written by
Michele Heyward

Why You Should Have A DEI Team?

DiversityandInclusion Anti-racism 5 min read

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are more than buzzwords or the HR checklist items. They are now a cultural phenomenon. The companies are realizing that they have to move past superficial DEI conversations and focus more on getting the work done. As per a study, around 60% of the start-ups believe that diverse teams are better at problem-solving and innovation. Yet, unfortunately, only 41% are supporting company-wide diverse hiring practices. So, where exactly is the problem?

“The problem is with leadership within organizations not believing in the need to have diverse and inclusive workplaces. It is more crucial than ever (culturally, politically, and socially) to have a workplace that embraces diversity and for that, you need a team who champions in it.”

Having a diversity and inclusion department makes a better company. And, it is about time we talk about how to create one. If you are still someone who is struggling with the concept of having a DEI team and are wondering how it is going to be beneficial for your business, there are enough reasons to convince you to focus on creating one. Here are some of those:

DEI Isn’t A One Man Job!

If you think that hiring a Chief Diversity Officer is the best thing you can do to promote diversity and inclusion, you are wrong. No matter how experienced, a CDO alone cannot bring the change your company needs. Diversity and inclusion is complicated and incorporating D&I is more than hiring people from different backgrounds, religions, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, and race, etc. A team that specializes in understanding multiple geographic locations, age, marital status, genders, and family status, etc. can help you create a company with diversity, equity, and inclusion as its core values.

D&I is a complex domain. It needs multiple specialists in the area to join forces, give attention & find focused solutions to problems surrounding it. It needs more care than other aspects of your company. Due to this and much more, you need to have dedicated and experienced leaders in the industry to assess, analyze, formulate policies and implement them for greater workforce diversity and inclusion practices.

Your HR Cannot Do It

You should stop thinking that your HR department is equipped with the vital information required to handle diverse responsibilities. D&I needs special attention. You need to have a Chief Diversity Officer and a proper team reporting directly to your CDO that focuses on creating strategies, robust plans, and policies surrounding diversity & increasing inclusivity.

The CDO should report to the CEO in his/ her efforts to build and implement plans that further an organization’s efforts to grow a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. If you think your HR department can do it, you cannot be more wrong. Working on a company’s diversity initiatives and ensuring that they are being carried out right is something only a specialized team can do.

They Set You Up For Success

A DEI team, when given the right power and authority, can set up your company for success. They identify best D&I practices backed by research and create opportunities for employees to provide feedback. This is conducted through surveys, climate assessments, and focus group discussions, etc. They also create opportunities where employees can have a meaningful conversation with the leadership to promote equity and cultural inclusivity. Moreover, a DEI team works toward creating long-term strategies that can help fulfill a company’s current and future workforce needs like hiring, retention, and unbiased recruitment. They also formulate policies, nullify the old ones, and change the current ones that can harm your DEI initiatives. This is something that a normal, unspecialized team cannot help you with.

A DEI team is also your communication vehicle across the organization. They identify opportunities to communicate with broader departments for the promotion of equity, and inclusion. Finally, they help the senior management work on the right tone of internal messaging, so it is inclusive for all.

Your DEI Team Knows How To Train

Training your employees is the key. It is the best way to ensure the elimination of biases, stereotypes, and perceptions that sabotage diversity and inclusion. These trainings aren’t something your regular team can do. Only an expert DEI team knows how to facilitate the change that your company requires. These can be done through simple meetings, videos, or introducing a change in language in company meetings and emails, etc.

The organizations need to dive deep into the bias that negatively impacts their diverse employees, and only a DEI team can navigate this situation and find a solution to eradicate this problem. A report by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that while more than half of North American organizations (56%) provide training on non-discrimination, regulatory compliance, and embracing differences, more can be done. And this more can only be done when you have a group of people who know how to ensure non-discriminatory practices in the workplace for all.

Because You Need Them!

Companies that leverage power from their DEI teams engage their employees, create a positive influence, and drive a meaningful change. Not just for your diverse employees, but when there are DEI teams, your other employees know that you are management that cares for its people. The crucial issues surrounding diverse employees (especially with the change America is in today) is something that only people championing in Diversity & Inclusion can understand. This team can work on issues such as pay equity, do unbiased performance checks, understand social justice diversity, increase retention, and enlighten the C-suite on them so the right business policies can be created.

“The companies that have both gender and ethnic diversity can financially perform up to 25% better than the national industry median. These companies are more innovative and tend to produce better results. Do you know what makes this success possible for them? A dedicated DEI team that knows how to inculcate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the company.”

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