Are diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) important to your organization? Are DEI Programs important to your staff?

They should be. Creating a safe and inclusive work environment for everyone—regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation—is not only good business, but also on the right side of history. More and more often, your staff, vendors, partners, and clients are judging you by your commitment to DEI Programs.

That doesn’t mean establishing quotas. It means understanding what metrics are important to your DEI programs & efforts.

Support Your Strategy, Reflect Your Clients

There are no one-size-fits-all metrics when it comes to diversity. Every organization has different diversity goals.

One starting point is to align your metrics to your business strategy. For example, if your business strategy is to tap into additional markets, your workforce needs to reflect those markets. If your organization wants to expand into the Asia-Pacific market, you need representation within your workforce to understand the market and prospective clients. That would align your diversity goals with your business strategy.

Another way to think about diversity is to look at your client base. A company whose clients were primarily working mothers made sure it had working moms in the organization at every level, from front line to senior management. Those employees understood what their customers wanted because many of them were just like them.

Regardless of your markets or clients, understand the current environment: You need to have people of all genders, races, and ethnicities within your workforce.

Compare your organization to others in your industry as well. Your goal should be to exceed the average diversity in your industry to stand out from your competitors.

Remember, the goal is for all employees to feel appreciated and welcome. That goes for job seekers as well: you want potential hires to feel that they’d fit in. As an added bonus for your organization, welcoming a diverse workforce gives you a much larger pool of prospective employees.

Recruit For Diversity

To start, it’s important to define which diversity dimensions you’re going to focus on, understanding your metrics and where the gaps are. You can uncover this information through focus groups, surveys, retention data, and exit interviews—anything that helps you identify the gaps.

The next step is to align your job requirements with your diversity goals. Positions that require graduate degrees, for instance, will exclude those who may not have had the same educational opportunities. Is that education really necessary for the position? Many organizations specify skillsets, rather than education, which expands the candidate pool. Note that Tesla, Apple, Google, and IBM have all moved away from requiring any college degree for many positions, including highly technical ones.

Then, expand your recruiting efforts beyond the usual job boards. Many smaller job boards target more diverse applicants. Contact historically black colleges and
universities (HBCU) and other educational institutions that have a high percentage of minority students. Attend recruiting events that draw diverse audiences.

Add Transparency to DEI Initiatives

Thirty years ago, organizations weren’t transparent about diversity goals and what they should be. Now we understand that open communication is vitally important when it comes to DEI Programs. Everyone needs to understand what’s being measured and what their unconscious biases are. In addition, everyone should understand the business case for diversity and how it affects the bottom line. They should understand that gender and ethnically diverse organizations outperform those that aren’t. Make sure your goals are visible.

Job applicants look at diversity awards and lists of the most diverse organizations in your industry. They look at the employees on your website. They scan social media for hashtags that reflect diversity, such as #LGBTQ.

From both a business and moral/ethical point of view, striving for more diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do, and it benefits everyone.

The Lindenberger Group can help organizations analyze their current corporate culture and build an action plan to improve it. For more information or to discuss your HR needs, please contact us at 609-730-1049 or send us an email.