Commitment to Diversity: Moving Beyond Diversity and Inclusion Training
Employers have long been committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, recognizing its importance in their organizations’ success. However, progress has been slow.
Despite this, the DEI global market is charging ahead, with approximately $7.5 billion spent on DEI-related efforts in 2020 – such as employee resource groups (ERGs). It is projected to more than double to $15.4 billion spent in 2026.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lighthouses 2023 Report, employers should look beyond diversity and inclusion training when refining their DEI initiatives by considering the following factors:
- Understand the root problems regarding DEI in the employer’s specific workplace
- Define goals and success within the DEI realm
- Become accountable by establishing DEI goals as a “core” business priority
- Develop solutions for the identified root problems and causes, keeping scalability in mind
- Track results and success, course-correcting when necessary
Keep reading to understand what helps employers move beyond diversity and inclusion training, helping to create sustainable DEI change and commitment to diversity.
Understand the Root Problems
To create sustainable DEI change, employers must understand where they currently stand regarding DEI. What are the root problems found within the organization? What areas can be improved upon? What opportunities are there to strengthen or expand DEI initiatives?
For example, the following areas may need some DEI tweaking to help you to further your diversity and inclusion efforts:
- Gender pay gaps
- Retention percentages across genders and races
- Promotion percentages across commonly underrepresented groups
According to McKinsey, identifying “company-specific DEI opportunity areas can help to inform prioritization of efforts and investment, goal setting, and solution design.”
Define DEI Goals & Success
Once employers establish a baseline of needs and opportunities, then leaders can define organizational success through short and long-term goal setting. Explaining the need for each goal to employees (and how these goals tie into the company’s mission) can help improve success by moving employees into action.
For example, energy company Schneider Electric set a goal to close its global pay gaps. However, instead of keeping this goal broad, Schneider set a goal to “ensure that the pay gap did not exceed 1 percent for all employees by 2025.”
By keeping goals specific, companies can not only track progress but hold themselves accountable for achieving their DEI initiatives.
Incorporate DEI Goals as a “Core” Business Priority
Employers can further demonstrate their commitment to diversity by incorporating their specific DEI goals into their core business priorities.
This not only holds leadership accountable for inputs and outputs but also demonstrates a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by allocating sufficient resources to each priority.
Armed with the information above, employers can then develop solutions that address any DEI root problems within their organizations.
Updating your hiring processes is one way to do this. For example, updating your hiring policies and other recruitment processes, such as a re-examination of your structured interviews to the expansion of your talent pipeline, shows your commitment to DEI by prioritizing it with your business processes.
Designing these types of solutions – including equipping your employees to effect necessary change – can help boost the effectiveness of your DEI initiatives.
Track Results and Course Correct When Needed
Just like understanding where you stand, leaders also should track their results – understanding where they’re going. By tracking goal achievement and remaining open to employee feedback, leaders can better understand if they’re meeting their goals or if a course correction is needed.
Specifically, employee feedback is critical – whether it’s obtained through direct conversations with leadership or anonymous written feedback. According to McKinsey, “[i]t’s important that feedback is encouraged from employees frequently, not only because it demonstrates genuine care and regard of employee’s opinions, but also because to fix a problem, employers need to be aware of its existence in the first instance.”
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