What Corporates Can Do to Promote DEI Initiatives
What Corporates Can Do to Promote DEI Initiatives
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not just buzzwords. They are increasingly essential for a thriving business in the modern day and age. But promoting DEI is not simply about checking off boxes – it requires a conscious and committed effort.
In this article, we will explore some powerful strategies to help corporations promote DEI in their workplace and create a culture of inclusivity and equity. From building a diverse talent pool to holding leadership accountable, these strategies will help businesses create a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive.
1. Embrace diversity by building a talent pool that thrives on differences.
Building a diverse talent pool is a crucial first step towards promoting DEI in the workplace. A diverse team brings together different perspectives, experiences, and ideas. This can lead to better decision-making, increased innovation, improved problem-solving skills and better resilience to crisis.
To create a diverse talent pool, businesses can actively seek out and recruit candidates from underrepresented groups, such as women, minority ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities. Recalibrating recruitment criteria, partnering with diversity-focused organisations, or using targeted advertising to reach a wider range of candidates are means that can help corporates expand the diversity of personnel.
However, diversity is more than just building a diverse team. Businesses should also foster a culture that supports and values diversity. This means breaking the glass ceiling and providing opportunities for professional development and advancement from a more diverse pool of employees, including those from traditionally underrepresented groups, e.g., women or ethnic minorities, to key leadership and managerial roles.
2. Provide equal opportunities and eliminate bias and discrimination.
For corporates, providing equal opportunities to all employees is another critical component of promoting DEI. Biases, stereotypes, and discrimination are common barriers to achieving true equity. Hence, eliminating these behavioural and psychological obstacles in different aspects of the employment process, from hiring and promotion to pay and benefits, is important in ensuring everyone has an equal chance to succeed and achieve their full potential. This can be done by educating managers and employees about the influence of our prejudices and helping them recognise and challenge their own biases and behavioural tendencies.
While creating a level playing field in pursuit of true meritocracy is key, employees must also feel they are being treated fairly. Therefore, visibility matters. Businesses can be achieved this by implementing fair and transparent processes and criteria for recruitment, advancement, remuneration, access to sponsorship, and other key aspects of the employee experience. Corporations can boost access to equal opportunities by conducting regular pay equity audits to ensure that all employees are paid fairly for their work. They can also apply blind hiring practices during recruitment which remove identifying information (such as name, gender, and ethnicity) from resume and application screening.
3. Foster openness and inclusivity in the workplace.
Openness and inclusivity are about creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their experiences, opinions, and ideas regardless of their background or identity. It is important that employees feel that their views and perspectives are valued and respected. To cultivate a DEI culture, businesses should ensure open dialogue and discussion opportunities.
To encourage input from employees at all levels of the organisation and better incorporate diverse perspectives into decision-making processes, businesses can conduct regular surveys and set up focus groups to gather employee feedback on their experiences and perceptions of the workplace culture. Organisations can also embrace 360-degree feedback and evaluation to create an open culture where all voices are heard and valued.
Fostering openness and inclusivity also means creating a culture of transparency and accountability, where employees feel comfortable reporting any incidents of bias, discrimination, or harassment. This can be achieved by upholding zero-tolerance policies and clear procedures, conducting regular training and education programs, and taking swift and appropriate action in response to complaints or concerns. These strategies will also help businesses establish norms for a truth-telling culture, creating a psychologically safer workplace.
4. Hold leadership accountable and ensure commitment to promoting DEI.
Leaders play an essential role in driving the successful promotion of DEI initiatives. Initiatives that lack top management’s support will likely end up in failure. Rather than relying on small teams to execute DEI initiatives in a piecemeal manner, adopting a more systematic and business-driven approach and increasing training for management-level personnel so managers can lead by example are better alternatives for driving actual changes.
To ensure leadership is incentivised and committed to promoting DEI, corporates can establish DEI goals and metrics tied to performance evaluations and compensation. Another way to enhance accountability is to set up committees or task forces responsible for monitoring progress and recommending improvement in DEI strategies. Measuring and tracking progress is essential for promoting DEI effectively. Collecting and analysing data on key metrics such as employee demographics, pay equity, and retention rates can help businesses identify areas where they exile and need to focus their DEI efforts.
Promoting DEI is not only the right thing to do but an essential element for corporate success in the long run. To drive DEI initiatives in their workplace, corporations can focus on areas such as building a diverse talent pool, providing equal opportunities to all employees, fostering openness and inclusivity, and increasing leadership accountability. Of course, each corporation is different. Hence, knowing your company’s goals and employees’ needs are essential in identifying the appropriate approach and roadmap for creating a more diverse, open, and inclusive work culture.