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How to Support DEI Initiatives in the Workplace

The benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace are long-lasting and critical to organizational success. At its root, DEI impacts connection and belonging between people, something more organizations have begun to take note of.  

Whether you’re hoping to invest more in inclusive benefits, change your recruiting pool, or use new training software, there are key steps you can take to bring your DEI strategy to the next level. 

Why haven’t Historical DEI Initiatives Worked?

Most organizations offer corporate training on diversity and sensitivity during an orientation process. Though this has long been seen as a staple in the onboarding process, it’s surprisingly ineffective.  

According to research, DEI training doesn’t affect change within a workplace or culture, especially for underrepresented groups. 

Why is this so?  

Inherently, these programs were designed to protect the company against potential legal issues or a negative public image. With a simple video or one-time training program, implicit biases are very difficult (or rather impossible) to change. When it comes to changing long-term behavior, further action needs to be taken into account, and training should increase knowledge and understanding. 

Benefits of Having a Strong DEI Strategy

A successful DEI strategy results in a positive impact for your organization and your employees. Not only does DEI establish a sense of belonging between individuals, but it can also result in huge improvements in decision-making, innovation, and bottom-line results. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion at their core impact people.  

Implementing DEI initiatives in your workplace can increase productivity, engagement, and empowerment, as employees feel more valued and included. Today, millennials are 23% more likely to be engaged at work if their company supports DEI initiatives. Building an inclusive workplace environment can also instill a sense of trust among employees, an issue that many employees face when it comes to management. 

More diversity leads to more perspectives in a company, which forms the foundation of innovation. According to findings from HBR, there is a clear relationship between innovation and diversity. Teams with diverse backgrounds have faced a wide range of life experiences and can be more equipped to handle situations that require problem-solving skills. 

How can You Support DEI Initiatives in the Workplace?

Here are 4 ways you can better support DEI initiatives in your workplace. 

1. Collect Feedback

To see if your DEI efforts are actually making an impact, you need to gather feedback from your people. Send out surveys frequently to hear their opinions and adjust your DEI projects. Pulse surveys are a great way to consistently measure employee opinions and engagement. More importantly, however, is adapting your project to meet their needs and thoughts. This will truly show your people that their voices are being heard and important. 

2. Recognize This Is a Continuous Process

Researching, planning, and implementing a DEI strategy isn’t just a onetime thing. As DEI evolves, so do people. DEI is a continuous process, so regularly report on your initiatives by making them a part of your meeting agendas. 

3. Use Inclusive Language

In all areas of work and life, language is an important part of diversity and inclusion. The language you use must be inclusive as it will make your employees feel seen. It must be respectful, accurate, and relevant. 

4. Leverage Tools to Measure DEI Initiatives

In all areas of work and life, language is an important part of diversity and inclusion. The language you use must be inclusive as it will make your employees feel seen. It must be respectful, accurate, and relevant. 

HR tools can help track and identify blind spots in certain departments. These can look like recognition platforms, employee engagement software, and more. KPIs should be determined to measure performance both before and after DEI initiatives have been adjusted to better understand areas of improvement. 

What is the difference between a Health Savings Account and a Flexible Spending Account?

Employee benefits aren’t one size fits all; each person has their own set of needs that differ. As a result, you can utilize your employee benefits plan to support diversity and inclusion. 

Incorporating more choice and flexibility in your benefits can greatly impact your people. Adding more offerings tailored to different life circumstances, such as employee assistance programs, health care spending accounts, and specialized therapy, are all great starting points. 

Both in terms of a people perspective and a company standpoint, implementing an effective DEI strategy can help your organization stand out and stand behind your employees. 

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