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How to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Workplace

How to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Workplace
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is one of the trends at the top of both employees and employers concerns. Companies excelling in DEI are more likely to achieve higher employee productivity and attract top talent from different markets. 

On top of the hiring and workplace benefits, organizations with improved DEI strategies are able to gain above-average profitability, enter new markets, and experience a greater cash flow per employee and ROI. 

What does DEI stand for? 

As mentioned above, DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. This concept reflects a company’s philosophy, policies, and programs to make employees with different backgrounds comfortable while they’re working. DEI efforts aim to make candidates feel welcome, as well as ensure workers have the support to perform at their full potential in the workplace.  

Nowadays, DEI has become a game-changer as it’s turned into one of the main 2024 workforce trends. On top of that, candidates and employees perceive it as a corporate perk when companies achieve it successfully. Due to its relevance, dive into the meaning of each diversity, equity, and inclusion, and what they look like. 

Workplace diversity

Diversity in the workplace is about mirroring the society to which the organization belongs by building a workforce with individuals from different backgrounds. It also relates to the company’s efforts to solve any unconscious bias in the office. 

Diversity is reflected mainly by having individuals from different ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, beliefs, and sexual orientations; nevertheless, it also applies to hiring candidates with varied experience, education, and skill sets.

Workplace Equity

Equity refers more to the fact that each employee’s background will determine their needs for thriving at work. It’s about providing the tools and opportunities each individual needs according to their position, profile, and traits instead of just giving the same to everyone. A company that achieves equity can guarantee opportunities are equally advantageous for all its employees.

Workplace inclusion 

Out of the three concepts, inclusion is the one that involves more aspects. It’s mainly about making everyone feel a sense of belonging at work, mainly if you’ve achieved a diverse workforce. When it comes to workers with disabilities or foreign employees, it’s vital to adapt your work environment for them so they feel equally important as any other employee. 

Many specialists weigh the importance of transparency and open communication in the workplace as two critical factors for achieving inclusion. By doing so, you’ll foster more participation and collaboration in your workforce. 

Ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

As with any other strategic change in a company, before making any big moves, you’ve to run a diagnostic about your current state and where to start. Nevertheless, when it comes to fostering DEI, you should have one goal in mind: achieving equal opportunities and fair treatment for everyone. 

Before drawing up an action plan, make sure to approach DEI as an initiative your company culture must embrace. It has to become a part of your core values, from the top to the bottom of your organization. In order to achieve that, here are a few actions you can try to improve your diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

From paper to reality

While being informed about the background and context of both employees and employers and the systematic issues in the labor market is key to planning effective DEI policies, it’s essential that they can go from paper to people. From mental health transparency to adapting your workplace for people with disabilities, ensure all your initiatives become a reality. 

Promote a healthy work environment

Stressful work environments are a common enemy of DEI initiatives. If your workers are uncomfortable speaking their minds in the workplace, you should start your DEI planning by solving that issue. Promote respect and open-mindedness within your team so your employees feel encouraged to make suggestions or report any behavior that goes against equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

Foster open discussion about DEI

As mentioned in previous sections, DEI is one of the most eye-catching trends in this year’s labor market. Therefore, it’s a fact employees have opinions and insight regarding the topic, so have conversations about improving DEI normal and recurrent. Most importantly, be open to feedback and listen to your workforce’s comments. 

Promote DEI awareness

Since most of your employees have an opinion about diversity, equity, and inclusion, you can meet mixed reactions by implementing DEI initiatives. Even if you don’t get resistance from your workforce, everything will flow smoother if you promote the importance of DEI to improve workplace productivity and professionals’ career paths among workers and stakeholders. 

Invest in DEI training

As a part of your initiatives to promote DEI relevance, you should invest part of your efforts in continuous training that allows your workforce to learn about each other, how unconscious bias works, and other vital aspects of DEI. This training can go from information provided during the onboarding process to quarterly reviews to monitor your strategy and give any missing educational materials. 

Keep your team bonding inclusive

Team building activities are another effective strategy to improve DEI, but in order to keep a consistent plan and approach, you have to make your team-bonding activities accessible to everyone. Make sure to plan activities flexible enough to meet everyone’s needs and preferences so all your employees get to enjoy them. 

Payroll management

Pay equality and salary transparency are two aspects that put to test a company’s DEI initiatives. While putting up a diverse workforce and setting up an inclusive workplace are vital aspects of DEI, equity is the missing element in the equation. 

Considering there are still signs of a pay gap among many companies, employers can show their commitment to achieving real equity by taking solid actions toward more fair and transparent payrolls.

Review your company’s communication

Even though DEI is about making your workforce comfortable and considered, you have to keep it consistent with your company’s values and mission, and that’s something everyone can check. Customers and partners will notice through your website and corporate materials if you’re an inclusive employer so ensure your business communication goes along with your initiatives and reflects your workforce. 

Evaluate your hiring process

For companies still working to shape a diverse workforce, refocusing hiring efforts and looking for talent that will contribute to their DEI initiatives is a must. Aside from hiring cultural fits, ensure that you onboard candidates who widen your spectrum of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. Hiring with a DEI approach and for culture contribution will allow you to create a more rich and mixed workforce that’s also sustainable in the long term.

Work on a congruent interview process

Candidates can perceive the effectiveness of a company’s DEI right from the interview process. Having a defined set of interview questions will allow hiring managers to avoid any queries that could lead to work discrimination. As a recruiter or HR executive, be sure to focus more on job seekers’ actual qualifications and accomplishments rather than personal traits. 

DEI is far from just being an element to improve employee experience. By improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, companies can experience other types of benefits related to their productivity and profitability. If you feel you haven’t paid enough attention to your DEI initiatives, start with a few tweaks to your strategy and find out how it can excel the outcomes of your organization. 

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Contributed by Luis Arellano

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