As is common in much of the corporate world, C-level support has historically lacked diversity and inclusion. As social awareness has increased in recent years, many organizations have taken actions that have made a real difference in making the C-suite more equitable.
Compile and Analyze Data
When it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, knowledge is power. A company can’t improve its diversity and inclusivity without first understanding how diverse the organization is in practice. One of the most important initiatives one can take is collecting data that can be analyzed continuously. See how the composition of your team compares to other companies in your industry and the overall labor force. Pay close attention to key diversity categories, such as age, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, generation, learning styles, race, language is spoken, etc. By collecting data and comparing it to other companies and your own organizational goals, you will be able to identify problem areas and hold yourself accountable for the goals you set
Identify Problems and Set Clear Goals
By collecting lots of data, you will have the resources you need to identify where you fall short as an organization in diversity and inclusion. Look beyond simple statistics to examine how diverse groups are represented within specific departments and job titles. For example, even if fifty percent of your employees are female, your organization isn’t inclusive if men fill all the leadership positions. In addition, survey individual employees to see if they feel their work environment is inclusive. This can help you identify less obvious problem areas. Once you identify specific problems within your organization that hold you back from being inclusive, you can begin to set goals. Identify what needs to change and develop an action-based plan to move your company to where it needs to be. The plan should address aspects of the organization like hiring practices, job descriptions, company culture, and company policies.
Involve Leadership and Management
Leaders who have decision-making power must be involved in any effective DEI strategy. You must also involve line managers from the beginning of the process. Without the help of leadership, there is no way to make real changes in hiring practices and company policies. Involving line managers is also important because they have a better understanding of what the company’s day-to-day culture looks like and can help ensure that the DEI goals the organization set match up with the reality of the workplace.
Consider Technology and Its Biases
Technology is one area that diversity committees often overlook. For example, the technology used to hire candidates and evaluate employee performance can rely on data biased against specific minority groups. This bias can range from steering job ads toward certain candidates to flagging candidates for word choice. Thus, it is important to regularly assess the technology used in your hiring and evaluation processes to ensure they do not affect anyone group in an inequitable or discriminatory way. Data, questions, and criteria used to evaluate candidates and employees should be fair and should use measures that are relevant indicators of performance for a given role.
Many companies are actively working on improving the diversity, inclusivity, and equity of their organizations. Strategies that focus on collecting and analyzing diversity metrics, setting clear and measurable goals, involving leadership and line manager, and cutting out biases and technology can make a real difference in improving the inclusivity of your organization.
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