Over the past few years, employers have had to tackle a growing number of expectations and new, core competencies in order to remain compliant and competitive. A key area taking precedence, one which has received significantly more pressure since the onset of the pandemic, is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Systemic and social inequities that exist for employees must not be allowed to hamper productivity, stall innovation or damage the reputation of your operation. Even if your business is not required to implement a comprehensive, formal affirmative action plan, nurturing DEI initiatives will help reinforce greater structure, regulation and fulfillment of your company’s values.
Rooting out inequities and working to prevent discrimination or artificial barriers to opportunity is the only way to continue driving success in 2021. That said, creating a DEI plan of action and holding your organization accountable will be different for each hourly workforce. Here’s where to begin.
DEI Planning Checklist
Before we deep dive into the various directions you can take your DEI efforts, it is important to acknowledge that while most employers generally aren’t required to maintain DEI programs, you are obligated to ensure whatever programs you do create are lawful and reinforce EEO and nondiscrimination laws.
It will be up to you to compile the actions you believe will be the safest and most impactful on your DEI-related goals. Here are the primary boxes to check when creating a well-rounded DEI plan:
- Organizational Statement: One of the easiest ways to show your commitment to employing and supporting individuals from broadly diverse racial, ethnic, gender, cultural, and other backgrounds is to publish an official, public-facing statement. In addition to interviewing from a diverse candidate pool or writing job descriptions using inclusive language, you can make DEI part of your company’s brand and internal culture.
- Implicit Procedures: Use structured processes for meetings, interviews or performance evaluations to avoid biased outcomes. This is tremendously important for ensuring nondiscriminatory practices and staying compliant under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Consider using standardized meeting agendas or “round-robin” systems of speaking to create a solid process where different opinions and perspectives can be heard, and where all individuals are given a fair chance to contribute.
- Promoting Differences: Diverse teams often prove to be more adaptable and productive in the face of setbacks due to their capacity to innovate and tendency to offer new perspectives. Find ways to spotlight new people and reward unique skills/ideas to remain inclusive in your leadership practices. As an employer this can also mean acknowledging managers who are good at valuing differences. Not only do they positively impact morale, but they have great influence over how other people are perceived and treated.
- Diversifying Exposure and Training: Your business needs a workforce capable of navigating situations and individuals who are different from them without relying on harmful stereotypes. Seek out employees who have diverse experiences and will be an asset to your inclusivity goals, and conduct DEI training to help those who have not. Both ease employees’ interactions with people of different ages, races, genders, cultures or socioeconomic statuses, and will strengthen your operation by encouraging the cultivation of respectful behaviors.
- Nurturing Identity and Interpersonal Empathy: Encourage employees to interact with each other on a personal, human level and embrace being themselves. While it is important for employees to remain focused and productive while on the clock, it is equally important that they are given the chance to get to know each other and build trust with people different than themselves. Cohesive, inclusive workforces thrive when employees feel accepted and valued. Consider creating less-restrictive dress codes, encouraging employees to share their stories, and checking that company images represent a variety of people.
Enhancing DEI Efforts Using HR Metrics
Metrics- or analytics-based DEI initiatives use both qualitative and quantitative data and measures to set, advance, and evaluate an organization’s DEI outcome goals. Diversity metrics, in particular, can provide a glimpse into your organization’s overall demographic makeup as well as other areas where opportunities to improve still exist.
EPAY Systems’ analytics solution provides a plethora of HR metrics to help in these efforts. Our solution, which is part of our Human Capital Management platform, aligns your workforce management tools with your business strategies and DEI efforts at every stage of your operational cycles (from outreach and recruitment to hiring, retention, and advancement).
Whether you’re looking to track workforce demographic data, employment trends like applicants, hires, promotions and terminations, reports on harassment, or gaps in employee DEI and development training— HCM Analytics gives you unprecedented visibility into workforce behaviors and HR practices. Check out a demo!