Diversity is a journey, not a destination. Improving representation of diverse groups in the workplace is a challenging endeavor and it can take years to achieve. It is essential to tailor your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to meet your specific business needs, company culture, and local regulations. Below are ten practical steps, with concrete actions for each, to foster genuine diversity and inclusion in your organization and stay accountable with your goals.
1. Turn your leadership into DEI ambassadors
The CEO and other senior team leaders need to set the tone and be advocates for diversity to flourish in the workplace. Their support is vital to ensuring that DEI efforts are properly endorsed, promoted, and actively implemented throughout the organization.
- Get written commitments from company leadership to take steps to implement DEI best practices in the workplace and throughout the hiring process.
- Define the value that diversity and inclusion provides to your company and institute a policy statement to serve as a guide for your DEI initiatives.
- Deeper, meaningful conversations about the impact that DEI can have on individuals, communities, the workplace, and hiring experiences.
- Reduction in non-inclusive behaviors and language.
- Increased openness, kindness, and engagement among teams.
- Establishment of DEI as a company priority.
2. Create a DEI taskforce to lead your initiatives
Embracing DEI as a business strategy and core value is one of the most important components of business success. Build a taskforce of key stakeholders to help execute initiatives and provide oversight on the effectiveness of your DEI plan.
- Conduct an initial meeting with your assigned taskforce to outline goals and determine which underrepresented groups to focus on in your overall DEI strategy.
- Align your DEI strategy with your business practices – from recruitment to sourcing goods and services from third party suppliers.
- Partner with diversity-focused organizations that provide networking opportunities, tools, and resources in regards to DEI.
- Clear insight and visibility into the current state of DEI representation and commitment among employees, candidates, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
3. Commit to building an inclusive workplace
Having a diverse team is only part of what makes a workplace more equitable. Inclusion and equity comes in when you create an environment where different voices are heard, everyone feels respected and valued, and individuals are motivated and excited to give their absolute best.
- Assess your company culture and existing workplace to identify gaps, strengths, and weaknesses in regards to DEI.
- Incorporate DEI training and education in employees’ and leadership’s growth and development programs.
- Provide equitable opportunities for new and existing employees categorized as underrepresented by the EEOC.
- Attraction of a larger talent pool.
- Influx of innovative and creative ideas and diverse perspectives.
- Enhanced collaboration, engagement, motivation, and productivity, resulting in a competitive advantage.
4. Develop DEI benchmarks and accountability methods
Without clear and robust processes to measure and track DEI efforts and outcomes, employers and employees run the risk of reverting back to old habits and behavioral patterns. Setting benchmarks is an effective way to establish short and long-term goals, define best practices, identify focus areas, and evaluate your DEI progression.
- Create clear benchmarks that can be categorized as either functional (e.g., defining hiring processes) or individual (e.g., providing feedback on hiring experiences).
- Develop benchmarks that are SMART – specific, measurable, action-oriented, relevant, and timely.
- Evaluate each area within the employee journey, including the hiring process, performance reviews, promotions, and retention.
- Analyze the results and data collected around DEI by department, activities, teams, and managers.
- Clear expectations and recruiting goals focused on DEI.
- Better hiring decisions.
- Insight into the gaps, strengths, and weaknesses of DEI initiatives.
5. Assemble a diverse interview panel
Employees likely won’t take action and make meaningful changes unless you actively involve them in the process and allow them to be part of your DEI journey. Inviting your peers to be part of the recruitment process and challenging them to identify a diverse slate of candidates can lead to greater understanding, buy-in, confidence, and ultimately success of your initiatives.
- Conduct an initial meeting with the interview panel to outline recruitment goals, set parameters, and get their input.
- Ensure each panel member touches on a different aspect of the company culture during the interview process (e.g., goals towards DEI, company values, growth opportunities, partnerships with diversity-focused organizations).
- Debrief after each interview to gather objective feedback and evaluations from all parties.
- Relevant and objective feedback about the hiring process and experience from the interview panel and candidates.
- Enhanced understanding and evaluation of candidate qualifications.
6. Eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process
Implicit or unconscious bias is not limited to age, gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background. It can manifest as credential or social bias, cultural bias, and name bias, for example. By helping hiring teams understand and identify how unconscious bias occurs and how it can negatively impact the recruitment experience, companies can reduce or eliminate those biases and create a more equitable and inclusive culture.
- Implement bias training for all members of your organization.
- Promote diverse representation as a norm in the workplace (e.g., by hosting team events and educating about different cultures and backgrounds).
- Facilitate opportunities for team members to express how the topics and state of diversity and inclusion affect them personally and professionally.
- Uncovering of any discrimination and toxic behaviors in the workplace.
- Career advancement opportunities that support your DEI efforts.
- Enhanced performance thanks to an inclusive and supportive work environment.
7. Expand your network
Developing a robust network of candidates that come from various backgrounds, demographics, and even locations is a great way to speed up your recruitment process and find the best talent for your open roles.
- Use inclusive language in your job descriptions and avoid gender-specific pronouns and gender-coded terms.
- Leverage your current employees’ network to identify potential new candidates and encourage references.
- Establish partnerships with schools and organizations that represent and serve underrepresented populations.
- Interest in your company and open job positions from a diverse range of candidates.
- Larger talent pipeline that allows you to fill roles faster.
8. Establish clear criteria for objective candidate evaluation
The hiring team should determine specific and relevant requirements and criteria that are necessary to be successful in a given role. This will allow them to effectively and objectively rate and evaluate the candidates they’re interviewing.
- Develop an objective, systematic process for reviewing and evaluating candidate profiles and resumes.
- Create a structured interview process using DEI scorecards – asking each candidate the same set of defined questions and rating them accordingly to minimize bias and maximize onboarding success.
- Objective, unbiased, and consistent evaluation of candidates.
- Equal playing field for candidates, leading to better hiring decisions.
9. Develop an action plan for meeting DEI objectives
Establish an explicit, directional, and aspirational plan to advance DEI throughout your organization and ultimately achieve your goals.
- Create a 1-2-year DEI action plan that helps you reach your set objectives and uses data to inform your planning and strategies.
- Schedule regular check-in meetings with your DEI taskforce and other team members to assess progress.
- Keep leadership and other key stakeholders informed of challenges, progress, and accomplishments.
- Full alignment across business and DEI benchmarks and objectives.
- Employees become active partners in progressing DEI initiatives and are held accountable.
- Establishment of DEI as an integral component of your company culture and business success.
10. Invest in people, processes, and tools to support DEI
Investing in various resources that support DEI can yield significant benefits related to your company’s financial performance, your ability to source top talent, more confident decision-making across teams, and more.
- Create a budget to invest in resources that support diversity initiatives and advance cross-cultural understanding among employees.
- Have your DEI taskforce oversee and monitor the program.
- Leverage hiring solutions like Hired to reduce bias, surface underrepresented talent in your pipeline, and build diverse teams.
Ready to kick off your DEI plan, build diverse teams, and create a more inclusive workplace? Hired is here to help accelerate your hiring process and fill your talent pipeline with a diverse range of pre-vetted, qualified candidates. Built on millions of successful matches, our data-driven platform helps you find the best people for each role, saving you up to 45 sourcing hours per hire. Dive into our talent pool and try Hired today!