Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: 7 Ways to Take ActionGil McGowan
Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, once considered a worthy goal, now has become imperative to employee experience and organizational success. More than half of employers say DEI would be a high priority for them this year. The following is a guest blog post from CloudAdvisors, Canada’s Employee Benefits Marketplace, with comments from Pillcheck. You can find Pillcheck pharmacogenetic testing employee benefits solutions in CloudAdvisors’ Solution Marketplace.
What Does Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Look Like?
When we think of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), most people attribute diversity to gender, age, and ethnicity (inherent diversity traits) that people are born with. Acquired diversity comes from the traits you gain through your own personal experiences. These two dimensions of diversity are critical to incorporate and prioritize in your business. Inclusion in the workplace means creating an environment that is collaborative, supportive, and one which embraces individual differences.
Traditional DEI One-time Training Doesn’t Work Too Well
Corporate training on diversity and sensitivity has long been a staple within the onboarding process at both large and small organizations. So it may come as a surprise that it’s ineffective. Research has shown that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training doesn’t affect change within a workplace, especially among underrepresented groups. Personal and implicit biases are very difficult to change, and a short one-time training program has little effect on these biases. While many companies have announced their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, the numbers report otherwise. At Facebook, the number of Black and Latinx workers increased by a mere 2% per group from 2014 and 2020. Similarly, at Google, there are only 5 black female executives amongst 357 executives in 2018.
When it comes to DEI, companies cannot release statements about rectifying internal bias without truly prioritizing it internally. Rather, this should be a continuous and intentional effort on the part of the organization.
It’s Crucial For Success
A diverse and inclusive workforce contributes to a sense of trust and belonging in the work environment. This extends to create many other advantages such as higher employee engagement, productivity, and reduced conflict, to name a few. Employees also feel happier, more productive, and possess a higher affective commitment as a result of this perceived social support. This, in turn, helps retain employees and top talent.
As mentioned before, there are two types of diversity which include inherent diversity and acquired diversity. This 2-D diversity is associated with positive outcomes such as improved innovation and performance. Companies that demonstrate 2-D diversity are 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year. In addition, they are 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market. This is due to the fact that all ideas are heard and supported, leaders value individual differences, and diverse mindsets bring variety to the drawing board.
7 Ways to Take Action
1. WALK THE TALK. MAKE DEI THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY
DEI isn’t just about hiring and retaining a diverse range of people. Diversity requires the continued support of employees. One practical step to consider: adding personalized medicine to the employee benefits program. An optimal benefits strategy supports members by doing the right thing at the right time at the right price. Wouldn’t it be great if your health benefits also respected the diversity of plan members and their individual health needs? Read more about the science behind personalized medicine and learn how Pillcheck programs in Group Benefits empower people, elevate the diversity conversation and make benefit plans more inclusive in a meaningful way.
2. READ UP ON THE REAL APPROACH
The REAL approach is based on a four-step process: Reveal Relevant Opportunities (1), Elevate Equity (2), Activate Diversity (3) and Lead Inclusively (4). This means that leaders at all levels across an organization need to grow their toolkit to both identify bias and help foster relationships and allyship with their teams. This is a great article on the four-step approach.
3. LANGUAGE TRAINING
Language used within an organization is a critical component of inclusivity. When inclusive, language can make your employees feel valued and respected. Inclusive language should always be respectful, accurate, and relevant; it requires showing respect for all members of the workplace. In addition, care must be made to reflect social diversity and avoid perpetuating stereotypes and false assumptions.
4. CONSISTENCY IS KEY
As we’ve mentioned before, DEI should not simply be a one-time training session. Diversity and inclusion is a continuous process, so it’s important to regularly report on DEI initiatives by making it an agenda item on team meetings.
5. CULTURE ADD VS. CULTURE FIT
We’ve all heard it before, hiring for culture fit is where employees match the energy of the organization. Start encouraging the philosophy of “culture add” instead and embrace employees from all walks of life, not just within the hiring process. This includes honouring different cultures and religious practices in order to truly show that your organization values diversity and inclusion.
6. COLLECT CANDID FEEDBACK
How can you see if your efforts are truly effective? By collecting feedback from your current employees. Your team must be able to witness the results of your actions and so ask for feedback on DEI initiatives consistently.
7. BUILD YOUR TOOLKIT
When it comes to building a curriculum for your toolkit, there are many different approaches. These may include facilitating discussions and intimate conversations, as well as automated one-on-ones. Try different variations to find the method that may work best for your organization, and be sure to build a DEI roadmap that is measurable.
Discriminatory practices and attitudes are embedded into certain corporations and may be difficult to eradicate. One training session isn’t going to fix the issue. It is an intentional, mindful, and continuous process. Moving forward, it is important to understand and to listen to your employees about what it means to be inclusive within the workspace. Take these perspectives, apply them, and learn from your experiences to make your organization’s DEI practices more than just policies.
Adapted from the original article on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion here.