriers. Look at your existing company policies and ensure they are inclusive to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or ability. To start, look at the language and pronouns you use on your website, your company handbook, and job descriptions. Next, consider replacing gendered pronouns with gender-neutral options like “they” or “the individual”; replace maternal and paternal leave with “parental leave.” Lastly, consider adopting flexible working options to help employees with disabilities or children—work-from-home options or flexible hours could help accommodate your employees’ diverse work styles and needs, inspiring employee loyalty and making you a more attractive employer for prospective candidates.
6. Build an Inclusive Office Space
You want to design and build an office space where employees feel comfortable and cared for. Investing in DEIB requires building an inclusive office space where everyone feels valued and supported. This means creating an environment where employees from different backgrounds can thrive and feel a sense of belonging.
Things like ADA accessibility, alternative working spaces, and gender-neutral bathrooms can help people feel more welcome in the office. Also, consider implementing small, versatile spaces so mothers can pump (which is required by law in some states) or where employees can pray or meditate in private. These small office features can help employees work in a way that works best for them.
7. Have Inclusive Company Holidays
Make sure your company holiday calendar takes note of a diverse set of holidays and occasions—not just Christmas. Consider adopting a flexible time-off policy or introducing floating holidays so employees can take time off they need to celebrate with family. Or, if your office is open on a specific holiday, consider throwing an office celebration for the whole team. Most recently, many businesses have declared Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., a company holiday and gave employees the day off to celebrate.
Other observances like Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Pride Month, and Black History Month present tremendous opportunities to bring in external speakers, host discussion groups, watch films, and more with employees to show support for their culture. This is an excellent opportunity to partner with ERGs to plan fun, innovative ways to get more employees involved in the scheduled programs and events.
Invest in DEIB for a Diverse, Engaged, and Profitable Workplace
Investing in DEIB requires a multifaceted approach. It starts with creating a culture that values diversity and actively works to dismantle any barriers that prevent individuals from feeling included and valued. This can be achieved through training programs, mentorship opportunities, and providing resources for underrepresented groups.
In addition to creating a culture of inclusivity, when you invest in DEIB it also means ensuring that policies and practices are equitable. This means examining hiring practices, promotion processes, and pay structures to ensure that they are fair and unbiased. You must provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities, support employees with family responsibilities, and create an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.
By investing in DEIB, companies can reap the benefits of a more diverse and engaged workforce. A diverse workforce brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table, which can lead to increased innovation and creativity. Additionally, when employees feel valued and included, they are more likely to be productive and committed to the company’s mission.
When you invest in DEIB, it’s not only the right thing to do, but companies that prioritize DEIB initiatives will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent, increase innovation, and drive profits. To truly make progress in creating a more equitable workplace, companies must commit to a long-term strategy that includes both cultural and systemic changes. Developing a DEIB strategy involves setting clear goals, identifying areas for improvement, and creating a plan of action. This can help companies prioritize DEIB initiatives and track their progress over time.
If your company chooses to invest in DEIB, know that change doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a long time to see the impact of your DEIB initiatives. Nevertheless, take pride in your company building a workplace and culture that treats all employees fairly and equally.
Investing in DEIB training and development programs can help educate employees about the importance of DEIB and provide them with the tools and resources they need to be more inclusive. This can lead to increased employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. In that case, Hone offers live interactive classes that include topics like “The Dangers of a Culture of Conformity,” “Build High Trust Relationships,” and “Embrace Diversity with Inclusion” with a free 14-day trial. Sign up now.