If you’ve been following the news, diversity is the topic for business—no ifs, and, or buts about it. Decade after decade, corporations have questioned the necessity of DEI in the workplace, and for decades we’ve seen the lack of inclusion experienced by diverse employees. Now, the tide has turned, leaving many leaders vulnerable and, quite honestly: clueless. Employees have found their voices, backed by community leaders, activists, and everyday citizens saying enough is enough. While this may seem stressful for many, it couldn’t be a better opportunity to change your business and do so for good positively. Implementing a few simple practices can have an incredible impact on your employee satisfaction as well as your bottom line.
Intentional DEI strategies offer incredible benefits, including employee retention, increased innovation and productivity, better consumer insights, and higher profits. Let’s face it. Customers want to support companies that share their values; diversity being number one!
Below are a few things you can change today.
Educate Yourself on DEI: Go beyond the obvious: race and investigate the other variations such as culture, sexual orientation, veteran, abilities, etc. Understanding the complexities of diversity and inclusion will better equip you as to how you develop and execute a DEI strategy.
Core Values & Mission: Does your mission support your core values and vice versa? Are you thinking about your core values when it comes to daily operating procedures and business alliances? Do a deep dive into these two to see diversity is or isn’t showing up. Involve your team and make it a company-wide initiative to create a corporate culture on which everyone can get on board.
Check Your Leadership: You will need to put your money where your decision-makers are. Does your board reflect diversity? I’m not talking about adding a white woman and calling yourself diverse. Go back to looking beyond race. If your leadership team shares the same background and experience, you aren’t diverse enough. Here’s an opportunity to shake things up and, more importantly, bring on diversity of thought to create impactful improvements to your organization.
Inform: Workshops, training, and speaking engagements are great ways to build your internal culture and emphasize your commitment to DEI. Subscribe to reports, podcasts, and webinars that can be shared companywide. Just make sure you’re vetting the information before sharing.
Encourage Diversity: Make it clear that everyone is not only allowed but encouraged to bring their authentic self to work every day. Create a safe place for employees to share their personalities without fear of judgment, exclusion, or alienation. Address bad behavior immediately and reward positive behavior and teamwork.
Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice, and equity is a right. If viewed through the right lens, DEI can be one of the most powerful tools at a company’s disposal. Use it. Don’t view it as a chore, but it has to drive higher profits and innovation for the ability. These critical initiatives will help create an inclusive culture for your company, and the results will be grand.