Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have become increasingly important within the varying aspects of business operations. These are not just buzzwords but need to be viewed more as a business imperative that can impact employee engagement, client satisfaction, and overall business success.
Having monitored workforce trends for more than 20 years, RPO firm Source2 recognizes the importance of DEI and offers best practices for organizations that are looking to bolster their DEI efforts.
Members of our team attended a DEI-focused webinar hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), where we learned that DEI initiatives driven by the boards of directors and C-Suite of a company are crucial for success. According to SHRM’s research, companies that prioritize DEI initiatives will see increased engagement and satisfaction among their employees, customers, and applicants.
Challenges of DEI
Of course, setting the course for DEI initiatives within a company is not as easy as flipping on a switch. One of the biggest challenges to building a diverse and inclusive culture within the workplace is addressing unconscious bias. To mitigate this, companies should implement training programs that address unconscious bias at all levels of the organization. Additionally, inclusive leadership is critical to building a diverse and inclusive culture. Leaders who promote a culture of belonging, respect, and fairness will inspire others to do the same.
Certain challenges may be specific to an industry; however, so it’s important to think through all the potential speed bumps a company might encounter when rolling out a DEI program. For instance, in the healthcare industry, specific challenges may involve language and cultural barriers, sensitivity around care providers' gender and sexual identities, and ageism. Through our experience, Source2 has been able to provide diversity recruiting, bias reduction training, retention, and engagement tactics to promote DEI in the workplace.
Overcoming DEI Challenges
Employee resource groups (ERGs) can be a powerful tool for building a diverse and inclusive culture. ERGs provide a safe space for employees with similar backgrounds or experiences to come together, share ideas, and support one another. When used for the betterment of a company, ERGs often provide constructive feedback and insights to leadership, serving as some of the biggest drivers of change within an organization. For our team at Source2, we live out this value and have reaped great rewards from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. On any given day, at an ERP or DEI committee meeting, it’s critical for C-Suite executives to be involved in the discussion to ensure that leadership is hearing and participating in the continuous learning journey and using employee feedback to enact change.
To build a diverse and inclusive culture, organizations need to hold themselves accountable and measure progress along the way. This can involve setting specific and measurable DEI objectives, tracking metrics, and reporting progress regularly. And it is okay to shoot for the stars and not hit some of the goals along the way. Any stride in the right direction is still moving the right way. Companies can adjust their objectives to better suit the activities their organization can realistically implement, and continuously measure against those objectives. Additionally, company leadership should be transparent about the organization’s DEI efforts, communicating regularly with employees about the efforts underway and any progress moving ahead.
With some of our clients on the forefront of DEI, Source2 has supported:
- DEI initiatives with our regional recruiters to build pipeline diversity within our contacts and networks;
- Involvement right alongside our clients’ DEI committees, including the launch of a DEI incentives and referral program;
- Reporting through our applicant tracking software to provide baseline DEI analysis and areas of suggested improvement;
- Webinar trainings and panel discussions with a diverse group of panelists who spoke to best practices in DEI recruiting and retention.
The Bottom Line
Real business challenges often drive the need for DEI initiatives. Source2 believes DEI initiatives are critical for employee engagement, client satisfaction, and overall business success. Implementing and supporting DEI initiatives are not just the right things to do; they are also good for business. As an RPO firm, we have a responsibility to promote DEI, and we are dedicated to doing so in our own internal practices as well as in our relationships with clients.
To learn more about Source2 and the trainings / initiatives we have in place regarding DEI and other workforce needs, contact us at https://www.source2.com/contact.