Nearly every company, particularly upper leadership, discusses diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But building it naturally into your workplace culture is the responsibility of every employee, from top to bottom.
While shaping workplace culture does start at the top, if lower-level managers and even entry-level employees don’t follow suit, your efforts won’t be as successful.
Furthermore, building DEI into your culture naturally will also provide more long-lasting positive results over trying to force those policies immediately, especially if your organization has many changes.
Know that Change Takes Time
First, it’s essential to understand that building DEI into the core of your company culture takes time. While you may be itching to see immediate results, know that meaningful change takes time. And anything good is worth doing right, so remind everyone that as you make changes, actual results will take time. Be upfront that the impact of your DEI initiatives won’t be felt immediately throughout the organization. You’ll need to set expectations early and encourage your team to be patient. DEI is often life-long work and is about moving the needle gradually over time for lasting results.
Now, let’s look at five tips to help you build DEI more naturally into your workplace culture.
ID Pain Points
We know it can be exciting to immediately jump into something that brings about positive changes. But before you dive right in, take time to identify and assess organizational pain points. Dig into the details and learn where your organization lacks diversity in leadership and where your organization could be more equitable and inclusive. Once you have a fuller picture of what needs changing, you’ll be able to set the right goals to enact real change. Start by looking at your HR data and then run a DEI survey of your employees later. A survey may help you identify pain points that weren’t readily identifiable through HR data but are known to employees.
Keeping DEI top of mind for employees is crucial, so encourage them to learn more about pressing societal and workplace issues by giving them access to robust resources. One way to do this would be to send out a weekly or monthly email containing articles on trending DEI topics that can educate and guide employees. Your organization should also provide bias training to encourage more open dialogue around bias and privilege. Also, regularly talking about DEI as an organization can help reduce people’s discomfort around those hot topics and create more accountability at all levels of the company.
Build Leadership Buy-In
Getting leadership on board is critical in naturally building DEI into your company culture. For those on the fence, make things more personal by asking “why” questions, such as, “Why is DEI important to you personally?” Having leadership understand why DEI is important to them, the company can create an excellent foundation to build on because it creates an emotional connection that gains their long-term support.
And if leadership begins to stray off the path, always come back to the why.
Act on Employee Feedback
Don’t ignore employee feedback. If someone at the company brings an issue to your attention:
- Acknowledge their concerns
- Make a plan or goal to address the issue
- Let employees know what you are doing to address the problem
- Keep team members engaged in the process and check in with them to measure progress
Hire for Culture
One of the biggest pain points for organizations regarding DEI is the hiring process. The inherent problem in the current recruiting process is the concept of hiring for a resume. We place so much focus on hard skills, experience, and education that it just becomes a box we check in HR. It can also make us believe that we are hiring the best candidate, but that may often not be the case. And then, when it’s time to hire, we keep going back to the same criteria, even if it didn’t work out for us the first, second, or third time.
Hiring this way also is not how you promote diversity!
At Workzinga, we believe there is a better way to make hiring decisions that end the constant hiring loop insanity and can support your DEI practices. That is why we created the Culture Fit Assessment.
With these solutions, you can objectively identify candidates you might have otherwise screened out of your process. This is because you are no longer looking exclusively at hard skills but other unique qualities that candidates bring to the table, such as organization, leadership, and communication skills!
Work is more than just completing daily tasks. It is about a group of people coming together to solve and overcome company and industry challenges. And when you have a more diverse team and make them feel included in the organization, you’ll see excellent benefits at all levels of the company, including more creative and better ideas and better overall employee well-being and satisfaction.
Hiring for culture improves your company’s bottom line and the lives of your employees. Promoting DEI by hiring for culture is a win-win for everyone!