Getting started with a DEIB strategy: Your first 90 days and beyond
July 9, 2021
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) has become a critical area of responsibility in everyday life, and the workplace certainly isn’t exempt. When done right, DEIB is a business differentiator that reflects total alignment between what you say and what you do as an employer. Companies that prioritize inclusion see the benefits through increased engagement and innovation brought forth by every employee. In fact, businesses with a higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues, according to a Harvard Business Review study.
With all that said, you may be wondering: How do you position DEIB as a top priority in your first 90 days as a talent acquisition (TA) leader?
While you’re busy identifying goals, objectives and the appropriate tech stack, addressing gaps in diversity is also mission-critical to attracting and retaining top talent. Here’s why: DEIB should be incorporated as a mindset into all activities, rather than siloed as a one-off initiative. And it starts with your culture. Let’s jump in.
First and foremost, understand DEIB is not about ticking a box by publishing a diversity and inclusion policy on your website. It starts with examining your company values and ensuring DEIB is considered within those values and in everything you do. For TA, this means from the first to the final touchpoint a candidate and employee experiences with you.
For example, if your mission is helping the world create a brighter future with technology, how can you add diversity initiatives that speak to furthering your mission? You may look to supporting a grassroots fundraiser that donates laptops to underrepresented students who can’t afford them or creating a shortlist of potential membership organizations to partner with to make the most impact. Intention here is powerful.
Also, think critically about how your existing processes may be excluding valuable talent and opening the floor to welcome all opinions. People will be your greatest asset toward championing diversity in your organization.
Ask yourself some groundwork questions that uphold your mission during each step of the candidate journey, such as:
- How are you making potential candidates feel like they’d be welcome at your company? - Are you using technology that uses gender-neutral language on job postings?
- Are you communicating with a talent community and nurturing candidates even if they aren’t ready to apply right now?
- Have you taken action to reduce bias during the hiring process such as building scorecards directly into hiring platforms?
- Do you utilize automation technology to create a more high-touch experience for potential candidates via email?
- Are you using chatbot pre-screening to speed up the hiring process and hire the best possible talent?
- Are you regularly conducting candidate experience surveys for feedback?
- What’s the rate of referrals you’re getting from employees?
Of course, your approach will differ depending on your business model. What’s important is putting together a plan and being willing to listen, reflect and implement positive changes for every step of the TA function. Regardless of job title, department or location, all employees must be involved and empowered to have a say for an inclusive culture to truly take shape.
It pays to be inclusive!
We conducted a DEIB impact survey across the globe that gauged how DEIB is viewed at organizations. On a scale of 1-100, respondents gave a 76 average score when asked to rate whether they agree that diversity is key to fostering innovation. This shows promise that diversity is looked at as a key contributor to business innovation.
Implementing DEIB effectively: Here’s how to start
You don’t need an unlimited budget or a flawless strategy to do DEIB well – you just need to listen to your people. Use this checklist to get you off and running on the right foot.
Make diversity a board-level agenda item so it’s always top of mind for upper-level management. A top-down approach to inclusivity is important for its success. Think involvement, not endorsement here – encourage executives to actively listen to employees’ concerns in order to champion real change.
Measure diversity stats on an ongoing basis. You cannot improve what you don’t measure. Conduct internal anonymous surveys regularly to ask employees if they feel included, and where areas of improvement can be identified.
Collaborate on a website page or career page. List a timeline of accomplishments and intentional action items around fostering a more diverse workplace. Employee testimonials go a long way here.
Utilize a diverse interview panel for new hires. Having an impartial group to screen incoming hires helps minimize bias. Such a group can advocate for a candidate that may have been overlooked inadvertently.
Add pronouns to email signatures and meeting agendas. Implementing a spot for people to self-identify is a small gesture that makes a big impact on inclusivity. Also, reach out to your leaders and encourage them during meetings to start with everyone giving a small introduction and their preferred pronouns so everyone feels properly addressed and respected.
Create employee resource groups (ERGs). Having employee-led belonging groups supports collaboration and allyship within your organization. This forum allows employees to build rapport and fosters a sense of everyday belonging that happens naturally.
As a TA leader, it’s important to remember diversity isn’t “accomplished” in a day or even a year. Approaching DEIB as a mindset that you incorporate into everything you do – your first 90 days and beyond – lays a strong foundation for success in the long term.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a more diverse workplace, let’s talk. We’ve been consulting with clients for years on hiring and retaining diverse candidates, including creating diversity scorecards and crafting diversity sourcing strategies.
Gillisa Pope is a senior member of WilsonHCG’s innovation team. As director of sourcing strategy, she melds creative ideas, analytics and best practices to design and action impactful sourcing solutions. An expert in employment branding, Gillisa is also part of the team that produces WilsonHCG’s award-winning annual Fortune 500 employment brand report. She has over 15 years of experience in designing and building talent attraction strategies for some of the world’s most admired brands.