There can be many topics that seem taboo or not “appropriate” for work because they can make people uncomfortable. Conversations around race, equality and equity can be difficult. Prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives can have a profound impact in your workplace. 

What are DEI initiatives? 

DEI initiatives are actions taken by an organization to create a safe space to allow diverse ideas and people to thrive. Building a diverse workforce and creating a work environment that is equitable and inclusive for everyone.

It’s creating a space where people can openly share their thoughts and feelings without being mocked, pressured or ridiculed. And providing education to help shed light on difficulties fellow employees may face. 

Prioritizing DEI is more than just posting on social media claiming to stand for diversity and inclusion. For effective DEI initiatives, leaders and managers must behave, promote and do what they say and who they recruit and hire. 

1. Benchmark Company’s Current DEI Progress

Company leaders need to prioritize and review the makeup of their employee base and existing initiatives that enable an inclusive environment (and be honest if there aren’t any). Questions and considerations may include?

  • What is our baseline?
  • What is the makeup of the company’s workforce?
  • Is there adequate representation of women? 
  • Is there representation of traditionally underrepresented populations: African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, etc.?

2. Leadership Buy In

Once a baseline is understood. Leaders can put a plan in place to commit to change and development. Nothing will change if leadership isn’t on board with initiatives and practices. In order for change to happen, leaders have to make the effort and commitment to change. 

3. Companies Need To Implement Unbiased Hiring Practices

When reviewing company policies, one of the first places that will make immediate change is to review hiring practices. Is there recruitment bias? Are the job positions and hiring posts promoting a diverse culture of applicants to apply? Strong DEI programs can boost your employer brand, which can help you attract top talent to your organization and increase employee performance and retention rates.

4. Support Mentorship And Sponsorship Opportunities 

Encourage veteran employees to mentor, guide and assist junior employees. Sponsorship is when someone will advocate for another employee on their behalf. These relationships build camaraderie, collaboration and trust within the workplace.

5. Encourage Social Events. Get People Together

Create employee resource groups – groups where employees can come together based on commonality, race, gender, veteran, parenthood, etc. For example, it can be helpful for working mothers to have a group of women to reach out to for support and mentorship. 

6. Provide DEI Training Across All Levels Of The Organization

DEI training for specific-roles can help employees identify the potential biases they are bringing into the workplace and learn how to support the company’s DEI goals. These trainings will allow management to pinpoint bias and teach and retrain employees to adjust and embrace DEI initiatives.

7. DEI Contributes To Company Success 

DEI initiatives create a workplace where employees feel heard, respected, and feel a sense of belonging, boosting engagement, performance and retention rates. Initiatives that prioritize employee wellness can also boost employees’ mental health and satisfaction, which can contribute to better performance, improved customer relationships, and a boost to your ROI. 

Look at your company culture. Implementing DEI will have a major influence on the workplace. From hiring, training promotions and everything in between. A safe, Equitable and diverse workplace will be interwoven into the fabric of the company culture. It will be the very essence it wants to be.