If you want to have a diverse and inclusive workforce then you need to have a team that specializes in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
“DEI team is not only significant for your employees, but it is imperative for the success of your business. A diverse and inclusive company has better talent innovation, employee retention, and results in improved profit margins as well.”
You need to have a task force of dedicated members who take the responsibility to bring the cultural change organizations need today. If you want to increase the overall bottom line of your business, here is how you should build a DEI team in your workplace to do that:
PREPARE WITH NUMBERS
What do I mean when I say you need to prepare with numbers? If you want to make a successful team, you should compile data and have your organization’s figures and statistics in front of you. Pull up your employee demographics including age, ethnicity, gender, family, education, status in the organization, race, sexual orientation, religion, and physical characteristics, etc. Use your HR resources to capture this data. If you don’t have enough information, do the internal surveys. But, make sure you have a bigger picture of your organization’s workforce in front of you. Moreover, pull up the information on your current company culture concerning DEI as well.
When you have all the statistical information and the relevant details of your organization’s DEI situation, it is about time the C-suite gets together to dissect this information. Do the grouping, see what stage you are at, and make sure the leadership team is onboard the new journey all of you have ventured in. Create a basic strategy that can be presented to your DEI team (once they are on board) so they can understand the big vision.
“Remember that you can’t be the only one doing the work here. Your entire leadership must support you and be actively involved. Else the stats won’t ever change.”
IDENTIFY THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Once you are clear on the DEI data of your organization, it is time you join heads with the recruitment department to find the right people. You can look for employees within your company or work on hiring new ones. The first thing you need to do is to look for a Chief Diversity Officer with proven experience in this area to lead this department. Since you are just starting it, you will need someone who has a track record of successfully launching, implementing, and leading diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Engage with your team members and gauge their interest. Allow active participation of your current employees. Invite your staff to sit with you, share the vision of your DEI team, and see if they will be the right fit or not. Initiate conversation throughout the company. Ask your network for referrals that can help you achieve this mission of starting a DEI team.
SPOT THE NEEDS & MARK YOUR GOALS
Building the team isn’t only about hiring a few people. When you have the stats and numbers to provide the data and a team to thoroughly analyze them, you need to identify the needs and areas of concerns so the people and their tasks can be structured accordingly. Define the problematic areas that need immediate attention. Is the C-suite full of white males? Are only males being promoted in the organization? Are women of the same education and experience underpaid when compared to their male counterparts?
Ask yourself these hard questions, so your CDO and the team can work on finding their answers and putting up solutions. Before you start your DEI team from the ground-up, it is significant that you have a broad picture of the problematic areas of your organization. You and your current team know them better than anyone else. Here, you can bring a CDO along, to professionally analyze and assess the situation before your DEI team starts working on them.
BE HONEST AND EDUCATE
Now that your company is shifting its focus and hiring a specialized team to introduce diversity and inclusivity in your workspace, it is significant that you honestly educate your team on the current data. Pull up all the educational materials that can be distributed to your DEI team. Make sure you give them a big picture of your organization’s current standpoint on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Fill them in on how far you can go to ensure that you have a diverse and inclusive company.
Provide the team with successful case studies. Give them the liberty to study, do surveys, interviews, and hold training within the organization. All the while, you need to be open to the feedback you receive and honest about the suggestions and potential policies for implementation being put forth.
ERADICATE THE PROBLEMATIC POLICIES
If you want to hire and sustain a DEI team, you must remove all the obstacles from their path. Believe me, there will be so many of them. When your team starts identifying the practices and policies that are affecting your big vision to create a diverse and inclusive team, you must take action. Work on all the policies that must be eliminated and practices that have to be eradicated.
Do a thorough analysis of the company culture yourself and see which areas require immediate attention. Look for unconscious biases deeply ingrained in your company culture. Find all the ways through which you can help the DEI team get rid of limiting policies and work on the change you want to bring in your organization.
If you follow these five steps you won’t only create a specialized DEI team but will sustain it for the betterment of your company.
“You need to provide the necessary support to your DEI team to bring the change in your organization. Waste no time in creating this team if you want to launch a successful diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative. They aren’t fancy terms anymore, but the utmost requirements or you will fail in what you do. Think carefully! Act intentionally!”