Only 53% of employees believe their employer is meeting its diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Simply establishing DEI initiatives doesn’t make for a more diverse, equal, and inclusive team. To make a real impact, sustainable change needs to manifest into tangible and measurable results.
Culture Is Critical: Much of what drives sustainable DEI involves understanding your culture. We continue our DEI efforts through opportunities for continued dialogue and discussion sessions led by our employee resource groups (ERGs). Diversity is part of our daily function because we provide a means through which diverse groups can create their own cultural community while engaging with the community at large.
It’s clear that DEI drives business results, so make sure you’re starting by setting relevant business goals. What do you hope to achieve through having diverse employees more engaged in their work? How will it increase sales and drive customer retention or reduce costs?
Establish a baseline of your business objectives, then set some goals, just as you would with any other change initiative. That will inform how you determine where to invest in making that change a reality beyond training or hiring goals.
Don’t Let Metrics Fool You: Hiring and sourcing from a diverse talent pool is important, but we need to look deeper into the metrics. Beyond leadership, what do your teams look like? Companies also need to measure self-identification and give people the space to define and bring their authentic selves to work.
In a recent survey, 80% of the employees said they feel a sense of belonging and feel comfortable being their authentic selves at work, while nearly 90% feel they’re treated fairly. That’s a huge testament to the effectiveness of our DEI focus, and it manifests in high retention and low turnover.
Moving forward by focusing on change: Companies must find ways to measure the outcomes, not just the incremental efforts to get to their goals. Sometimes that will mean having a hard, uncomfortable conversation about culture. Lean towards it, and don’t settle for DEI strategies that don’t result in deeper change.
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