Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are essential in most, if not all, workplaces. It enables companies to create a sense of belonging for their employees, which ultimately impacts their workplace engagement and effectiveness in their roles. But once you’ve built an EDI strategy, how do you ensure your workplace feels inclusive? How do you maintain it?
Regularly revisit your strategy
EDI is always evolving; what you implemented a year ago may be completely different from what’s needed today. It’s important for you to continue to update your EDI strategy accordingly. You can do this by talking to your employees, conducting ongoing research, and hiring experts in the field who have a pulse on new changes and needs.
Building a strategy without talking to the end users of the strategy, your people, is a miss. Being honest and transparent when addressing EDI is important in understanding your employees’ needs and where gaps exist to implement innovative solutions. Create a space where your employees feel comfortable and confident sharing their thoughts, both positive and constructive.
When you’re collecting feedback from your team, actively listen to what they’re saying. It can be challenging and you may feel the urge to be defensive but keep an open mind. Your employees are likely sharing their thoughts because they want to be heard and they’re looking to you for change. You can help make a positive impact by listening, reflecting, and not reacting right away.
Work with a consultant
Some employees may feel intimidated or hopeless when talking about EDI with internal team members. This is where an unbiased, external third party could be beneficial. By creating trust between your employees and the external consultant and having a filter between you (the employer) and your employees, the anonymous feedback is often more honest and therefore more helpful in nailing down the root cause.
Are there individuals or groups at your company who are passionate about EDI? Join them in creating an EDI committee. This is a space where you can regularly meet to address the EDI needs of the company, set priorities, and revisit your EDI strategy. We highly recommend having someone from the leadership team be part of this committee to ensure the whole senior leadership team is aware of the ongoing conversations, as well as set guard rails for which tactics are reasonable and actionable.
After all, what’s a strategy without goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs)? Having tangible KPIs for you to track against helps hold you accountable for your strategy. Either with your EDI committee, EDI team, or third-party partner, set goals early on in your process. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your strategy, what measures you’ll use, and how you will track your progress. Your EDI strategy partner may have recommendations but you can always start with employee feedback surveys.
Core values and senior leadership
Core values are there to guide how you and your team conduct business. If you’ve hired employees who are the right fit, you’ll see them live and breathe your company core values in every aspect of their work. Build inclusivity into your core values, backed by your senior leadership team, and share it on your career page(s), social media, and onboarding package. If you’re clear on what you look for in your employees and hire employees that reflect the same core values, you’re likely going to be more successful at creating and maintaining an inclusive workforce where every individual feels respected and valued.