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How To Craft Actionable DEI Policies

It’s hard to deny all the benefits that come when you have a thriving DEI program. For instance, DEI is associated with higher recruitment and retention rates. According to Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers want to work at companies with diverse workforces. Having DEI initiatives in place helps you keep top performers engaged for the long haul.

Yet crafting a DEI policy isn’t a cut-and-dry proposition. Like so many other strategies, DEI can fall flat if it doesn’t have any support. And a DEI program that’s all talk and no action isn’t a good look for your organization.

This makes it imperative for you to come up with ways to ensure your DEI seeds take root. You can start by remembering some of the DEI-creation best practices outlined below.

1. Ensure you have visible, active DEI champions at the top.

No DEI program can gain traction without encouragement from executives. After all, executives and upper managers set the tone. As Gallup asserts, “A leader’s active, visible role in DEI efforts conveys the company’s values, sets an example for employees, and helps sustain momentum.”

Don’t just assume that all your C-suite players will be onboard with DEI immediately. Many might like the idea of a more inclusive, diverse culture but not recognize the importance of their input. Help them understand how you want them to model your expected DEI efforts. For example, you might ask them to mentor employees from underrepresented groups to increase those workers’ promotability.

2. Fold DEI into the candidate experience.

It’s impossible to become more diverse as a company without folding DEI elements into your hiring processes. As talent acquisition partner OSI Engineering notes, the way to increase the diversity of your talent pipeline is by widening your sourcing pools, as well as offering both flex and remote work. Apprenticeships, especially in fields like tech, open doors for more job seekers without degrees.

Once applicants begin the process, remove all bias from the evaluation process. Standardizing all interview questions can be a great start. While you still want to hire for the best fit, you can’t afford to let unconscious biases thwart your DEI goals.

3. Set measurable targets for your DEI objectives.

The broader objective for all business’s DEI campaigns is to construct a more diverse, inclusive culture. However, you need to know whether or not you’re going in the right direction. Having KPIs in place enables you to track your successes and identify obstacles.

If you’re not sure which metrics to keep tabs on, you have a few possibilities to consider. Take the demographic makeup of your personnel, for instance. Yes, 20% of your workforce may represent minority groups such as people of color or individuals with disabilities. But what if all of them are in entry-level positions with little chance of moving upward? In that case, you don’t and can’t have representation at all levels. Other measurements to help quantify DEI include employee satisfaction surveys and vendor diversity breakdowns.

4. Learn from others’ DEI triumphs and stumbles.

A good way to keep getting stronger with your DEI measures is to keep tabs on other companies. Knowing what’s working under the DEI umbrella at organizations inside and outside your industry matters. Not only will you gain insight and prompt ideas, but you’ll be able to avoid pitfalls.

As you learn, be sure to continue tweaking the role DEI plays in your business. DEI is an ever-changing process. What works this year might not have the same impact next year. Stay open to growing your DEI as needed. Setting up an internal DEI committee can be a huge resource. That way, you’ll have a group that’s tasked with making sure your DEI is at the leading edge of transformative change.

5. Avail yourself of DEI resources.

Still not sure you have everything you need to launch a full-scale DEI campaign or set DEI policies? That’s where resources come in handy. From consultants to DIY-style DEI kits, there’s no dearth of information available. You just have to look for something that’s going to fit with your DEI vision and mission.

DiversityInc is a well-respected starting point, as is CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. The former provides plenty of solutions, including connections with other leaders and brand partners. The latter is a coalition with opportunities for peer-to-peer discussions and mentorships. As you meet other founders, owners, and directors spearheading DEI plans, continue collecting information and resources.

Your DEI policy won’t write or maintain itself. Nevertheless, the process to bring it to life doesn’t need to be daunting. By mapping out your approach, you can become a leader in the DEI movement in your industry — and perhaps beyond.

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