Various researches prove that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives often fail. Why?
“DEI has become a buzzword, which every company wants to have an affiliation with. While businesses do realize its importance, they fail to understand how to implement it in the right way.”
Thus, companies today are prone to fail at their DEI initiatives. They work more on what needs to be done and what steps to take rather than implementing them companywide. DEI requires a diverse and inclusive company culture where everyone knows what it means for them, their teams, and the company. Think of creating a D&I company culture as selecting a group of people to act in a Broadway musical. They all will have different pitches, singing styles, abilities, and musical understanding. It will be your responsibility to ensure you bring them to a required level to create harmony in their chorus.
D&I requires you to bring different employees together and create a unified company culture with them. If you are struggling to create a diverse culture where everyone feels included, here are a few steps you can take to integrate DEI into your company:
EDUCATE YOUR C-SUITE
Your C-suite is where your major company-wide decisions happen. This is also where the change happens. Any organization’s managers and executives are instrumental in the DEI efforts. They are on the front line with the employees. It is the leader who makes or breaks the D&I initiatives. Hence, the first step for you should be to train your C-suite in every goal & plan you intend to create and implement. They should be informed about why you want your company to be diverse & inclusive, and how do you plan on achieving that.
You can create as many strategies or goals as possible, but if your executive team does not understand and stand by them, you won’t be able to implement them. The higher management should go through rigorous training in-line with your DEI goals. Managers should learn how to hire, retain, understand, and better manage diverse groups. They should learn how to create an environment of inclusivity for all.
“Leaders should be the ones who are accountable for the results. They alongside your DEI team should ensure that the education on D&I goals and initiatives should be the core priority of the company.”
INCLUSION + PAY EQUITY = DIVERSITY
If you go on the web right now, you will find hundreds and thousands of articles, researches, blogs, and, resources that talk about diversity. The simplest way to understand or increase it is to know that inclusion and equity result in diversity. D&I isn’t just about hiring more and more diverse candidates and enlarging the pool of employees. Focusing on hiring won’t result in a diverse and inclusive workplace.
A supportive and inclusive environment will have to be created so the employees from various backgrounds can fit in the company. Inclusivity and equity must be made common at all employee levels. The culture of inclusion must find traction in the teams and at the individual level as well. Starting from top-down, when everyone starts contributing to creating a culture of belonging, safe spaces to talk & share, and an equal opportunity environment – the D&I initiative thrives.
CELEBRATE THE DIFFERENCES
Another important aspect of the DEI integration in the company culture is celebrating the differences. One of the significant ways through which your employees feel seen, heard, and respected is when they can share their experiences of the different backgrounds they come from. When they do not have to hide the core of their personalities and backgrounds, this is when they feel included and a part of the company.
Let’s say, you have employees following a certain religion, creating a small space for them to pray will promote inclusiveness. You can have a ‘guy jar’ as most companies do, in which every male member must leave some amount every time they use a term that is particularly indicative of their gender. This also creates inclusiveness among females. Or you can arrange events and conferences where you celebrate diversity in your company and give special spotlights to a certain group at the time.
LISTEN & TALK, ASK & ANSWER!
Most people do not understand when they are excluding diverse groups out of their conversation. Other people seriously do not understand D&I and the conversations surrounding it. The best way to make sure the diverse group feels safe and talk while the others listen and understand is to make sure you create safe spaces for these conversations. There should be 1:1 conversations with your diverse employees and those should be used as the north star for team meetings on DEI and focused group discussions.
There should be a clear avenue of discussions where judgments are limited, and views & opinions are celebrated. This is the way you can make significant progress towards introducing a culture of DEI in your workplace. Think of the culture you want, the one you have, and the one you want to create. You can have diversity, but if you do not have inclusivity, there will be no results. Hence, make sure you are listening, Talking, answering, and holding yourself accountable for all the missteps and the failed actions.
“Diversity in teams results in better innovation, employee-friendly atmosphere, and strong bonding among each other. But equity and inclusion are what connects people to the core of the business. This is what retains them, and this is what makes them stay!”