Collective change has always begun at the grassroots level. Across civilizations, revolutionary paradigms have been born from the fierce, consistent, and united efforts of the people on the ground. Though many of these demands for fundamental rights have taken years to achieve, these efforts have brought about transformation.
An equitable future is not only the key to a healthy society but a healthy economy as well. A 2020 McKinsey report revealed that companies thrive when everyone is treated fairly. In a study that followed over 1,000 companies worldwide, it was found that the organizations that consistently prioritized DEI standards were more than 30% likely to outperform their peers financially. The companies that struggled with DEI implementation (for any number of reasons) saw slowed growth and performance overall.
Today, we ask Dr. Tana Joseph for an overview of how executive leaders can actively get involved with implementing change. She highlights five key areas of focus for executives to consider when creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) experience.
Active belief in DEI work and all that it stands for
Taking DEI work seriously is at the heart of implementing effective and lasting policies. Seeing DEI regulations on the same level as safety and health regulations can make it even easier to consider their importance. When equity is viewed as a fundamental part of company culture, we make natural strides toward creating a sustainable and welcoming environment for all.
Engage with staff, members, and fellow executives to show interest, improve interpersonal dynamics, and share perspectives.
Hold and attend company meetings, trainings, and events that highlight and support diversity and inclusion efforts. Get to understand what your team needs then collaborate on creative solutions.
Check your stats and revisit them regularly.
Consider your company’s HR statistics such as retention rates, racial and gender demographics, wages, engagement, and all of the inner workings of your organization. Taking so many details into account can seem daunting, but it’s helpful to create SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. You will start to see the effects of your actions by breaking your goals down into smaller steps. With time, your organization will be taking strides toward a truly inclusive future.
Bring in outside help wherever needed.
Considering the various ways that your organization can embrace a healthy future, you may need outside help. Rather than taking on DEI efforts and foundational changes alone, it is most effective to bring in industry experts. Just as you would hire an accountant for financial management or a photographer for professional headshots, a DEI expert can help your team achieve a lasting sense of equity and fairness.
Work on the inclusion part of DEI efforts before worrying about meeting diversity quotas.
Although diversity is important, doing too much with little awareness of other cultures and experiences can readily backfire. To make the diversity of your company a genuine and well-rounded part of your organization, focus on inclusion first. It is essential to understand and address any lingering issues within your company at present. Ideally, you can then collectively lay the foundation for a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture.
Although the responsibility of change is often placed on those who need it most, true transformation in company culture can only happen with buy-in and investment from executives and leadership. Following the five steps featured here is a great start, but if true change is to happen, DEI must be thought of early, often, and integrated with all the company does, rather than its own separate category.
Still not sure where to start? Thinkubator Media can help. Contact email@example.com to learn more about our DEI consulting support with Dr. Tana Joseph.