Improving Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

June 23, 2020 Kristen McPherson

We’ve known for quite some time how important diversity and inclusion efforts are at work. We know there are numerous business cases to be made supporting D&I. And we know that for the most part, we all have lots of room for improvement. In light of recent events, our CEO wrote an open letter to employees regarding DATIS’ stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, which you can read in its entirety here. These recent events have again highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion, bringing it to the forefront of the minds of employees, executives, and all levels of management alike.

If you’ve headed up diversity and inclusion initiatives at your organization, or even just observed these efforts at work, you know D&I requires an intentional and ongoing effort. We all know where we want to be when it comes to diversity and inclusion, but figuring out how to get there can be a challenge. Building a truly diverse and inclusive culture requires every employee to be on board and to do their part in creating that sense of inclusion.

But for those who may be struggling with where to begin with their diversity and inclusion efforts, the answer is to start by defining your goals. What does an inclusive culture look like for your organization, and how do you take steps to get there? Getting input and perspectives from your employees is important here too, and can help you understand where and how to focus your efforts. Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to create a plan to make changes. Again, as an ongoing process, it’s important to continue to give your employees a voice here and be open to continuously improving.

Diversity and inclusion also goes beyond our day to day interactions. For organizations, it’s important to consider this a core value and operate in a way that aligns with that mindset. And every department head has a role to play:

  • HR – Make sure to regularly review benefits packages and ensure it’s built to accommodate diverse needs.
  • Finance – Include a line item in the budget specifically for D&I to ensure the company is investing in this initiative.
  • Operations  Take a look at how processes can be changed to improve inclusion.

With a plan in place, the final piece in creating your inclusive culture is metrics. This can be a challenging area for many organizations to try to measure effectively, but it’s necessary to ensure your success. Qualitative feedback from employees is one thing, but quantitative data can more easily show you improvement over time. Metrics can also highlight unintentional biases. Look at dynamics like who’s getting promoted, who’s getting awarded the biggest projects, and even pay rates and raises. Are opportunities equally available? Are pay rates equitable? Tracking these data sets can help ensure the organization as a whole is holding itself accountable for diversity and inclusion as well – creating a better workplace and better results for everyone involved.

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