Companies with more diverse and inclusive workforces are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. Not surprising when you consider that diverse leadership teams deliver 19% higher revenue. So, if you’re not already implementing these DEI best practices, now’s the perfect time.
Education, education, education
It’s only through knowledge and understanding that diversity, equity, and inclusion can truly grow within a business.
You could expand your employees’ understanding through workshops, webinars, books, mentorship, or other means.
Offering a variety of formats will help you educate more employees in a way that works for them. In doing so, you can increase the likelihood of success for your DEI program. It’ll also help with employee engagement because people will feel valued.
In addition, you have to educate the outside world about your practices. This is particularly true if you’re an older business that isn’t known for its inclusivity. Anything that gets you out into the community, talking about what you do and how you’re different from your competitors is a good idea.
Similarly, you could interview employees from underrepresented backgrounds and share their stories on social media. This gives them a voice, grows their personal/professional brands, and shows you appreciate them. Make sure it feels like an integral part of your business, though. Tokenism certainly isn’t on any DEI best practices list.
Over 75% of job applicants feel a diverse workforce is an important factor when deciding where to work. Being truly inclusive starts with your recruitment process.
A lot of recruiting practices just aren’t all that inclusive. They can be stressful, especially for people who are neurodivergent or who belong to a community more likely to face bias.
People who experience the world differently can lead to new ideas you may never have considered before. Not making your business attractive to them means you’re never going to benefit from those different perspectives.
Instead, you run the risk of groupthink, fewer creative ideas for new products and services, and fewer opportunities to solve problems.
Cognitive diversity enhances team innovation by 20%. Bringing in people from different backgrounds is key to business growth.
Some businesses have started to realize they’re missing out on a very large talent pool and have chosen to do something about it.
For instance, extended interview processes can give candidates the opportunity to show off their unique talents while assessing the employer at the same time.
When managers actively support DEI best practices through their actions, not just their words, it can have an even bigger impact.
That said, open communication is a huge part of any successful business. Holding regular check-ins with employees mean managers can deal with challenges before they arise or turn into something bigger.
They can also learn about other ways the business can be more inclusive and accessible. Obviously, this helps the organization, and the people within it, to grow and further embrace diversity.
Employees who have a greater sense of belonging and inclusion at work report 167% higher eNPS scores.
A strong sense of belonging also results in a 50% lower turnover risk and a 56% increase in job performance.
Employee groups are a powerful way to build these levels of inclusion and belonging.
They empower employees to connect with people who have similar interests or backgrounds to them.
Without these communities, it’s harder for employees to build real relationships with their colleagues, particularly those from other departments in a remote or hybrid business.
Employee groups are easy to set up but can be a challenge to manage. Incorporating some relevant tools can help make them one of the most effective DEI best practices you implement.
Mentoring and sponsorship
Mentoring can be a positive way for someone to find, and lean into, their strengths.
We often don’t realize what or where our own power is, but it can be obvious to other people.
Having a mentor who can nurture our skills and help us grow is a huge part of developing in the workplace. It can go a long way towards speeding up our growth trajectory.
Mentoring and sponsorship also open up opportunities to employees that they may not have otherwise had. It’s one of the time-tested DEI best practices you should definitely have in your toolkit.
Seeing is believing, as the old saying goes. Employees, and outsiders, need to see you being inclusive to believe that you really are.
If you say your business is inclusive and accessible, but your office is on the third floor with no elevator for anyone who can’t use the stairs, it sends a conflicting message that reflects badly on your business.
True inclusivity isn’t about expecting everyone to achieve the same thing with the same resources. It’s about adapting the resources so that everyone can achieve their goals.
Having policies in place to deal with problems before they turn into bigger issues ensures employees know what their rights are when something happens, whether that’s a new pregnancy or a chronic illness flare up.
It also shows candidates and new hires that you take DEI initiatives seriously. You don’t just talk about DEI in your job descriptions as a way to pay lip service to a trending topic or legal requirements.
Even if you’ve never had an employee go through a particular situation—like menopause, for example—while at work, creating a policy in advance means everyone knows how to handle it when it does arise.
This results in less stress because everyone knows where they stand. Plus, you’re not scrambling to put something together to retrospectively fit your needs.
Businesses that implement these DEI best practices are more profitable, have happier employees, and do more good in the world. There’s really no downside to creating a more inclusive business.
So whatever industry you’re in, consider adopting these practices so that your employees know what to expect from you. New recruits will feel more welcomed into your environment, and you get to reap all the business benefits.
If you want to put some supports in place to help you achieve these DEI best practices, consider implementing an inclusive employee experience platform.
For instance, Workrowd makes it easy to manage DEI programs, groups, and events, and enables you to easily track their impact with real-time analytics. If you’re interested in learning more, visit us online or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.