Answering the Essential Questions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

September 1, 2021 by Verified First

Answering the Essential Questions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The future of the workforce starts with today’s statistics. In fact, Millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generation in American history with over 45% of people encompassing minority groups. In other words, once the youngest members of Gen Z reach the workforce, America will see the most diverse workplace in history. Thus, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts are essential businesses to not only be sustainable but to grow with the coming times.

Some businesses have been refining their DE&I efforts from the very beginning. Other businesses might not know where to start. Whether you have a solid foundation or not, one thing is certain; DE&I initiatives must adapt to keep up with the world today and the inevitable change that will happen in the future. 

Verified First chatted with Regina Johnson, MarketCast’s Chief Human Resources Officer, to discuss aligning HR and talent acquisition with DE&I in episode #8 of our HR at the Table webinar series. By considering the positive and negative ways to enact DE&I, we’ve answered a list of the essential DE&I questions to help your company enact change today that will better your future.

Who should be included in DE&I initiatives?

In short, everyone. If you’re going to talk about the scope of inclusion, you need to be including your entire company in the discussion. Getting multiple perspectives will round out your current efforts or give you a baseline in which to start. 

Maybe your company has over 1,000 employees. Getting everyone to participate in an organized conversation would not only be a scheduling nightmare but a trying task of fitting everyone into a conference room. Just because a single meeting doesn’t work doesn’t mean a conversation can’t happen. Try these ways of including all employees in the discussion.

  • Recruit team heads - Ask managers to set up conversations with their team members and share the ideas and questions with leadership for overall consideration.
  • Send out a survey - Many websites offer good, inexpensive surveys to send to employees on DE&I initiatives. SHRM, for example, has a free survey that offers great insight to get you started.
  • Have an open door policy - Let those passionate about DE&I find a time that works best for them to share their perspective with leadership.

An important attitude to have in these discussions is thinking of yourself as a student of DE&I. Like Johnson said, “As ambassadors of inclusion, we have to be students. We have to continuously want to learn, continuously want to find new ways of improving things.” Being a student means being willing to learn from others and ask crucial questions for a deeper understanding.

What makes a DE&I plan successful?

DE&I plans are not one size fits all. Your company is unique and unlike its competitors. Therefore, enacting an impersonal DE&I plan isn’t going to work. The most successful DE&I plans are those that are creative.

It’s important to look at DE&I as an evolving process. You need to be aware of the current events and changing market. For example, DE&I in the workplace changed drastically with COVID-19. Regina Johnson had this to say about the current DE&I efforts:

“If we did the things that we had always done prior to Covid or even, in some ways, during Covid, we wouldn't meet the success that we actually have been up to this point.”

This evolution hits recruiters particularly hard. When filling a position, DE&I initiatives might feel like uncharted territory. In order for recruiters to get creative and evolve their hiring process, they’ll need to consider these hiring inhibitors. 

  • Location - Is the talent you need not local to your business? Offering work from home positions could be a way to open the role to new, diverse talent.
  • Benefits - Have other competitors changed their benefits package post COVID-19? Talent may be attracted elsewhere because of more appealing benefit packages.
  • Experience - Are your expectations not realistic for the required education level? There are more people obtaining higher degrees than ever before. Some experience may come from inside the classroom as opposed to traditional experience. 

Looking at hiring in a different way — one that’s creative and changes with the times will lead to the success of your DE&I plan.

When will I see results?

If you’re expecting change before allowing time for alignment, you’re going to end up frustrated. DE&I initiatives should be looked at in the long run. Enacting DE&I within your company takes time to get everyone on the same page in understanding the goal. 

While DE&I initiatives don’t include a guaranteed timeline, recruiters that use integrate background screening with their hiring solutions can streamline their hiring process, giving you time back to focus on hiring through a DE&I lens . Plus, by checking a candidate’s background first, you can focus your time on considering the best candidates. Start with hiring culture-fitting people who appreciate your company’s DE&I initiatives and goals from the start. 

Results will vary based on your company’s DE&I plan. While change won’t happen overnight, you will see results as long as you’ve implemented your plan into your company as a day-to-day commitment.

Where do I start with DE&I?

If your company has yet to implement a DE&I plan, don’t fret. It’s never too late to start! Finding the right place to begin is also easy. In order to enact change, you want to start with those who can make it happen. Leaders should be the driving force behind DE&I implementation.

Broaching the subject of DE&I can be tough. Some leaders will instantly understand the need for change, while you might find it difficult to get the point across to others. When talking with leadership, it’s important to use language they understand. Frame DE&I in the light of what’s important to them such as the bottom line or company performance. 

If you’re looking for a place to start the conversation, try asking leadership these questions to spark change within DE&I initiatives. 

  1. Are we leveraging the true potential of a candidate’s talent?
  2. Have we really thought through what we need to do now to perform well, but also in the future?
  3. Are we really, truly prepared to make the investments needed to be able to undergo change as a business?
  4. Have we been truly thorough in bringing the right talent into the organization — or have we only been maintaining the status quo?

Conclusion

The workplace is changing. Your company needs to adapt with the times. DE&I initiatives are more important now than ever. Consider your company’s history of DE&I — where you started and how you’ve gotten to this point — and couple that with the trajectory of where you want your DE&I plan to go. By looking to the future and working to better the present, your company is sure to grow it’s DE&I awareness. 

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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