It's no secret that any company today who is not actively trying to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives will fall behind their competitors who have effective DEI initiatives in place. In the first part of our diversity podcast with Regina and Joe, they discussed why it's vital for companies to focus on their efforts to create a more diverse work environment that's inclusive of all people.
In this second part of our diversity podcast, Regina Blair, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Day & Zimmermann, and Joe McIntyre, our host, discuss key strategies companies can implement to increase diversity in the workplace to ensure that all people are represented and feel genuinely welcome and valued in the organization.
Listen to our Podcast Below:
The Importance of Your Internal and External Resources
In order to efficiently foster a diverse work environment, companies need to utilize the internal and external resources they have available to them. Internally, it's important for your company to have a dedicated DEI officer — and this individual needs to have direct access to the company's senior leaders and its employees to effectively execute diversity initiatives. This person's diverse mindset will bring a fresh perspective to hiring and help build a strong diverse workforce. Additionally, having a DEI officer also places accountability on someone in the organization to ensure diversity is actually improving, rather than just talking about it.
As for external resources, inviting new voices to come in and talk about diversity and engage your workforce is a helpful way to promote diversity within the workplace. For example, you could partner with external resources to host events that teach employees about diverse topics, as an outside voice might generate more participation than a talk from a coworker. And try to tie these events to what's currently happening in the business, further enticing people to take time out of their work day to join the event. These opportunities will ensure that your labor force is well-educated on what they can do to foster the right environment.
Don't Let Unconscious Biases Get in the Way
Throughout the podcast, Regina and Joe discuss how unconscious biases affect everyone, how these biases play a role in the hiring process, and best practices for overcoming them. An unconscious bias is an inherent or learned stereotype about people or groups of people that individuals form without even realizing it.
People's unconscious biases impact the hiring process in several ways whether people mean for them to or not, including interviewers forming preemptive opinions of candidates, who gets promoted to leadership, etc. In order to be fair to all people, we must push ourselves to move past our biases. We can do this by bringing this conversation to the forefront across the organization and keeping it a frequent topic.
Employers should also be providing training for their labor force to ensure they are taking action to remove their unconscious biases from the hiring process. Another best practice is to focus on the language we use during interviews to ensure we are saying the right things and not unintentionally losing out on a great candidate.
To increase the retention rates of your company's top diverse talent, be sure to recognize their accomplishments and their needs to prove that you care about their wellbeing. You should conduct stay interviews to check-in with your diverse talent to see if they are satisfied with their work environment and feel that their diverse needs are being met. It's also best to have transparent developmental conversations so employees know how they can grow with your organization.