A Meaningful Approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

As we kick off 2021, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) remains on the forefront of employer and employee minds.  The topic has been slowly gaining momentum over the past 5 years and 2020 pushed it into high gear. However, this leaves employers asking the question of how they can retroactively ingrain DEI into their culture versus simply implementing a training and checking off a box.

A September 2020 report published by LinkedIn reflects that the title “head of diversity” has grown by over 100% over the past five years. A direct correlation can be drawn to the fact that finding a “band-aid” for the issue is no longer acceptable and that DEI has become part of the fabric of employee teams. Employers want to become more diverse to push equality but also to drive innovation and recruit top tier talent. 

DEI Matters

A 2020 McKinsey report entitled, “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters,” reflects two critical factors to implementing a successful DEI plan, 1. a systemic approach 2. taking bold action.

Below we dive a little deeper into McKinsey’s suggestions for each of these factors.

Systemic Approach

Company should build and implement custom plans with targets based on proven data targets with direct accountability to leadership.

  • Diverse representation
    • Across management and leadership functions
    • Across general employee population
  • Leadership accountability
    • Hiring processes
    • Hiring diverse talent
    • Building a workplace experience for ALL employee to thrive
    • DEI education for managers and check-ins to ensure implementation of strategies
    • Fostering an environment of equality, openness, belonging

Taking Bold Action

  • Diverse talent will advance inclusion within an organization. Ensure diversity in all roles making sure to include executive management, technical and board roles.
    • Leaders and managers across all functions should be part of DEI efforts (needs to expand beyond HR and be a collective effort of the entire org).
  • Transparency on internal career growth opportunities and respective pay processes will help ensure everyone is giving an equal opportunity.
  • Promote “safe spaces” to provide a place for openness. Make sure that microaggressions are addressed immediately before a situation festers into a greater concern.
    • Establish company guidance as to what openness and welcoming behavior looks like
    • Leaders and employees should be vocal about how they’re living up to behavior
    • As aforementioned, provide examples and live by them
  • Ingrain an inclusive culture
    • Leadership and managers should foster an environment that allows all employees to bring their “whole self” to work
    • Managers should advocate for employee resource groups
    • Again, lead by example

McKinsey’s report reflects that the businesses that are winning at diversity have all taken a strategic approach with bold action to successfully tackle DEI. Not only do these same companies show greater financial performance but they are also leading as the best places to work.

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