In 2022, practicing ways to do business in the most ethical, inclusive, and accommodating way starts with committing to DEI.
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Whether you’re recruiting new talent or simply want to build better structures around your existing workforce, DEI initiatives focus on promoting and improving awareness around inclusion at work.
Building a DEI presence at work enables workplaces to consider how they can involve everyone to boost their moral compass, and social responsibility and live by their values. Don’t forget that DEI goals at work don’t have to be big.
Here’s an example: tools like Allybot encourage positive communication by suggesting inclusive language, and spreading the message of inclusivity from the bottom to the top of workplace culture.
What Are DEI Goals At Work?
Goals help us strive for something that we can measure. Without them, we have nothing – if very little – to hold ourselves accountable to.
As we mentioned, they don’t have to be big. These need to be actionable, measurable, and above all, achievable. 35% of HR leaders say that DEI initiatives are among their top five priorities for 2022, with top-down approaches being the main types of goals set.
Examples of DEI goals
- A more diverse workforce (%): Mozilla committed itself to double the percentage of Black and Latinx representation of its 1,000-person U.S. staff
- Creating a DEI Committee: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) developed a board of individuals to enact and monitor diversity and inclusion measures.
- Diversity and Inclusion Training Goals: Allybot helps foster inclusive language to support training and development in a company’s workforce
- Investing in external DEI initiatives: Adidas committed to funding causes that fight to end racial injustices to the sum of $120 million between now and 2025
It’s important because teams deserve to feel included. Building allyship in the workplace encourages productivity, a feeling of belonging, and creates transparency by inciting conversations about power dynamics and how to support under-served communities.
Did you know that Millennials are 87% more likely to feel engaged at work at inclusive companies?
DEI goals are important because they impact these key things in the workplace
Here are some benefits setting DEI goals can bring.
Productivity stands as the number one measure of employee engagement. Subtle biases can have disastrous costs. Whilst often undetectable, microaggressions often dismantle employee engagement. Facing up to microaggressions at work can be costly to someone’s time and energy.
These situations can’t be managed in isolation, and as a result, they can go undetected. Companies need to get to the bottom of a lack of productivity – because there are several reasons why productivity might be low, it’s best to focus on boosting it.
The impact of poor DEI initiatives creates barriers in employee work relations. Unresolved disputes between team members can feel easily extinguishable with good conflict management, but you may just be managing the symptoms of a poorly structured, imbalanced workplace.
Under-served communities may face prejudice and discrimination, leading to hostilities that will only get more difficult to resolve.
Sense of workplace belonging
High productivity, healthy work relations, and employee satisfaction are all synonymous with feeling like you belong. Feeling a sense of belonging in the workplace is positively impacted by these.
When someone doesn’t feel like they belong, they question whether it’s the right place for them. When a workplace leaves someone feeling doubtful, that’s when you need to consider setting up DEI goals.
When setting out adequate goals, you should leave your employees feeling like you’re considerate of the wants and needs of your workforce.
DEI Goals Best Practices
Define a key set of achievable goals
DEI goals need to build up those who are directly under-served. For a lasting and meaningful impact, they need to be short-term and long-term.
This is because all bases need to be covered – from senior management to those more junior. To be achieved, they need to be agile, actively worked on, and relevant to your business.
For example, Citi Bank set a goal to increase Black and female representation, to address an imbalance in leadership they currently have.
Define your KPIs
Once you’ve identified what your DEI goals are, you need to add in figures. To follow our previous example, Citi Bank wants to increase Black and female representation in leadership by 40%.
Their target in 2018 was 37%. They hit this target, so they increased it to continue their work in building up a Black and female presence in their leadership team.
Get leadership buy-in
Getting senior figures in the company to back your DEI goals incentivizes the workforce to trust that these are actively being worked on and aren’t empty promises. Also, consider the power that these figureheads have in driving these. There’s a lot of influence these people have!
Communicate your DEI goals and initiatives
Getting the entire workforce involved encourages conversations around why they’re needed to begin with.
And they also hold you accountable to them. If they’re kept secret, no one will be asking for results, because they don’t know they exist. You want to keep people engaged as much as you can; you don’t want productivity levels to drop off because your employees don’t know the excellent work you’re doing.
Hold regular surveys to gauge progress
Being involved with your DEI goals means continuously putting in the effort to progress them. Opinions, feelings, and perceptions all need to be considered when determining impact. DEI objectives are more than defining facts and figures – it’s about small changes in how people view these.
Try building out surveys and pair these against demographic and employee metrics to find patterns. Where do you need to improve? Where do you need to add more effort?
Implement a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination
It’s not just boosting the positives but addressing the negatives. So set a precedence in your company.
Deterring behavior that negatively impacts your employees will only boost morale because you’re offering a layer of protection for those who’re under-served. Drawing a clear line between what is, and what isn’t acceptable in the workplace eliminates any ambiguity on what constitutes negative anti-social behavior.
Assess and benchmark results
Goals need targets – just how effective are you in building your best practices? Just like Citi Bank in our earlier example, changing and assessing results is part of being responsive to changing norms and expectations.
Your observations may have been different from what you expected at the beginning. Also, look beyond your company to see what the competition is doing. What benchmark can you set from what you perceive on the outside?
Lead your DEI initiatives
There are many initiatives you can create that make a huge impact on how you do business at your workplace.
It’s important to always bring it back to the under-served people you’re conducting DEI changes for. Make it purpose-driven. Create a sense of true belonging. Building a healthy workforce that’s wholly capable of creating space for minorities, and celebrating differences, is proven to make a company more profitable, productive, and highly commendable.