Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is not merely a feel-good corporate policy but has strong economic and business impacts. Leaders and recruiters are increasingly adopting it to outperform in the business world statistically. The latest studies suggest that 61% of employees believe in diversity and inclusion because it matters. Being one of the powerful retention keys it builds a positive perception and brings satisfaction among employees.
Diversity is not merely hiring people from different nationalities, races, colors, gender, or sexual orientation but is also making them feel that they are truly welcome. A recent study by LinkedIn indicates that 50% of employees of age group 18 to 28 have left their job because they felt uncomfortable with the non-inclusive culture of the company. Conventionally, culture to promote diversity and inclusivity flows from top to down. Leaders need to establish regular dialogues with employees on how to improve on it and then display behavior accordingly.
Further, the latest stats suggest that 57% of employers are looking to increase their DEI efforts and are very confident about meeting the targets. Contrarily, 43% say that it is difficult to find diverse applicants, and 29% believe that there is still a long way to go. Amid this, it became imperative to set the tone right. Below are some steps to guide leaders.
How to develop a Diversity-Enabled Culture?
1. Start from the Top
First, leaders shall embrace DEI in letter and spirit and then shall allow it to trickle down. Naturally, if these goals are not listed among one of the top priorities, companies are most likely to fail in achieving their long-term targets. It happens for the simple reason that people prefer to hire people like them so that they stay comfortable and rarely got challenged. Entrepreneurs or top leaders must let an employee trust that their uniqueness is truly welcomed and they can excel for being what they are.
2. Building Strategies
Next would be to strategize the plans and policies of the company and then promote it horizontally, vertically, and also diagonally. Leaders shall keep taking close look at what is happening in the recruitment cell. Up to which extent the Diversity & Inclusion talks are made there and HR heads are adhering to formulated guidelines to achieve these targets. Further, to cultivate these habits, leaders must not fail to invest in their own people and community and amplify the company’s position.
3. Ensure Safety for Each
Safety is the strongest desire of each employee. However, people who are unlike or marginalized look towards safety aspects more than anyone else. They would judge a company for supporting their existence, being indifferent to their different outlook or personal choices, and strictly against any signal violating this principle. More, there shall be open conversations, networking lunches, common coffee breaks, and frequent informal gatherings to share opinions, discuss ideas and build inclusivity.
4. Connect with Employees
Importantly, leaders shall first maintain transparency about their life and in return, they are most likely to get the same back. Connecting personally with your people will foster a bond of trust and inculcate a comfort zone wherein both will know more about the preferences of each other. Make sure that you still maintain decorum, keep the discussion up to the optimum level, respect differences and avoid asking inappropriate questions. No matter what but love, respect, acceptance, and appreciation are the strongest traits, well-received by people from all societies.
5. Take Feedback
Employers must encourage employees to share their stories and celebrate what they are. Be it through interviews, mass surveys, campaigns, all-hand discussions, and other multiple ways, employees must be allowed to speak their minds and perspectives. That is what they think and feel about accepting the idea of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Inculcating an ecosystem to enable an open atmosphere for discussion can often lead to some interesting findings and positive outcomes.
6. Conduct Audits
Take follow-ups and conduct audits to identify whether things are moving in the desired direction or not. If not, then what is the level of the gap, and what can be the possible way out to bridge that gap? Also, employees can be asked what concrete steps they have already taken to promote diversity and how far are those steps aligned with the vision and philosophy of your company.
7. Promote Diversity & Inclusion Endeavours
Further, it is also important to maintain that your DE&I efforts are visible to people from the outside world. If required, modify or re-brand content on your company’s website, social media accounts, and other places to make this thing evident. More, make a team of people from Marketing, HR, and IT to brainstorm on sharing these equitable practices largely.
Further, employees can also spread the word through education, and some real-time business analytics to know employees why Diversity & Inclusion matter and why shall they trust more in your DEI initiatives.