Can you call your employee relations successful in your business without a DEI policy? When it comes to encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace, one of the first and best steps a business can take is to write a well-designed diversity, inclusion and equality (DEI) policy.
In a recent report by McKinsey & Company titled Why Diversity Matters, it was found that companies that actively encourage gender, racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to be in the top-performing quartile for financial returns – well above their industry averages. There is also evidence that a 1 percent increase in workplace diversity can result in up to a 3 percent boost in revenue.
Coupled with other mounting evidence, the case for adding a diversity, equality and inclusion policy into the list of must-have business policies for companies today is clear. Designing a clear and understandable DEI policy is seen as the first step towards encouraging true inclusion in the workplace.
Besides the financial and productive benefits of encouraging diversity and inclusion for your business, managers must be clear on their purpose behind their DEI policy. Consider what you are hoping that the DEI policy will achieve. For most businesses, this begins with a clear definition of their diversity and inclusion goals. While there is mounting evidence that supporting diversity is good for business, a company must be clear on why encouraging diversity in their corporation would be good. The more managers can relate the diversity and inclusion goals to their industry, business, and business goals, the better chance they have of sticking to them.
For a DEI policy to truly reflect the workforce it is aimed at and be inclusive, collaboration must be a cornerstone in its development. This means including all concerned stakeholders, starting from those involved in your company’s goal setting to the employees the policy would affect. Also, your DEI policy should apply to all layers and stages of your organization.
For instance, Namely’s HR Careers Report showed that the HR industry has struggled with representation. Approximately two-thirds of HR professionals identified as white, while the next highest representation was Asians (12 percent).
Make space for employee contributions in the DEI drafting process, with the help of confidential employee surveys and focus groups. If businesses are aiming to encourage equality in the workplace, they must make every effort to provide accessible technologies and an easily understood DEI policy to all employees, and not just those to whom it may apply to.
Organizations like the Society of Human Resources Management have published sample DEI policy templates for businesses to use as a starting point for their own DEI policy. However, it is also important that businesses make their DEI policies their own. The best way to do this is to begin by outlining their long term diversity and inclusion vision, and then breaking it down into smaller, actionable plans.
Implementing a DEI policy is about much more than boosting employee morale or controlling your brand image in the short term. It can also be a tool utilized in improving your employer brand image and recruitment pool in the coming years. Attracting better talent also improves your productivity and profit margins in the long run, tying into your company’s long term financial goals.
Finally, when creating your company’s DEI policy, look beyond the numbers and standard quotas for image preservation. Ensure you get feedback about your company’s diversity and inclusion culture at every part of an employee’s journey, from their recruitment experience to their daily supervision. This helps businesses to outline specific targets like publishing more inclusive job descriptions or providing ongoing diversity workshops for employees.