There’s more to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace than simply altering your recruitment and acquisition strategies to add diverse employees to your team. Once you recruit a diverse workforce, how do you retain those employees? This is why we stress that DEI is not a one-time initiative or spearheaded by one department. Oftentimes, companies hire for diversity but easily slip back into old habits and conformity in the day-to-day. When these companies fail to deliver on the DEI promises they demonstrated during recruitment, employee satisfaction will decrease, productivity can tank, and employees will leave.
There are several approaches you can take to incorporate more diversity and inclusion in the workplace that show you are organizationally committed to your defined DEI goals. Candidates who seek out companies that prioritize DEI — seeing as 76% of job seekers say commitment to diversity and inclusion is a key factor when evaluating an employer — will expect your DEI initiatives to extend far beyond the hiring process.
Here we’ll define ways to commit to furthering DEI in the workplace beyond talent and acquisition.
Recognition is extremely important because it demonstrates to employees how willing their leadership teams are to understand and respect them as individuals with vastly different experiences and skill sets. Recognition comes in many forms, one being the celebration of diverse holidays. Whether those holidays are cultural or religious, they each represent a valuable part of your employees’ identity. Celebrating these holidays also gives everyone an opportunity to learn about different cultures and the significance of each celebration, which is also paramount for DEI.
Another important form of recognition comes with feedback and evaluation. Consider whether or not people managers are giving standardized feedback to every group based on defined performance metrics and key result areas. Ensure all employees are given equal opportunities to succeed, upskill, or cross-skill through marketing, training, and networking events. And don’t forget — it is always important to celebrate, acknowledge, and reward the wins made by your employees.
DEI task forces and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a great way to foster inclusion from the ground up. These types of groups are typically employee-led and are meant to create a shared sense of belonging between people of similar groups or experiences. These groups require support from the organization in the way of funding, sponsorship, and access to resources in order to lead diversity initiatives or plan company events.
Mentor programs help employees accomplish personal and professional growth within your company. Plus, it works both ways — entry-level or less experienced employees gain access to career advice and insight from senior managers, where higher level employees can learn new skillsets and develop different perspectives. Mentor programs offer the opportunity for advancement which can also improve employee satisfaction and retention in the long-term.
Overall, encouraging DEI in the workplace comes from a place of transparency. It’s crucial that employees are given the chance to share their ideas authentically, provide feedback, and given equal opportunities across all facets of the organization.