Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives continue to gain traction in the workplace every year. A strong DEI program is essential to avoid discrimination lawsuits and earn the reputation as an employer who cares about its employees. You can reduce employee turnover and improve customer relationships. Making your company more diverse, equitable, and inclusive will make it more ethical by providing a safe, welcoming workplace where employees’ can find a sense of belonging. Ethical companies tend to be more profitable than their competitors. A study by Ethisphere found that companies scoring highly in its annual rankings of the World’s Most Ethical Companies outperform comparable companies by 7.1 percentage points. Attracting and retaining employees with diverse perspectives can boost your business, prevent workplace incidents, and provide other benefits for your company.
Improve employee retention by prioritizing DEI best practices.
Use DEI to recruit, but don’t forget to foster an environment that keeps your current employees engaged. Next, make sure to create opportunities for professional development that are inclusive of all employees. Without equal chances to learn and grow, employees could fall behind on the skills they need to move up or even keep pace with best practices. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “How can I be sure that my approach to prioritizing DEI is equitable and inclusive?”
And that’s a great question. Here are some answers:
- Do you choose the same employees to go to every conference or trade show? If so, why? Are there some employees who are more likely to get chosen because of potential for promotion or favoritism?
- Is your training and budget allocated equally among employees? If not, why not? Do some employees have to miss out on training or conferences because of finances/family responsibilities/health conditions?
If the answer to these questions seem to display a company culture of exclusivity or inequity then you may want to reevaluate your approach. Continue reading for more DEI best practices.
Hiring, Retaining and Promoting Differently-Abled Candidates
In 2022, employers shouldn’t just do the bare minimum required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead, they should take full advantage of this law to accommodate workers with disabilities by making their workplaces and jobs accessible to them.
When considering candidates with disabilities, Attri recommends these four tips for making the hiring process more inclusive:
- Assess the resume and cover letter for skills that match your needs.
- Give some thought to how the work experiences of these candidates could be put to use in your organization.
- Conduct an interview to uncover talents and skills that may not have been indicated in the candidate’s resume.
- If you think the skills and experience of a particular candidate would be a good fit for your organization, consider creating a role that fits their strengths and aligns with current business needs, rather than trying to slip them into an existing role.
While not every organization can be groundbreaking, the least you can do is make your company one of the first to try something new.
People with disabilities aren’t a burden or a potential compliance lapse or lawsuit waiting to happen. They bring unique perspectives and strengths to the table. Focusing on their inclusion is a benefit to your company, not an inconvenience.
Examine Remote Work Through a DEI Lens
With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, most companies had to quickly embrace remote work in 2020.
Organizations today have adopted a variety of approaches to the workplace. Some organizations have returned to the office, some organizations allow employees to work from home full-time, and others have adopted a hybrid model.
Remote working environments can be stifling to some employees and candidates, especially if they lack access to reliable internet connections or the means to work in a quiet and ergonomic workspace.
A hybrid or office-first model can promote inequity in different ways. Employees who need to care for their children might not be able to come into the workplace as often, for example, while those who can afford to work from home might have an advantage over their coworkers who live in less expensive areas.
Though the demand for in-person work is still high, offering both remote and in-person work options will be one of this year’s top DEI trends, as it is the only way to ensure every employee has the option to select for a workplace environment that feels both safe and productive.
When you’re developing or updating your DEI program, don’t fall back on a tired cliché and start from scratch. Instead, rely on the most valuable resource you have at your disposal: your employees. This is one of the most under utilized but power DEI best practices many companies are overlooking.
In many cases, employees are the ones who notice when something isn’t working right—or when there are problems that need to be fixed. And they can be crucial in helping you identify areas where your DEI program needs improvement.
The best way to get employees involved is by asking them questions about what they think is going well and what could use some work. Ask them what they like about the program and what they don’t like; ask them how they would improve it if given the chance; ask them what they think of the training materials provided by HR or other departments as part of their onboarding process; ask them whether there are any gaps in their knowledge that need to be addressed in order for them to feel confident in their ability to do their jobs well; ask them how often they use new tools provided by HR or other departments (such as an online learning platform); ask them about their experience with onboarding processes for new hires coming into different teams within your organization; ask!
Another valuable strategy is to ask employees from marginalized groups to complete a survey or participate in a focus group that can help you identify your blind spots and improve your DEI practices.
For instance, if there are no senior management positions held by people of color in your organization, junior staff of color may feel like they will never be able to rise up within your ranks. They might also feel they have no one to turn to who understands their experience if they experience race-based harassment or discrimination.
DEI Best Practices & Trends for 2022
Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives should go beyond the current trending moment. They should play an integral role in the development of every policy and process throughout your organization, from work setting to graphic design.
It’s 2022 and it’s going to be an expectation of current, and future, generations of diverse employees that you have a diverse staff and management team with different backgrounds and experiences. You’ll also need to make sure that your training programs are inclusive of all genders, races, sexual orientations, religious beliefs and more.
If you’re not ready to meet these requirements now is a great time to start a conversation with us so we can help you not only meet DEI standards but to excel in building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.