How integrators can launch a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative


Conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI) are taking place across all sectors. Small organizations want to create and implement DCI initiatives to stay competitive, especially when it comes to hiring. Many candidates now ask questions during culture and diversity interviews. You must have an answer for them. If you have not yet launched a DCI initiative, the following will give you a framework to track and accelerate your business towards a DCI program.

Discussions about diversity and inclusion often overlook equity. When hiring people of different color or origins, a few assumptions are often made:

  • This creates a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Since it is diverse and inclusive, it is also equal.
  • Everyone has the same chances and the same chances.

If you treat everyone the same without realizing that different people have different needs, supports, and resources, that’s inequality. Equity must prevail in any DCI initiative. You can be diverse, you can be inclusive, but if equity isn’t created it won’t matter.

Recognizing that inequality exists is the first step in culture change to create a DCI initiative. As an employer, your goal is to find ways to level the playing field for all employees. Building a culture that begins with fairness ensures that individuals get the support and resources they need to be successful. When employees have these resources, they feel supported, respected and on an equal footing.

What we stand for, what we stand for and who we stand for

At the heart of any corporate culture are the mission and values. The mission statement is what the company stands for. The statement should contain language about what you do, who you do it for and how you do it.

Make sure the mission uses gender-neutral and inclusive words. Avoid terms that may have negative connotations. Inclusive language is nuanced, so ask others how they talk about themselves and their dislikes.

Express Business Values ​​tell you what your business stands for. They should describe the beliefs, philosophies and principles that drive the business. They must infuse your corporate culture with your DCI initiatives.

Statements can be as simple as “Inclusion and Diversity” or “Celebrating the Differences”. Whatever statements are made, initiatives start with you, at the top. Corporate values ​​are now part of the culture and employees embrace and embody them.

The people you advocate for are the next step in defining your DCI culture. Your business probably supports great causes. Do current causes support your DCI initiative? If they don’t, find some who will. If you don’t know which ones are important, ask your employees.

Invest in training and create policies

We all have prejudices, both conscious and unconscious. To overcome prejudices, we must learn to think about things differently. Investing in diversity training is a way to both raise awareness and fight against discrimination.

If you already use an employee or HR training platform, many include them as an online course. LinkedIn Learning offers a free Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Learning Path for everyone.

Most of the trainings will cover topics such as different forms of racism, how a diverse and inclusive workforce can benefit everyone, and how to apply the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion in their daily interactions. with colleagues and clients.

The training would also address biases and how to avoid the negative influence it can have in recruiting, hiring, promotion and other business decisions.

Policies that address discrimination in the workplace can no longer be ignored or rejected. Your policy should have language that reflects why the policy exists and to whom it applies (hint: it’s everyone).

It should also list the things you are discussing in general and specific terms. Clearly explain everyone’s responsibility for the policy and how it will be monitored.

Mention that training is necessary since you have invested in it. Finally, explain the procedure for filing a complaint.

Recruitment and retention

Reducing prejudice is the goal of hiring diversity. To find out if you have biases, audit your process. Next, find a metric that you can improve on.

If your metric improves gender and minority, but all applicants are white males, consider where your applicants are coming from. You may need to rephrase your ad, show existing diversity, or provide employment flexibility with the WFH to attract more diverse applicants.

Whenever you hire, aim to improve the metrics and the process.

Customer relationship and social responsibility

Customer relationships are built with the employees you have. Your customers and employees are most often reflected in their makeup. By having a more diverse workforce, it can allow you to reach a more diverse customer audience as well.

Your best teams will foster diversity of thought, insight, perspectives, cultural background, and innovation because of their makeup.

Social responsibility covers a wide variety of topics, but you can make the DCI part of your corporate social responsibility culture. This will help you solidify your initiative and show others that your business is committed to an inclusive workforce.

With these six steps, you now have a framework to begin or refine a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative in your business. I hope it will enrich your corporate culture as much or more than ours.


Dawn R. Sizer is CEO of 3rd Element Consulting, Inc. She has been a member of the ASCII Group since 2018.

This article originally appeared on the website of our sister publication Commercial Integrator.


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