5 steps to taking meaningful action to advance DEI initiatives

Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives have been pulled into close scrutiny and greater focus over the past few years. However, that does not mean that the work is done. Indeed, many organizations have yet to take meaningful steps toward embracing and cultivating a diverse workforce where not only is everyone valued, but they also have access to the same professional opportunities and support. Meaningful progress in this area must consider both long-term and short-term goals and be designed to make permanent change rather than serve as a temporary, superficial “overhaul.”

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With that said, understanding how to take action can be difficult. Let’s look at some steps to take to effect lasting change to create a workplace that puts DEI first.

Understand the Benefits of DEI in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is an important driver of creativity and innovation that offers direct benefits not only to employees in the workforce but to the health of the organization as a whole. In their report Diversity Matters, the McKinsey Institute notes that companies ranking highest in ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to outperform competitors, for example, and there is an abundance of research to support their findings. On a more practical level, employees in an organization that makes an effort to support and to acknowledge all of their employees while working to build an inclusive and diverse environment are more likely to feel engaged and optimistic.

Related: Spring HR Tech keynoter’s tips for diversifying your talent pool

A coordinated DEI strategy is, therefore, an important element of any healthy workplace. However, it must consist of tangible steps designed to make measurable progress.

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Define Diversity

What does diversity mean to your organization? Understanding how a diverse and inclusive workforce looks makes it easier to form a concrete plan to improve. This includes evaluating the resources dedicated to DEI initiatives in terms of both human and fiscal capital. Are they sufficient to support the programs you already have in place as well as those you plan to implement? Benchmark your organization against industry norms to identify gaps in advancement, representation, pay and attrition rates.

Offer Equal Employment Opportunities

In general, you should strive to have a corporate culture that cherishes its diverse team. One step toward achieving this goal is to redefine hiring and promotion strategies once diversity, as it pertains to your organization, has been defined. Bring in DEI specialists to help determine the best way to refine your recruiting to avoid even unconscious biases and track equal representation in promotion, hiring and exit processes.

Related: Spring HR Tech keynoter Torin Ellis shares strategies for moving the ball forward on DEI

Create a Common Concept of Diversity

Not everyone comes from the same place when it comes to understanding diversity and how to promote it. In order to create a diverse workforce that values the principles of DEI, create a common vocabulary around the expectations and concepts that define diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Ensure that everyone understands and internalizes this vocabulary by including it in in-person learning experiences as well as training initiatives.

Work and Partner with Experts

Finally, consider working long-term with professionals who can help overhaul your workplace, from software to training endeavors. Consider smart solutions like Kanarys, a DEI technology platform designed to offer comprehensive DEI solutions in the workplace. From diagnosing problems to measuring progress once changes are put in place, the platform serves as an important tool for DEI-focused organizations.

Taking concrete steps today to analyze the current state of your organization and create a path forward is critical to supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce.

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Tyrone Smith Jr. of Udemy
Tyrone Smith Jr.
Author and speaker Tyrone Smith Jr. is the global director, head of people analytics and insights, at Udemy. He is also a self-proclaimed people analytics and future of work enthusiast, innovator and strategist.