Reprioritizing DEI Efforts
With the heightened events we all experienced in 2020 – racial and social justice, a global pandemic, spotlight on inequities – the conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) were at their peak. It’s time we reprioritized DEIB efforts and get the ball rolling once again.
The conversation around diversity peaked in June 2020 (growing 120% from the past year) then dipped in June 2020, but engagement with these topics has remained strong.
Many companies then quickly lost sight of their DEIB initiatives as they focused on protecting employees from the threats of COVID-19.
Workforces are more dispersed than ever with some companies having employees all over the country or even the world. An Owl Labs study found that there are more than 4.7 million remote workers in the US, with ~16% of companies being fully remote globally.
This new remote and hybrid work environment can exasperate existing DEIB challenges, alienate employees, and undermine any existing in-office DEIB efforts.
You (hopefully) put new things in place back in 2020, but what have you been doing since then? Here is a list of things to consider revamping your DEIB efforts for 2022 and beyond.
Start (or Resume) DEIB meetings
Did your DEIB meeting become a thing of the past, continually canceled, and moved around? Between the constant shifts from shutdown to reopening, it’s understandable if this was the case. Many companies have shifted their entire focus to combatting COVID-19 in the workplace, shaking up the entire workplace ecosystem.
No matter if you held DEIB meetings before 2020 or not, we mustn’t lose sight of their importance. Once your business has caught its breath, it’s time to plan for how to hold these meetings in a new way.
DEIB meetings likely won’t function in the same way they once did – remote and hybrid workspaces have shifted meetings to be held virtually. So, what can you do to make sure your remote DEIB meetings are still equitable, inclusive, and safe spaces?
- Use video calls over voice calls for more face-to-face, personal interactions
- Establish ground rules for respectful conversations and create a safe space to share
- Use interactive elements (i.e., videos, polls, Q&A’s) to keep engagement up
- Run meetings round-table style so everyone has a chance to speak
- Come up with remote activities to connect one another (DEIB book club, virtual cooking classes, share personal stories)
These meetings are all about learning and unlearning, uncovering and managing biases, and creating a space where people from all walks of life can join together.
Make Employee Resource Groups More Accessible
Great Place to Work defines employee resource groups (ERGs) as
Your business can’t be successful if your employees don’t feel safe bringing their most authentic selves to work. ERGs can build a sense of connection and belonging within your organization, allowing employees to feel comfortable sharing their experiences.
These groups allow employees to feel safe enough to voice their opinions, share new ideas, and hear different perspectives. Bringing employees together in these forums can further innovation and solve important company issues.
Making it easy for your employees to participate in ERGs is crucial and this all starts with senior leadership. Having your leadership team back these efforts will improve their overall efficacy and get more employees involved.
Assess Pay Equity
Not talking about how much you make with your coworker is a thing of the past. Your employees talk to each other and are fully aware of any pay gaps in the organization. Fair and equal opportunities should be given to each employee.
Therefore, pay equity should be a vital part of your DEIB initiatives. Leadership needs to be periodically assessing any pay gaps between employees and departments to get to the root of any issues.
Sometimes you may discover patterns of pay discrimination that exist for minority groups. For example, you might find that BIPOC employees are getting paid much less than white employees. This is a major issue!
To resolve this, pay equity will be your friend. Leveraging past data, your leadership team can identify which employees are being underpaid for similar roles. Then base your pay structure on objective market research. This should be a transparent, objective process to eliminate any potential biases.
Engage in Strategic DEIB Training
Some employees may not yet understand how DEIB impacts the work environment. Strategic DEIB training can help employees understand how different backgrounds impact work performance and workplace dynamics.
Some topics that could be covered in these trainings are things like communication styles, pronouns, handling conflict, and managing unconscious biases. These trainings are all about helping your employees work better as a team by understanding and appreciating each other’s differences.
Into the Future
Your DEIB revamp doesn’t stop here! You should be constantly looking to improve your programs and learning how to do better.
Do this by asking for feedback from your employees using anonymous surveys. You’ll get great insight into what you’re doing well and how to improve in the future.
Use this feedback to create measurable goals and track your progress each quarter. This will hold you accountable to the goals you set and keep your DEIB initiatives top-of-mind.
Last, but certainly not least: continually assess the DEIB policies in your employee handbook. Keep an eye out for areas of potential discrimination and inequities to proactively combat them. A great example can be acknowledging and adding more holidays from all cultures to your list of observed holidays.
Need support with reprioritizing your DEIB efforts? We’d love to chat about how we can support your DEIB programs and facilitate important DEIB conversations in your organization.