Every individual in your company makes up a diverse workforce, whether in gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, marital status, parental status, height, weight, and work style. Cultivating a welcoming environment for everyone and ensuring DEI is integrated into your culture & values is key to making everyone feel a sense of belonging and inclusion, especially when joining your company. A simple act of recognizing holidays and encouraging staff to share their voices goes a long way. Holding leaders accountable to leading inclusively and leveraging the thinking of diverse groups for more innovative ideation and decision making helps employees feel heard and included. But most importantly, employers need to practice empathy and channel the ability to see the world from another person’s point of view throughout the entire employee experience.

General Best Practices

Equity 101: Considerations to Make Workplaces More Equitable

  • Gender issues: wage gaps, traditional gender roles at work, family leave  
  • Possible solutions: Pay remediation, rethinking assignments, creating a robust parental leave policy
  • Issues for employees of color: microaggressions, prove-it-again bias, health disparities
  • Possible solutions: DEIB specific training, providing employees of color with specific info on proper health tests and screenings, educate employees on racial and ethnic disparities and prioritize reducing them
  • Issues for LGBTQIA+ community: discrimination, heteronormative structures and practices
  • Possible solutions: set and enforce policies on LGBTQ+ rights, extend benefits that are LGBTQIA+ friendly, gender-neutral restrooms, pronoun usage
  • Issues for persons with disability: accessibility
  • Possible solutions: build awareness and invest in training, make use of assistive technology, policy revision, hire a professional for accessible office design

General Accessibility Considerations

  • Use assessable fonts (Arial, Comic Sans, Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Tribucet, Calibri, Open Sans size 12 or 14)
  • Use close captioning during virtual meetings
  • Use colors that are accessible for all vision
  • Add alt text on social media postings
  • Ensure applicant forms are truly accessible, I.e., braille, large print, or compatible with screen readers
  • Offer new hires the ability to modify their working arrangements for ease of physical or technical access

The Employee Experience  

Onboarding diverse talent

  1. Review company DEI mission and commitment with all employees 
  2. Include intros from diverse leaders and employees
  3. Connect new hires to DEI employee groups
  4. Continue onboarding after day one
  5. Ensure diverse representation in onboarding collateral  
  6. Provide DEI policies in handbook
  7. Provide DEI trainings for new hires
  8. Give equal exposure to the leadership team by holding cohorts for all  

Cultural awareness  

  1. Recognize holidays of all cultures and be aware when scheduling large meetings and events
  2. Conduct a culture audit and identify the diverse cultures and shared experiences that are represented 
  3. Provide training and resources for staff to increase cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills 
  4. Encourage staff to share information about their own culture, traditions, and customs 
  5. Promote a culture of curiosity, open-mindedness, and empathy 
  6. Do not judge others according to your own cultural frame of reference; practice culture humility
  7. Create affiliations and partnerships with DEI related organizations, non-profits, advocacy groups
  8. Lift human stories from people who identify with an underrepresented group to build empathy  

Inclusive Leadership Representation  

  1. Hold leaders accountable to practicing inclusive leadership, and ensure it’s effectively communicated to the organization  
  2. Encourage one-on-one and skip level meetings 
  3. Target to mirror consumer diversity in all levels of board, executive leadership, etc.
  4. Encourage leadership to join and sponsor affinity organizations  
  5. Acknowledge past harm and efforts to do better

Leading Inclusively

  1. Invite people to the meeting that are not usually there then lift their voices
  2. Facilitate listening sessions
  3. Survey employees regularly on DEI
  4. Publish diversity reports
  5. Understand all preferences for communication and ensure meetings, trainings, and correspondence are accessible for all  
  6. Offer your time and energy to coach an underrepresented future leader
  7. Consider how your background affects the way you show up at work 
  8. Practice empathy and the ability to see the world from another person’s point of view
  9. Rebuild the table so no one has to fit, but rather that their voice is a key part and their perspective is valued 
  10. Understand and value the uniqueness of diverse others while also accepting them as members of the group 
  11. Leverage the thinking of diverse groups for smarter ideation and decision making 

Growing Opportunities & Performing

  1. Provide training, content, and conversations to teach and reinforce the importance of DEI 
  2. Ensure that there is a strong professional development program for both employees and leaders 
  3. Offer mentoring opportunities equally  
  4. Measure diversity career path ratio
  5. Provide stretch and development opportunities and make available to a diverse group of talent
  6. Ensure feedback is not related to personal circumstances/disadvantages
  7. Include a second reviewer for all performance management to ensure team members are being evaluated equally

Retaining Diverse Talent

  1. Train leadership to grow and lead diverse teams  
  2. Conduct regular surveys to assess how employees feel about the company and its performance
  3. Report back and implement learnings from exit interview that should include questions on DEI
  4. Conduct regular 1:1s with a focus on understanding employee interests and desired development; provide support needed to help employees achieve career and development goals  
  5. Post available roles & opportunities internally  
  6. Conduct pulse surveys with team with DEI specific questions  
  7. Ensure policies, processes, and programs offered are equitable and inclusive. Challenge and disrupt norms
  8. Encourage positive conflict and psychological safety
  9. Create employee resource groups or affinity groups

Rewards + Compensation  

  1. Conduct an equal pay assessment; promote and commit to pay equity 
  2. Ensure equitable benefits (I.e., parental leave should be extended to mothers and fathers equally) 
  3. Have transparency around the wage range for various positions 
  4. Audit and review all policies and benefits to ensure LGBTQ+ inclusive

READ: Actions to take to create a community of inclusion

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