Workzinga was represented at the SHRM 2022 Inclusion Conference in San Diego, California, by DEI strategist and IO psychologist Dejannae Lang as part of the company’s commitment to employee professional development. Boosting employee skills is advantageous for both the organization and the individual employee. Similarly, maintaining a constant pulse on workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion positively influences human capital and overall organizational success.
“If diversity is the noun, then belonging and inclusion are the verbs that make it happen.” – Riia O’Donnell
Five key takeaways from the conference:
- Hire with intention
- Actions speak louder than words
- Sprinkle DEI on everything
- Understanding the maturity index
- Inclusion today, retention tomorrow
Hire with Intention
Intentional hiring and helping employers efficiently adopt DEI strategies were the unofficial themes of the conference. An organization must hire for diversity and actively promote a culture of equity and belonging. This focus ensures employees perform to their maximum potential. The caveat is that employees will only perform to their full potential once they feel part of something and that their ideas are valued.
Did you know that less than half of organizations reported having a strategic diversity plan? Even though this is essential in creating the organizational alignment needed to bring about change. Despite the business executives addressing employee interest in DEI, they still need to prioritize it.
Actions, Not Just Words
Representation is essential. According to the 2022 Women CEOs in America Report, only 44 women and 6 Black CEOs are leading Fortune 500 companies. So when powerhouse Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall opened the morning session of Day one, equity was on display. DEI implementation is challenging, and listening to the first African American female CEO in the NBA, the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, raised the stakes for upcoming African American and female DEI practitioners.
Organizations must take intentional, actionable steps to produce change through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Only 50% of those surveyed claimed to have a DEI mission statement, despite 63% of businesses indicating they hosted DEI-related gatherings and conversations. Anyone can release announcements in the height of social unrest or roll out diversity calendars on social media to fall in line with the current trend surrounding DEI. However, an organization must invest in resources and follow through with implementation to ensure sustainable success.
Sprinkle DEI On Everything
Laquenta Jacobs, Chief Diversity Officer at XPO Logistics, set Day 2 of the conference a blaze, proclaiming that “like hot sauce, DEI needs to be sprinkled on everything.” The importance of embedding equity and inclusion initiatives throughout an organization is understood. Yet, many companies still need help with how and where to apply these strategies.
Companies can hire a DEI strategist and audit current business strategies to determine where and how they can best implement DEI initiatives. Contributing diverse ideas, viewpoints, and experiences to your organization are just a few advantages. Still, other downstream effects of strong DEI initiatives result in higher employee engagement, trust, and job satisfaction.
Understanding Your Organization’s Maturity
The Hershey Company’s Chief Diversity Officer, Alicia Petross, reminded us that managing DEI is like hosting a Thanksgiving meal; some guests are only there for the food, while others want to discuss the recipes. Organizations must understand where it falls on the maturity index. Too many lofty goals can make it tough to carry out efforts. Keep it simple and intentional, and celebrate the small wins of progress.
Inclusion Today, Retention Tomorrow
Research has shown the benefits of incorporating DEI principles into business decisions. According to McKinsey, organizations with ethnic and cultural diversity are 36% more profitable. Diversity is good for a company’s bottom line. On the other hand, we understand that there are ramifications for companies that need to take intentional steps around diversity, equity, and inclusion. The indirect costs of turnover, low productivity, lost knowledge and experiences, broken customer relationships, and an overall loss in employee engagement and morale are additional repercussions when firms do not foster a sense of inclusion or belonging.
Inclusion22 addressed DEI-related obstacles, trends, and solutions. One thing for sure is that we all have an inherent bias. Businesses must arm themselves with the necessary resources and tools to effectively manage business strategies. Companies need an objective solution to decrease bias while interviewing and hiring to ascertain how well they align with the organizational culture. Workzinga’s Culture Alignment Assessment measures 26 unique characteristics specific to the workplace to assist firms in achieving this objective and advancing the cause of workplace inclusion.