DEI Isn’t A Phase: 10 Ways to Promote It Year Round

Posted by Trakstar • April 21, 2023 • 11 min read

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become buzzwords in recent years. However, DEI isn’t just a passing trend or a temporary fix – it’s essential to creating a workplace culture that values and respects everyone. Especially for workforces outside of the United States, DEI trainings and initiatives need to be part of your organizational culture. If you don’t have a DEI program, now is the time to start, especially before your organization grows in size. The more hiring you do, the more likely it is that your employees will have different sexual orientations, gender identities, backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and more.

That’s why we’re here to give you 10 actionable ways to promote DEI year-round within your organization. So buckle up, and let’s dive in!

Introduction to DEI

First, let’s talk about advancing DEI in an organization or creating a DEI program in the first place. “DEI” stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. To some, it may feel like something that’s only being talked about right now or only in the United States, but the truth is that DEI has always been important globally. Promoting DEI is about creating an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued. It’s about giving everyone a seat at the table and ensuring everyone’s voices are heard.

The Benefits of Building a Diverse, Inclusive Environment

When it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), organizations often think about it as something they need to do in order to be compliant or politically correct. In many cases, it is as simple as ensuring that your employees have what they need to be happy, healthy, and productive.
However, there are many benefits of having a diverse and inclusive environment – benefits that go beyond compliance.

A diverse workforce brings different perspectives, skillsets, and experiences. This diversity of thought leads to better decision-making, increased creativity, and more innovative solutions. Inclusive environments also foster a sense of belonging for all employees – when people feel like they belong, they are more engaged and productive. And finally, studies have shown that companies with diverse workforces perform better financially.

10 Ways to Promote DEI All Year Round

There are several ways that organizations can promote DEI all year round. These efforts need to be ongoing and varied. You can tie specific efforts into months (we have an ongoing series about Leading Great Teams that highlights things like Women in Business, Black Business Owners, and Second Chance Hiring.)

So how can you promote a year-round commitment to DEI in your organization? Here are some ideas:

Implementing Process Changes

There are several ways that company leaders can promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within their organizations year-round. Some of these measures may require structural changes to be truly effective.

One way to implement DEI at your company is by ensuring that your hiring practices are fair and inclusive. This means going beyond simply checking boxes on a job application – actively seeking out candidates from underrepresented groups and ensuring that your interview process is free from bias. Trakstar Hire has a built-in reporting feature that helps you understand whether your hiring initiatives are fair. There are also systems to help eliminate bias within your hiring teams.

Another way to make DEI a part of your company culture is by offering training and development opportunities that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics. These can be offered on an ongoing basis or as part of new employee orientation. It’s also essential to create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing these issues openly, without fear of retribution.
Leaders play a crucial role in promoting DEI within their organizations. By modeling inclusive behaviors and holding others accountable for their words and actions, they can create an environment where everyone feels respected and valued.

Making HR Policies Inclusive

HR policies are the backbone of any organization, so they must be inclusive and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here are a few ways to make your HR policies more inclusive:

  • Use gender-neutral language: Avoid using terms like “manpower” or “workforce,” which can exclude women. Instead, use terms like “employees” or “team.”
  • Be flexible with job descriptions: Don’t be afraid to tweak job descriptions to make them more inclusive of different groups of people. For example, if a job description calls for “strong communication skills,” that could mean different things to different people. Consider adding language that calls explicitly for excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Offer paid family leave: This is a great way to show employees that you value their families and personal lives. It can also help attract and retain top talent.
  • Provide training on unconscious bias: Unconscious bias is a real phenomenon that can impact hiring decisions, promotions, and other aspects of work life. Helping employees become aware of their biases can go a long way in making your workplace more equitable and inclusive.

Build Better Training & Education Programs

When it comes to promoting DEI in the workplace, training and education programs are critical. You can create a more inclusive environment by allowing employees to learn about different cultures and how to interact with people of all backgrounds. Furthermore, regular training on topics such as unconscious bias can help reduce discrimination.

At Trakstar, we use our own Trakstar Learn to administer bias training. This helps us eliminate bias in all that we do. We also routinely edit those lessons when we learn new things. With our software, it’s easy to make those minor edits that mean a world of difference.

Developing Better Recruiting Strategies

When developing recruiting strategies, organizations must consider their overall goals for DEI and how they can best attract a diverse pool of candidates. There are several ways to promote DEI year-round, including:

  1. Post job openings in various places that cater to diverse audiences. This could include online job boards, career fairs, and community events.
  2. Utilizing social media platforms to reach potential candidates from underrepresented groups. Messages should focus on the organization’s commitment to DEI and highlight recent initiatives or achievements.
  3. Partner with local colleges and universities with large populations of students from underrepresented groups. This could involve hosting information sessions, participating in career fairs, or offering internships or other opportunities.
  4. Incorporate DEI questions into the interview process for all candidates, not just those from underrepresented groups. This helps ensure that all applicants are evaluated fairly and allows everyone to share their unique perspectives.
  5. Conduct regular training sessions for managers and employees on topics related to DEI, such as unconscious bias and microaggressions. These sessions should be interactive and provide opportunities for open dialogue about experiences and perceptions related to diversity in the workplace

Your recruitment program should look at all avenues to ensure you’re meeting the moment when it comes to hiring. Remember that DEI includes hiring people of different backgrounds, abilities, ages, histories, and abilities.

Engaging with Communities of Color

To create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, it is important to engage with communities of color year-round, not just during times of crisis or when it is convenient. Here are some ways to promote year-round engagement:

  1. Connect with community leaders and organizations. Get involved with local groups working with communities of color and learn about their issues. This will help you better understand the needs of these communities and how your company can support them.
  2. Host events and workshops that focus on diversity and inclusion. These events can be open to all employees or explicitly targeted to those who work with communities of color. The goal is to educate and raise awareness about the importance of inclusion in the workplace.
  3. Commit to hiring a diverse workforce. One way to do this is by partnering with organizations that focus on recruiting talent from underrepresented groups. Another way is to create internal initiatives encouraging employees to refer qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds for open positions at your company.
  4. Provide training on unconscious bias and cultural competence for all employees. Everyone in the organization must understand the impact of their biases and how they can unintentionally exclude others. By providing training on these topics, you can create a more inclusive environment for all employees

It can go beyond Communities of Color as well – be sure to include many different groups of people in the work you do.

Create Open Dialogue About Diversity

Open dialogue about diversity can be difficult to foster, especially in the workplace. However, creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable discussing sensitive topics is important. Here are a few ways to promote open dialogue about diversity:

  • Encourage employees to share their experiences with discrimination and/or harassment.
  •  Hold regular training sessions or workshops on diversity and inclusion.
  • Ensure all employees know the company’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
  • Encourage employees to report any incidents of discrimination or harassment that they witness or experience.
  • Celebrate diversity within the workplace by hosting events or days dedicated to celebrating different cultures and backgrounds.

Remember that not everyone will be comfortable talking about diversity. Sometimes people feel more comfortable in 1:1s or smaller groups, and that’s okay too.

Offer Employee Resource Groups

When it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), many organizations focus on compliance rather than true inclusion. A recent study by the Korn Ferry Institute found that while 90% of companies have a DEI strategy, only 22% of employees feel that their company is truly committed to DEI. For DEI initiatives to be successful, they need to be an integral part of an organization’s culture, not just a superficial effort.

One way to promote year-round DEI is by offering employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster community and inclusion for people with shared identities or interests. They can be based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or other characteristics.

ERGs can support members and help them feel more connected to their organization. They can also act as a conduit for employee feedback to leadership about what’s working and what needs improvement regarding DEI initiatives. Additionally, ERGs can help develop leaders within an organization and create a pipeline of diverse talent.

If your organization doesn’t already have ERGs, now may be the time to develop one.

Encourage Participation

Encourage employees to participate in DEI initiatives year-round. Even if something isn’t specifically labelled as a DEI campaign.

When it comes to promoting DEI in the workplace, it’s important to encourage employees to participate in initiatives year-round – not just during designated months or events. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as:

  • Creating task forces or committees that focus on DEI efforts
  • Making DEI training and education part of new hire onboarding and ongoing professional development
  • Identifying opportunities for employees to get involved in the community through volunteering, mentorship, or other outreach programs
  • Including questions about DEI in performance reviews and goal-setting exercises

Including EVERYONE In Your Initiatives

Offer DEI training for all employees – not just management. Include topics like unconscious bias and microaggressions. When more of your employees know what your company stands for, you will likely have a cohesive organization.

You can do this by incorporating DEI into goals and objectives for everyone. Then, regularly audit your policies and practices – and include all of your employees in this audit.

Be Open To Learning

HR leaders can stay informed about DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) trends by following these steps:

  1. Attend industry events: HR leaders can attend industry conferences and events focusing on DEI to learn about the latest trends and best practices. This can include attending keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and networking events to connect with other professionals in the field.
  2. Follow thought leaders: HR leaders can follow thought leaders on social media and industry blogs to stay up-to-date on the latest DEI trends. They can also join industry-specific groups on social media to connect with other professionals and share insights.
  3. Engage with employees: HR leaders can engage with employees to learn about their experiences and perspectives on DEI. This can include conducting surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings to gather feedback and insights.
  4. Conduct research: HR leaders can research DEI trends by reading industry reports, academic studies, and news articles. They can also leverage data from their own organization to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  5. Partner with experts: HR leaders can partner with DEI experts, such as consultants and organizations, to learn about best practices and strategies for creating more inclusive workplaces.

By following these steps, HR leaders can stay informed about the latest DEI trends and take action to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces.

Ready For Better Employee Engagement?

If you want better employee engagement, you need your employees to feel safe and supported. Trakstar can help ensure your employees feel supported at all levels, from the moment of hire until they retire.

If you’re interested in scheduling a demo of Trakstar, click here.

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