A strategic approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – 4 key steps

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a critical factor in an organisation’s ability to attract talent (especially young talent). Job seekers – your potential new employees – are considering organisational culture more than ever before. 83% of Gen Z candidates state that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when they are choosing an employer, even before they apply, according to research by McKinsey.

DEI is also on the radar of investors as part of their Sustainability or ESG focus. So, whether your business is on the growth curve and looking for funding, or is a mature organisation with existing stakeholders, or even listed on the stock exchange, you’re probably recognising that investor focus for your own organisation.
However, often companies launch DEI initiatives piecemeal. As a result, the positive sentiment is recognised by all, but there isn’t real progress. There are nice slogans for the external world but this is accompanied by internal “initiative-itis” with the organisation bouncing from one DEI initiative to the next like a pinball machine, and not making real progress.

Some companies do succeed in really moving the needle on DEI, so that it’s not just a slogan used externally. There’s a lot of research out there that shows it helps those companies to drive growth for the organisation through improved reputation, access to a wider talent pool, and more innovation and better decision-making internally, as well as higher employee engagement and lower employee turnover.

Companies that have succeeded in their DEI approach have established a clear baseline: Where has the company come from and where is it now, where is it going, and how will it know that its DEI strategy has succeeded?

According to research by McKinsey, the companies that succeed have followed some very clear steps.
• The leaders and HR teams in those organisations set a bold but achievable DEI aspiration linked to the company’s overall mission and strategy.
• They use quantitative and qualitative analytics to establish a baseline and determine what DEI interventions are the priority.
• They develop a plan for which DEI-related initiatives will be rolled out and when, based on the company’s overarching strategic objectives.
• And they establish routines for monitoring progress over time.

However, not all organisations have the internal resources to be able to drive those activities: insufficient people, time, or focus.
That’s where I come in. If you’d like to follow those four steps and would like some help, please contact me.