don’t think anyone could have predicted the year we have had and I think most people will agree it has been pretty rubbish. The best thing to have come out of 2020 came from an absolute tragedy. The murder of George Floyd prompted emotion, demonstrations and conversations across the world. In turn it has made companies wake up and realise that we have to do better in aiming for better ethnic diversity in the workplace.
We saw many a knee jerk reaction of companies issuing statements on racism, black lives matter and ethnic diversity. Companies throwing training at employees left, right and centre. Don’t get me wrong, training needs to happen but it is just the start.
The pressure is now on to make sure you are actually doing something and not just paying lip service.
So, if you have recently decided to put a lens on your DEI approach and strategy, read on for a checklist of how you can tackle a massively important subject in the right way:
- Spend time figuring out where you are at the moment; use data and understand what your internal strengths and weaknesses are
- Take it one step at a time; going gung-ho on trying to improve DEI across all characteristics at the same time is a risky approach. Choose a characteristic to focus on, identify areas for improvement and roll them out. Learn from that before you move on to your next area of focus. You can still tell your people you intend to tackle the other characteristics but be honest with them that each area needs focus, trust me…they will appreciate it!
- Identify where you sit in the market; are you aiming to hire more diverse talent than is available in the market? For example, aiming to recruit 50% females in a niche market where there are only 10% females available is just not going to be realistic
- Be bold; chances are you are not where you want or need to be in your DEI strategy and that is ok in this moment but commit to doing something about it. Be bold about where you want to be and be honest about that. Put your targets and commitments on your website, your prospective employees want to see it. Glassdoor found that 67% of active and passive job seekers, when evaluating companies and job offers, say it is important to them that the company has a diverse workforce
- Be Open; Talk to your employees and prospective employees about what you are doing and how. Embrace ideas and feedback from them but don’t put the pressure on them to solve your DEI problems. There are some things you really do need an expert for. This is one of them
- Track, track, track and track some more; you need to track your progress. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘What doesn’t get tracked doesn’t get done’. It’s true. Regular tracking against your goals will hold everyone accountable. Tracking doesn’t need to be a Ppt deck that somebody dreads spending hours putting together each month. Put the investment in on a decent analytics tool that automates the tracking part but also takes you beyond that with insight and trending analysis (speak to me for more on this if you like!)
- Review; periodically ensure you are reviewing how far you have come. What is working? What isn’t working? Why? Do your employees feel an improvement?
Most importantly, never rest on your laurels. DEI is ever-changing, there is always something new to learn whether it is terminology, ideas for improvement or something else. Ensure you have an expert on hand to keep you updated of key changes and make sure your employees are continuously engaged in the conversation.