7 Ways to Create and Implement a DEI Strategy in the Workplace

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Implementing a DEI strategy in the workplace is vital to ensuring fair and equitable recruiting and hiring practices and to building a successful organization. Learn more about the benefits and best practices of creating a DEI strategy.
Published on
April 30, 2024
Updated on
May 8, 2024

Taking steps to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, in the workplace can offer lasting benefits for companies. The successful implementation of a DEI strategy improves employee job satisfaction, increases innovation, and improves the company’s overall reputation. This article covers what a DEI strategy is, its benefits, and the best practices for effective application.

What Is a DEI Strategy?

A DEI strategy is a plan that shapes company culture by encouraging a workplace environment rooted in respect and empathy. Companies must tailor their DEI strategies to fit their specific needs. While executive teams and the HR department may build the DEI strategy, all staff members must uphold it.

DEI strategies break down into three distinct parts:

  • Diversity: Diversity refers to more than just people of color. Diversity covers a range of differences in the workplace regarding gender, age, sexual orientation, and race. DEI policies work to celebrate uniqueness and bring together employees with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to cultivate a more innovative and effective environment.
  • Equity: Equity promotes employee development, ensuring equal opportunities, fair treatment, and sufficient employee resources. This aspect of a DEI strategy recognizes each individual's unique situation and provides them with the help and opportunities needed to succeed in their role.
  • Inclusion: Inclusion represents management's efforts to make each individual employee feel valued. Policies focusing on inclusion ensure that all employees feel comfortable contributing, leading to a more productive workplace.

The successful implementation of a DEI business strategy will depend on multiple factors. Management must determine the current state of the DEI in the organization, set achievable goals to improve the workplace, and develop policies to allow the company to reach those goals. DEI in the workplace can improve through hiring, training, and career development.

DEIB vs. DEI

Some companies use DEI and DEIB interchangeably. However, there is a distinction between the two. While both acronyms cover Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the “B” in DEIB stands for Belonging. The addition of Belonging reflects the company’s commitment to championing a company where every employee feels a personal connection to the company and has positive feelings and a sense of belonging. DEIB policies convey to employees that the purpose of these strategic plans is not only to increase diversity and fair practices in the company but also that there is a commitment to their feelings of acceptance and security in the workplace.

Benefits of Implementing a DEI Strategy in the Workplace

Adopting a diversity strategy will strengthen company culture, empower employees, and encourage social responsibility in the workplace. Employees from all backgrounds will feel more comfortable working as DEI policies reduce the risk of harassment, discrimination, and unfair treatment. A safer work environment will, in turn, increase employee job satisfaction, motivation, and overall performance.

Successful integration of DEI policies also contributes to company growth and profits. More diversity leads to innovative ideas and the ability to reach new markets. Customer bases will expand, and trust will strengthen with companies that focus on aligning with social values.

Expanded Talent Pool

Unconscious biases and inequities often affect hiring, causing businesses to limit their potential for top talent. Organizations that implement a successful inclusion strategy and eliminate discriminatory practices in the hiring process open up opportunities for employees with various backgrounds and skill sets. As DEI recruitment efforts take hold, current employees can expand the diverse talent pool further past the confines of a LinkedIn search through referrals and recommendations.

Better Innovation

Multicultural teams of individuals with diverse perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, and skill sets result in better innovation. Employees with different ideas will feel empowered when challenges emerge and come together to find new creative angles and solutions due to their unique experiences and insights. Inclusive team environments focused on respect will also encourage collaboration.

Improved Employee Retention

Businesses that emphasize creating an inclusive culture where all employees feel valued significantly improve employee retention. Employees will have higher job satisfaction and motivation by integrating multiple DEI strategies that ensure equal opportunities and fair treatment for all staff members. DEI teams and workplaces also often lead to employees who are more comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives, leading to better communication and less turnover.

Brand Reputation

Companies with goals incorporating DEI project strong values to their customer base. More and more customers are seeking businesses that align with their values, choosing to trust socially responsible companies. Businesses focusing on DEI objectives foster a positive brand image and better represent a large and diverse customer base. Businesses with effective DEI strategies will often receive positive press and media recognition.

7 DEI Best Practices to Create an Inclusive Workplace

Achieving DEI in the workplace is challenging without proper implementation. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to DEI. Organizations must follow various diversity and inclusion best practices to build a unique and effective foundation for their company.

An effective DEI strategy covers hiring procedures and training programs. Companies can use these seven DEI best practices to create a more inclusive workplace.

1. Establish DEI goals

Before developing a DEI roadmap, companies must assess their staff demographics. As McKinsey has noted, leadership can use this baseline data to identify areas needing improvement and ways to improve the organization’s culture. DEI goals should be specific to the needs of a company and will vary depending on the challenges individual companies face. Examples of some DEI goals include:

  • Increasing staff diversity by a specific percentage over a definite time
  • Improve equitable pay and promotion practices
  • Implement inclusive leadership training
  • Curtail biases and prejudices in the recruitment process
  • Commit to regular diversity and inclusion strategy reviews

Identifying weaknesses in company culture and creating actionable goals will provide a clear path toward an inclusive workplace.

2. Determine Measurement Metrics

Effectively determining if a company is meeting DEI goals requires a mix of qualitative and quantitative measurements. Quantitative analysis refers to numerical and statistical data that leadership can use to determine the current and projected states of DEI within the company. Data derived from recruitment trends, promotions, employee retention, and pay equity analysis assists in determining if the company is consistently meeting its goals.

Qualitative data also provides insights into an organization's progress in meeting DEI benchmarks. Qualitative data comes from the experiences, opinions, and perceptions of a company's workforce. Leadership can attain these insights through employee interviews, surveys, focus groups, exit interviews, and feedback from DEI training programs.

3. Secure Leadership Commitment

For a company’s culture to change in favor of DEI, the organization’s C-suite executives need to buy in. Leadership commitment requires more than acknowledging DEI objectives from those at the highest level of an organization. They must actively work to meet the goals put in place to build united DEI efforts.

Company leadership sets the tone for the rest of the staff. Their enthusiasm for a company culture that focuses on respect and inclusivity will influence the rest of the employees, messaging them to carry on a culture of inclusivity. Leadership must also decide how to implement the policies and determine the necessary resources to ensure their effectiveness.

4. Adopt Diverse Hiring Practices

Meeting DEI objectives starts with adopting talent acquisition and hiring practices that facilitate building a diverse and inclusive staff. Often, companies need to expand and update their recruitment processes to reach a broader range of candidates.

Organizations must implement unbiased recruiting strategies to ensure that candidates from various backgrounds, such as genders, sexual orientations, and ethnicities, have equal opportunities. To establish fair recruitment, companies can implement DEI practices such as writing inclusive job descriptions, hiring based on skill sets over indicators such as work experience, and using diverse hiring panels to minimize prejudices. 

5. Implement DEI Onboarding and Training Programs

Implementing DEI into onboarding programs is vital for cultivating an inclusive workplace from the start of an employee’s journey. When new hires join a DEI team, onboarding that highlights aspects such as the importance of DEI initiatives and employee resource groups, or ERGs, shows the organization’s commitment to these values. New employees will learn about the company’s policies, goals, and expectations regarding DEI, paving the way for a respectful work environment.

Existing employees should also attend DEI trainings to improve company culture. Training should cover various topics such as inclusive language and communication, unconscious bias, responding to discrimination and harassment, and cultural competency. Continued programs to improve company DEI values establish a welcoming atmosphere for all staff.

6. Promote Diverse Leaders

Providing opportunities for and promoting employees from various backgrounds will significantly impact an organization's culture and decision-making. A diverse leadership reflects a company's values, demonstrating that career growth is attainable for underrepresented groups and motivating staff. Diverse leadership teams also draw on a wealth of unique perspectives, which fosters well-rounded decision-making.

Companies with diverse leadership also boost the organization's reputation. Stakeholders, customers, and potential talent will view the company as a socially responsible employer with progressive objectives, which will cultivate success.

7. Review and Adjust the Strategy

After a DEI strategy is in place, leadership must regularly ensure that the approach is effective and relevant. Implementing DEI policies should be considered a continuous process that requires reviews and adjustments that respond to the company's needs.

Analyzing the qualitative and quantitative metrics will reveal progress toward DEI goals. Regular reviews will help determine which objectives need more resources or focus. Business leaders may also need to alter the initial goals to respond to new challenges that may have been previously overlooked or unknown.

What Resources Are Needed?

DEI strategies benefit companies but can require a significant investment in resources. Leadership and the HR department must spend considerable time planning and implementing strategies tailored to their specific company. Employees will also need to put in time to complete training and development programs.

Financial resources are also essential for DEI policies to take effect. The creation and application of training and development programs that address areas such as cultural competency and inclusive leadership will require financial backing. An expansion of diversity recruitment efforts will also require funding. Proper measurement is vital to ensure the adequate implementation of DEI strategies. Companies may need to commit to further spending on data analysis software, tools, and professional data scientists to measure DEI goals.

Measuring DEI Goals

To establish effective DEI policies, the progress must be measurable. Determining quantitative and qualitative metrics that provide clear data will ease the implementation of the DEI strategy and allow leadership to review the data and make necessary adjustments. These metrics may take multiple forms, such as:

  • Hiring data: Hiring data shows how effectively companies attract and hire talent from diverse backgrounds. Leadership can use this data to identify biases that may hamper DEI initiatives at work.
  • Employee demographics: An overview of employee demographics may include data such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and age percentages in an organization. Analyzing diversity data among staff is vital for reaching DEI objectives.
  • Equal pay analysis: Equal pay analysis compares employees' salaries and bonuses while considering factors such as role, experience, and performance. This analysis makes it easy for management to identify any disparities in pay between demographics.
  • Retention rates: Retention rates can improve understanding of how well policies work. Higher retention rates amongst underrepresented groups suggest a supportive and respectful work environment.
  • Employee surveys: Understanding employee feedback provides insights into the effectiveness of DEI policies. Employee surveys can shed light on job satisfaction, employee engagement, perceived fairness, and leadership commitment.

Achieving DEI goals depends mainly on the ability to measure the progress and results. Determining specific qualitative and quantitative metrics for each goal is the best way to ascertain the success of a DEI framework.

Build Diverse and Inclusive Teams With Revelo

Building an inclusive culture through a DEI strategy can lead to better employee retention and a strong brand reputation. Meeting DEI goals begins with hiring a diverse workforce, which can be challenging for some companies. However, it can help to work with a talent agency like Revelo to meet these challenges.

Revelo can help you meet diversity and inclusion objectives using our vast talent pool of pre-vetted candidates. Using our Latin America-based developers can help your company implement DEI within software engineering teams. These highly skilled and proficient developers work in time zones aligned to U.S. working hours. Revelo eases the hiring process by handling onboarding tasks, such as payroll, taxes, benefits administration, and local compliance. Support throughout the developer’s tenure with the company is also available to ensure engagement and retention.

Connect with Revelo and find talented developers to improve your company’s DEI strategy.

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