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5 strategies for improving DEI in the workplace

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives create a workplace culture that celebrates diversity, promotes equality, and actively works to eliminate discrimination and bias. In this blog we share 5 strategies to help you improve DEI in the workplace.

21st Apr 2024

Building a workplace that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive is not a fad, it's vital for company success. 

When companies build an inclusive environment that embraces diversity, magic happens. Employees become more engaged, innovation soars, your company's reputation is boosted and you'll gain access to a wider pool of talent that aligns with your vision and mission. 

What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace (DEI) in the workplace?

DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. It refers to an organisation's commitment to creating a work environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported regardless of their differences. Let's break down what each term means and why it's important.

Diversity: This involves recognising, respecting, and valuing differences in ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and other characteristics.

Why is it important? By having a diverse workforce, you show that you accept people regardless of their identities. This not only helps keep your existing employees motivated but also attracts diverse talent, as they can see a diverse workforce represented. 

Equity: This focuses on ensuring fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all employees, while also focusing on removing barriers that hinder their progress.

Why is it important? Equity ensures that everyone has equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background or identity. It promotes fairness and inclusivity in the workplace.

Inclusion: This refers to creating a culture where all employees feel welcome, respected, and supported, and where they can fully contribute to the organisation's success. It’s all about letting employees bring their true authentic selves to the workplaces. This creates a sense of belonging and ensures that diverse perspectives are heard and valued.

Why is it important? Embracing inclusion not only enhances employee morale and productivity but also encourages innovation and creates a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

DEI initiatives aim to promote a workplace culture that celebrates diversity, promotes fairness and equality, and actively works to eliminate discrimination and bias. To help you get started with embedding DEI into your workplace we've crafted our top 5 strategies so you can create a thriving workplace culture that every company needs. 

5 strategies for improving DEI in the workplace

1) Diversify your hiring processes

If you want to attract diverse talent, then it's time to revamp your recruitment and hiring processes. Here are some ways you can get started. 

  • Unbiased job descriptions: Review your job descriptions to ensure they are free from biased language and inclusive of all demographics. Use gender neutral language and focus on the skills and qualifications required for the job rather than specific traits.
  • Diverse interview panels: Include diverse members in your interview panels to provide different perspectives and ensure fair evaluations. Having a diverse panel can also help candidates feel more comfortable and represented during the interview process.
  • Implement blind screening: Consider implementing blind screening techniques to remove bias from the initial stages of the hiring process. This could involve removing candidates' names, gender, and other identifying information from resumes before review.
  • Training for hiring managers: Provide training for hiring managers on unconscious bias awareness and inclusive hiring practices. This can help them recognize and mitigate biases throughout the hiring process, ultimately leading to more diverse hires.
  • Expand your hiring channels: Look beyond traditional recruitment channels and tap into a wider pool of talent sources. Flexa is a perfect example of this.  Our Flexification process starts by assessing whether your workplace environment is truly inclusive. If you pass our benchmarking quiz with flying colours, you can gain access to our platform, where you can proudly showcase your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And the best part? Our dashboard gives you access to diversity stats, so you can see how effective your offerings are in attracting diverse candidates. Don't just take our word for it...

Dan Malins, Head of People & Culture at Amplifi shares his experience of the platform.

"We joined Flexa to support the flexibility movement and champion our flexible working environment. Our 95% FlexScore means that we are being discovered because of our flexibility which has reduced hiring costs through agencies and made it easier to hire diverse candidates.”

2) Integrate inclusive policies and practices

Developing and implementing inclusive policies and practices is essential for ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment for all employees. This includes policies that address bias in recruitment, promotion, and compensation, as well as providing flexible work arrangements to accommodate diverse needs. Regularly review and update these policies to align with best practices and evolving societal norms.

Look at your benefits package and policies and check if what you are offering is inclusive. Here are some policies you could look at to begin with

  • Flexible working arrangements: Offer flexible work options such as remote work, flexible hours, and part-time hours. This allows employees to balance work and personal responsibilities more effectively.
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity Leave: Provide extended leave options for new parents, including enhanced maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. Ensure that these policies are equitable and offer equal benefits to all caregivers.
  • Carers leave: Offer paid leave for employees who need to care for sick family members or dependents. This demonstrates your commitment to supporting employees with caregiving responsibilities.
  • Equal pay and compensation transparency: Ensure pay equity by conducting regular audits to identify and address any gender or minority pay gaps. Be transparent about your compensation structure and criteria for salary decisions.

3) Lead by example

DEI starts at the top. Leaders need to walk the talk in order to show their commitment to inclusivity. When leaders and managers champion this, it sets clear expectations and boundaries where teams can follow suit. 

It requires a comprehensive approach that spans all levels and positions, making sure that performance evaluations and feedback are based on the quality of work rather than personal biases. By emphasising a culture that values objective assessment, managers can set a precedent for unbiased decision-making and create an environment where everyone, regardless of their background or position, has equal opportunities to thrive and contribute their unique perspectives and talents. 

4) Eliminate bias

A Deloitte survey of 3,000 employees found that 39% had experienced unconscious bias at least once a month. 83% of respondents said that these biases were subtle, indirect, or microaggressions, with 68% reporting that they had a negative impact on productivity.

Unconscious bias can hinder the success of your DEI initiatives. Offering bias training to all employees, particularly hiring managers and decision-makers is an effective way to recognise and address bias. Ongoing education and awareness can reinforce the importance that diversity, and inclusion plays when it comes to boosting company growth. 

5) Encourage open dialogue and feedback

Gathering feedback is essential when embedding DEI into your workplace. Here are some ways you can encourage feedback :

  • Surveys: Design surveys specifically focused on DEI topics and distribute them to all employees. These surveys can include questions about employees' experiences, perceptions of inclusivity, and suggestions for improvement. This can be through anonymous feedback channels or regular pulse surveys; utilise our free employee satisfaction tracker to help you. 
  • Focus groups: Organise focus groups with diverse representation from different teams and levels within the organisation. Facilitate discussions around DEI topics, allowing participants to share their experiences, challenges, and ideas. Focus groups provide a platform for in-depth conversations and can uncover insights that may not emerge in surveys.
  • 1-1 Interviews: Conduct confidential interviews with employees to delve deeper into their individual experiences and perspectives. These interviews allow for more personal and detailed feedback, enabling a better understanding of individual needs and concerns.
  • Feedback channels: Create dedicated feedback channels, such as suggestion boxes or online platforms, where employees can submit their feedback anonymously or openly. Make sure that these channels are accessible to all employees and regularly monitored.

Remember to measure and track your progress

Establish the metrics and KPIs you want to measure to assess whether your DEI initiatives have been successful. Regularly review and analyse data relating to employee demographics, representation in leadership positions, and employee satisfaction. Use this data to identify gaps, set goals, and track improvements. 

And make sure to share your progress transparently, it demonstrates your commitment to continuous improvement and helps to build employee trust