As diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) increasingly become a priority for companies, some executives are coming to the realization that putting effective DEI programs into practice is easier said than done. However, companies can no longer afford to miss out on DEI. Diversifying your workforce brings a wealth of advantages that help to maximize your output and ensure that you stay at the forefront of innovation. It also means giving every qualified candidate equal consideration for both hiring and promotion and creating a work environment that is supportive of all staff.
Some companies are still uncertain about how best to develop and implement their strategies, and this can cause them to introduce limited, outdated and ultimately ineffective methods that can keep them from reaching their goals. Keep reading to learn how best to promote DEI in your workplace and how Beacon Hill can help you achieve your company's goals.
How does increasing DEI help your workplace?
The benefits of a more diverse workforce are fundamental. A 2020 Staffing Industry Analysts report noted that "a large body of research from academics and researchers, including McKinsey, Harvard Business Review (HBR) and many others, links diversity and inclusion among employed workers with strong business outcomes." When companies recruit primarily from a single demographic, they necessarily narrow the source of new ideas they can draw from. By maximizing the number of perspectives, experiences and viewpoints at your company, you also increase the creative output of your workforce and ensure that your company will continue to be a center for innovation and ingenuity.
By demonstrating that you value the contributions of your diverse employees, you help to create a more welcoming work environment which will help boost retention and continue to attract high-quality talent from the broadest range of backgrounds.
Implementing an effective DEI strategy
While 28% of companies have embraced the need for a more diverse workforce, the majority simply lack the tools and expertise needed to actually put the policies in place to make it a reality. According to Eileen Vega-Lamboy, Beacon Hill Regional Director for Legal and Legal Managed Review and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Committee Member, DEI leaders emphasize the importance of implementing a strategy that is intentional and impactful, not just one that looks good on the surface. Companies shouldn't just strive to tick off some demographic boxes and leave it at that; they need to initiate a conscious shift toward greater DEI.
Is your policy working?
How do you measure impact? Once you've committed yourself to hiring more diverse employees, you should survey employees to better understand how they feel in the work environment you've created. It's important to ensure that they feel a sense of pride and belonging at your company, and that they believe there are genuine opportunities for career growth. While most diverse employees may respond positively to your approach, you need to ensure that all diverse employees feel the impact.
While surveys shed insight and provide some quantitative results, it's crucial to have an analytical system in place for assessing the effectiveness of your DEI programs to ensure that the data reinforce what your employees are saying. According to Vega-Lamboy, one of the most common and effective tools used in the DEI space to track diversity is Key Performance Indicators (KPI). According to KPI.org, a well-designed KPI uses data-driven performance metrics to not only help you outline diversity targets and identify where your organization is lacking, but also to keep you on track toward achieving your objectives. Examples of KPIs for DEI initiatives include tracking the percentage of new hires who are part of diverse groups, as well as tracking the career paths of those in diverse groups and comparing that to the overall population. Are new hires all given the same opportunity to ascend to leadership positions within your company, or are you finding that some groups are statistically more likely to advance than others? Whatever measures your organization puts in place, the results of cultivating a diverse workforce are clear: one recent study found that organizations who are leaders in the DEI space are 25% more likely to receive a high ROI from their contingent workforce, compared to organizations that have yet to implement DEI strategies.
Obstacles you'll want to avoid
As with any important policy change, there are pitfalls you'll want to avoid to keep from slipping back into bad habits. One of the most common mistakes companies make when trying to prioritize DEI is focusing too much on checking specific boxes and forgetting that the real goal is to make their workplaces genuinely inclusive of all backgrounds. This can create a sense of apathy - or worse, resentment and disillusionment - among your diverse employees, causing a drop in retention rates and sending you back to square one.
To avoid this, you'll need to move beyond surface-level approaches and take more meaningful steps to create an inclusive workplace. Diversifying leadership positions is a critical step to take because it helps ensure that DEI remains at the top of your company's agenda and that your strategies have real impact. More than that, diversifying your company's leadership will demonstrate to employees and potential candidates that you offer an inclusive workplace that provides real opportunities for growth and progression.
As we note in our article, The foundational importance of diversity at Beacon Hill, diversity can be represented by much more than age, sex, and ethnicity, three widely reported-on demographic data points. It is important to develop a company culture that supports disability status, armed services veterans, gender identity, and sexual orientation, to name a few lesser-reported demographic characteristics.
How can Beacon Hill help?
As a leading staffing agency, Beacon Hill can play a central role in this process. We have a highly trained and professional team committed to best DEI practices. As the conduit between job seekers and employers, we can help ensure that companies consider qualified candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds by maximizing the representation in the submission and interview process.
We can also help companies avoid falling into many of the traps that can derail their efforts. We provide the guidance to help ensure hiring managers use the broadest resources at their disposal to hire the most qualified candidates, rather than just trying to tick a few demographic boxes. Key guidance on adhering to a variety of hiring discrimination laws is another valuable benefit.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are high-priority for companies that want to succeed in the new economy. We will help you recruit the best qualified candidates for your company while keeping DEI in focus. Contact us today!