A lot of the time we focus on DE&I as a stand-alone project. However to set up a successful strategy or focus on what really moves an organisation forward you have to divide it into three clear categories and integrate it into every part of your business.
Education / Awareness
Make sure your employees recognise that people experience the world differently. There are several aspects of diversity including race, religion, gender, ability, age, sexuality and you need to be thinking about ways to bring those qualities(?) into your business.
Organisations should acknowledge how the challenge of Covid-19 can impact people in drastically different ways and aim to deliver clear, effective and informative messages and communications to different groups.
Explore why your organisation celebrates International Women’s Day, LGBT+ Pride Month or Black History Month and what is the value to a business to do this.
Make employees aware of why DE&I strategies matter to the company’s mission and how they embody and strengthen company culture and values.
Embedding / Measure
Things only shift when you can measure your actions. Just hoping for the best will change nothing. So establishing benchmarks, regularly tracking metrics and figuring out how you collect data is key.
It’s important to make sure you have the correct mandatory training and embedded it into the right strategy that your CEO/Board can sign off.
Whilst driving the initiative/strategy forward, your HR team should be comfortable enough to challenge this strategy and fully understand the legal ramifications when this goes wrong.
Organisations should note that ‘for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, anything done by an employee in the course of employment is treated as having also been done by the employer (section 109(1)’. [See Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen] In this case the Employment Appeal Tribunal ‘ stressed that the mere existence of a policy is not sufficient, and that it is essential that the employer take practical steps to implement it.’ [Lexology: Feb 2021]
Ask yourself what additional checks you want to put in place if you have a customer focus to your business to make sure you understand how words impact people differently? What types of imagery should be used? And how do you diversify those shown in campaigns and the types of people applying? A truly diverse culture should be reflected and celebrated in an organisation’s employer brand with campaigns showcasing the diversity you already have in the business.
Celebrating / Communication
Why is it important to discuss where you are and where you are going?
Don’t assume all employees understand that inclusion and belonging are important for everyone.
You need to clearly communicate where you are going and explain what each level of the organisation should be doing. So from the intern to the CEO they all understand what they are adding to the culture of the business.
You then need to celebrate your wins, new hires, shifts in data and any partnerships that enable you to learn and grow.
An employer brand that celebrates diversity is critical to attracting top talent to your organization.
Having these three steps as a part of your overall strategy is crucial.