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December 12, 2023

5 Ways to Boost DEI Initiatives

5 Ways to Boost DEI Initiatives

DEI affects everyone across the organization, not just underrepresented groups. According to a Harvard Business Review report, with their full commitment, DEI strategies can improve a company’s earnings by 33%. Deloitte’s research found that organizations emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion have more engaged teams. Numerous other studies confirm that DEI can impact productivity, culture, recruiting and retention, and ultimately the bottom line. Even with the staggering data to support them, DEI initiatives can lose momentum without thoughtful and consistent promotion. DEI professionals can amplify DEI initiatives with a deliberate approach that includes the following.

Leverage Employees Resource Groups (ERGs)

ERGs can provide important connection opportunities between talent professionals and organizational leadership. Underrepresented groups gain visibility and can build authentic relationships with senior-level employees. ERGs offer a forum for interaction, engagement, and growth to take place, thereby strengthening an inclusive workplace culture. 

Related Reading: Five Ways To Support Employee Resource Groups

Set Up Communication Channels

Create an ongoing discussion about DEI initiatives using various communication channels. Presenting DEI topics and updates on a team chat forum allows other employees to participate with ideas and observations. Anonymous surveys can reveal employees’ views and concerns, which highlight the ways HR can work to implement DEI strategies.

For example, a weekly newsletter can celebrate progress and alert workers to opportunities they can take to close the DEI gap. Expanding recruiting channels can also contribute through specialized targeting of marginalized groups. Furthermore, having regular conversations about DEI helps workers understand their organization’s commitment to resolving disparities. 

Build DEI into Company Core Values

One survey found that 70% of workers value an organization’s commitment to DEI. It makes sense to include DEI in an organization’s core values. Doing so means going beyond a press release and rewording the values statement on the company website. During the hiring and onboarding processes, the company can clearly articulate DEI goals and its beliefs about DEI to integrate incoming talent. DEI values can be included in formal written handbooks, contracts, and training manuals. DEI professionals can partner with HR to include DEI awareness in team-building events. They can facilitate education about DEI’s benefits, contributing to the organization’s identity and competitive strategy. 

Recognize the Leaders of Progress

Leaders who are making strides with DEI on their teams deserve a tip of the hat. Doing so sends a message to other managers of teams that the organization prioritizes DEI legwork on the part of the manager. It’s one thing to say you care, but actually changing the role distribution on the team makes meaningful progress. Managers who make noticeable changes should receive incentives corresponding to their DEI accomplishments. Leaders can be sure to include recognizing managers for their actions to prepare underrepresented team members for advancement. Leaders can also share updates about where the organization stands in reaching its DEI goals to inspire managers to act just as they would when pushing teams toward revenue or innovation goals.  

Find and Support DEI Champions

DEI and HR professionals can scout out the people in the organization who give their time and energy to closing the DEI gap and offer them more resources to continue their efforts. 

  • Employees who mentor other workers in marginalized groups 
  • leaders who advocate for diverse candidates for advancement 
  • front-line workers who stay late to help new employees catch on 
  • The HR professional who rewords a job post to welcome underrepresented applicants 
  • Employees who invite co-workers to lunch and make introductions 

Some of the biggest influencers in a DEI culture may not realize that leaders care about the work they do. Leaders can reach out to these individuals, thank them, and compensate them for their time. They can leverage their experience by asking them to participate in a task force or think tank. Leaders can send their DEI champions to DEI conferences and give them the tools they need to engage protected groups more effectively. Empowering people in the organization who are already deeply committed to changing the organizational fabric can compound their results.   

DEI goals, however honorable, are only possible with a collection of tactics that take priority. HR and DEI departments can aggressively pursue these pathways to keep the DEI mission on course. With some elbow grease, disparities can dissolve, and organizations will reap the many benefits a diverse and fully infused workforce can bring.

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