By Jade Bennett.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) has been on the agenda of business leaders for some time now, but the tragic events of 2020 have propelled DE&I into the spotlight faster than anyone could have imagined.
Diversity and Inclusion is now not just something that companies should be considering, for many it’s a question of ethics and social responsibility. As a company Founder and Talent Acquisition Leader, I believe it is not only our professional responsibility, but also our human responsibility to help lead the way in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and society.
So, here are some tips to help kick-start and embed a more diverse, equal and inclusive mindset in your organisation.
Conversations need to be happening at the grassroots level and not just at the top of the organisation; ask yourself, what are we doing to facilitate and encourage open and honest DE&I conversations across the business? Do you have channels in place that allow people to talk freely about this topic?
It is our responsibility to help everyone in the company feel comfortable with having these conversations. It’s also important to make sure that all leaders in the business understand your DE&I strategy, and what the benefits are. Executive alignment is paramount to DE&I success.
Embed diversity, equality & inclusion into your workplace culture
Create a culture where DE&I is employee driven. Engage those who are passionate early on, and they will become your DE&I champions throughout the business. This may start out as a small group, but will snowball as DE&I embeds into your cultural DNA.
Questions you need to consider:
– Have you reviewed your systems and processes?
– Are your team set up to support your DE&I strategy and goals?
– Does everyone feel like they belong within your organisation?
– Are you promoting and rewarding the behaviours that you value and want to encourage?
– Think about your recognition programs; are these systems equitable?
To ensure DE&I is truly part of your culture, review your suppliers, investors and partnerships. Do they align with your values and strategy? If not, it’s probably time to review and invite a broader, more diverse group of suppliers to the table.
Learning & development
We all know that DE&I isn’t simply a ‘one and done’ process. You can’t send people on a Diversity and Inclusion one-off course and hope it sticks. People need ongoing support, learning and development to keep it front of mind. Businesses need to be very intentional and on-the-job coaching and mentoring in functional areas is a great way to do that.
Talent acquisition is at the coalface of executing any DE&I strategy. We need to be really clear about what our goals are, and honest about how our actions align with those goals. We must ask ourselves if we are taking action that shifts the dial toward achieving those goals. If not, we need to take decisive action. One way you can do that is by partnering with a recruitment advisor who shares your values and is aligned with your goals. My team at Middleton Executive are leading the charge to help educate Hiring Managers on why we need diverse teams, and the positive impacts this will have.
From a recruitment perspective, you should be looking at hidden inequalities and biases in your hiring processes and an external pair of eyes will often spot small things that you may have missed. We also need to explore how we can open up our job opportunities to diverse groups who otherwise may not have applied through traditional avenues.
One of the quickest ways we can be more inclusive is to review position descriptions to determine if we are using neutral language, or if we are using language that possibly alienates. Do you have an equity statement on your job ads, position descriptions and company website? Being public about your commitment to DE&I will help to ensure you’re attracting more diverse talent to your business.
Your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs don’t need to be perfect. They are a work in progress and you just need to get started. I personally feel so privileged to be at the coalface of talent acquisition where we have a huge opportunity to really drive change to help lead the way in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and society for all.
If you’d like to discuss or explore any of the points raised in this blog, please reach out to Jade Bennett directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.