How to review your diversity & inclusion initiatives (4 easy tips)
Between sourcing, engaging, nurturing, and hiring top talent, your company has a lot on its plate. Add to that the need to drive diversity recruitment across your organization, and any working team would feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to understand why many organizations struggle to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the face of so many hiring and retention objectives.
However, DEI is an ongoing effort that’s driven by consistent efforts, especially as your team works to design more equitable and inclusive hiring practices. When just 35% of companies feel they’re making positive headway with DEI, it’s imperative that HR, People & Culture, and Leadership teams consistently review their diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure they’re making true progress.
But how do you review your DEI efforts? Let’s break down four simple ways you can analyze your diversity and inclusion initiatives to drive real change across your organization.
What are diversity & inclusion initiatives?
As we often say over at Lever, DEI isn’t just good for business — it is good business, and in more ways than one.
Workplace diversity does much more than just improve your bottom line; they also drive retention, increase employee engagement, position your organization as a great place to work, and encourage employees to bring their best selves to work.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are the efforts you put in place and consistently work on to drive workplace diversity. For example, employee resource groups (ERGs), supportive events (like fundraising for underrepresented groups), equitable compensation benchmarking, and more are seemingly small yet impactful ways to help drive diversity at work.
Your initiatives may differ from other companies, but the main goal behind running diversity and inclusion initiatives is to create a psychologically safe workplace where employees can flourish, and where unique perspectives, ideas, backgrounds, and ways of working are all supported.
Why should you run diversity & inclusion initiatives?
Most leaders agree that diverse workplaces help our organizations innovate and achieve better business outcomes. After all, the benefits of a diverse workforce are numerous — simply look at some of the world’s largest organizations that emphasize diversity as a crucial factor to their success.
To reap the rewards of a diverse organization, though, you’ll need to first understand the “who, what, where, when, why” — and the “how” — of running successful diversity and inclusion initiatives.
You’ll want to consider, for example, how your team can answer questions like:
- What are the goals and objectives of our diversity initiatives?
- How will these efforts impact recruitment and retention?
- How equitable is our DEI strategy?
- What impact can DEI have on employee engagement and eNPS?
- Do we know how our team will leverage surveys to gauge the success of our diversity and inclusion efforts?
Stakeholders involved in driving DEI in your organization — like senior leaders and people managers — will inherently be curious about the “why” and “how” of your diversity efforts. If you can answer the questions above with clarity, it helps you get buy-in for running and optimizing DEI practices.
You may also realize there’s a lot of potential to improve your recruitment and hiring processes by making them more inclusive — like having more diverse stakeholders in interviews, using structured hiring to eliminate bias, or recruiting through diverse communities.
Benefits of running diversity & inclusion initiatives
There’s a slew of benefits to running diversity and inclusion initiatives that stem beyond recruiting and retention.
- 76% of employees consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment offers with a new company;
- Anonymized recruiting can help increase the likelihood of hiring more diverse teams — up to 46% when hiring women;
- Companies with racially diverse teams outperform others lacking in diversity up to 35%.
More companies recognize that having proactive DEI strategies and diversity efforts can help attract top talent, too — especially during the Great Resignation and as we all prepare for the Great Rehire. And there are several reasons:
- Internal mobility is a must-have if you hope to attract diverse talent and keep current employees. Leveraging the people you already have allows your people to upskill or reskill, which benefits both them and your organization. An internal mobility program is also a bonus for many candidates;
- Attracting talent will mean pulling out all the stops, including being transparent around compensation, providing modern benefits, and making candidates aware of the impacts and contributions they’ll make when hired;
- 50% of employees feel their companies can be doing more to drive DEI.
Now that we know why companies should be running diversity and inclusion initiatives, let’s dive into the four ways to review the DEI initiatives you currently have in flight (and how to optimize them).
Reviewing your diversity & inclusion initiatives: 4 easy tips
1. Run frequent diversity surveys
Many companies will leverage surveys to gain a better understanding of how employees feel about their company culture, team dynamics, leadership, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Especially true for remote or hybrid teams, using these surveys to gauge sentiment around DEI is critical. If we consider that, pre-pandemic, most companies were not fully remote, diversity efforts can easily fall to the wayside when teams are no longer working side by side.
For example, if People & Culture teams find that employee engagement surveys show a negative outlook on their DEI initiatives, they can use these insights — along with direct feedback from open comments — to iterate on how they run diversity and inclusion efforts.
Running these styles of surveys — such as pulse surveys or employee engagement surveys — also helps your company gather the insights you need to make actionable changes and improvements to your processes like diversity recruiting, and can make it easier to review the success of your existing initiatives. However, running a diversity survey requires your team to lay a bit of groundwork first.
To run an effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey, follow Leapsome’s recommendations for getting your survey up and running:
- Align on the goals and objectives of your diversity survey — Are you hoping to get clarity on how employees feel about DEI; whether your efforts are working; which improvements could be made; or where more funds could be allocated to diversity initiatives?
- Consider how you’ll build and distribute your survey — How long will your survey be; which questions will you ask; will you make the survey anonymous; and which tool will you use to send it out to employees and gather actionable survey insights?
- Ensure your survey is inclusive — When creating your survey, assess the language, instructions, and questions for bias, gender coding, and discrimination. Don’t forget to make it accessible to all employees, especially those with seen and unseen disabilities.
2. Use metrics & data to determine areas of improvement
Your team can create diversity KPIs by which you measure the success of your diversity and inclusion initiatives. While these KPIs will look different for every organization, having them in place allows your team to more effectively monitor and analyze the wealth of insights you’re likely already gathering around DEI.
Keep in mind that these KPIs shouldn’t be set in stone — rather, you’ll want to measure your progress as you go, looking at diversity data for insights into things like diversity recruiting, internal mobility successes, equity evaluations, and more.
This data becomes doubly important as your business objectives change, your teams grow, and your hiring goals pivot to accommodate more diverse hiring. If we think about recruiting, for instance, insights into DEI can help drastically improve key hiring metrics like “diversity of candidates” that are crucial for recruiters looking to optimize and drive better candidate experiences.
When gathering and analyzing your diversity data, consider:
- Looking at the recruiting data you have that revolves around the diversity of candidates, EEO (equal employment opportunity) surveys, candidate feedback, and your hiring pipeline;
- Measuring historic survey data that encompasses everything from employee demographics and feedback to ERG insights and more;
- Following up on candidate feedback from hiring processes to understand how potential employees feel about every step of your recruitment process;
- Implementing team-level belonging and inclusion surveys that gather data into sentiments around culture, team dynamic, leadership support, and more.
3. Leverage your performance & peer reviews
Performance and peer reviews offer employees and managers alike the opportunity to better understand where their strengths lay, along with areas of improvement.
The trick here is ensuring your performance reviews are unbiased and using the insights you glean from these reviews to help drive your diversity and inclusion initiatives forward.
There are five ways you can ensure you’re gathering the best insights from these reviews:
- Audit your current performance review process — For example, consider running an anonymous survey to gauge how employees feel about the existing process and where they see room for improvement.
- Align leadership on bias in performance reviews — The objective should be to make these reviews focused on outcomes and next steps, not subjective biases or favoritism.
- Set goals for your performance reviews — Beyond discussing performance, what other insights do you want to walk away with when speaking to employees and learning about their viewpoints or perspectives on their role and the company?
- Make process iterations collaborative — Leaders, managers, and other stakeholders involved in running performance reviews should be able to collaborate on what they hope to glean from these meetings.
- Get buy-in from your employees — Teams should be aware of any changes made to your performance review process before their review, and should also be made aware of the type of feedback you’ll be looking for.
Once your performance review process is optimized, managers conducting these reviews can focus on gathering insights and feedback around diversity and inclusion initiatives while finding new ways to improve them, involve employees, or realign their efforts altogether.
4. Examine your internal mobility strategy
Internal mobility helps your teams and organization at large become more agile and efficient in moving and developing existing employees so that you can grow your business’s best asset: its people. And, while this approach is growing in popularity, companies are still struggling to win at internal mobility. Just 6% of companies believe they’re excelling at internal mobility, while 37% of employers believe it’s easier for employees to find a new role in a different organization than with their current employer.
However, an internal mobility strategy can help drive diversity and inclusion initiatives by creating equitable processes for professional development, pay gaps, diversity recruiting, and the retention of diverse talent.
There are a few key ways you can use your internal mobility strategy to analyze and optimize your DEI efforts:
- Recruiters who leverage hiring data and analytics can measure how effective their strategy is at internally hiring, promoting, and developing diverse talent;
- Managers can use the hiring and retention data of boomerang employees to determine how these team members fit into a new hierarchy and team culture;
- Feedback from 1:1 meetings, along with career progression frameworks, can provide insight into sentiment around internal mobility as it applies to diverse employees.
By gathering as much feedback as possible around your internal mobility strategy, you’ll have a clearer picture of where it does and does not support diverse talent in your organization, including neurodivergent employees.
And, if internal mobility isn’t already a part of your diversity and inclusion initiatives, you can use your 1:1 meetings with team members to gain insight into what employees are looking for with career agility and how diverse employees need to be supported.
Drive diversity across your company with effective surveys
From open comments to impactful questions, inclusive language, and more, leveraging employee engagement and pulse surveys can encourage retention, help employees feel safe and fulfilled at work, and contribute to building better company cultures. Check out Leapsome’s employee engagement survey software to discover tips, best practices, and customizable templates so you can create the most effective diversity surveys.
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