Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) have increasingly become hot topics of conversation in organizations—and many well-known companies have made a commitment to increasing these principles in their business. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers created The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, which has been signed by over 1,600 CEOs and company presidents, in order to encourage companies to make a commitment to DE&I principles and let the community know about their plans. Similarly, Best Buy intends to fill one-third of its corporate positions with a person of color, CBS has a goal of making its reality show casts and creatives more diverse, and General Motors is establishing an Inclusion Advisory Board to keep the company accountable for diversity and inclusion best practices.
Perhaps your company is also interested in making DE&I a priority this year. This is an important step to take for both the health of your organization and the satisfaction of your workers, but to successfully implement these practices into your daily business operations, you need to have a plan first.
Here are five steps you can take to set up DE&I goals for your organization:
1. Establish why your organization wants to implement its specific goals
Do you want to increase the number of racial minorities in your company’s executive roles? Do you want to fill more of your IT positions with women? Although it’s important to clearly define what your goals are, you should also understand why these are your goals in the first place. Whether diversity goals are to help motivate your current workforce, attract new highly-qualified talent, or boost interest in your products and services among consumers, you should understand the why behind the goals as you create them.
2. Make sure everyone in the company is involved
In order to meet your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, you need to make the process an all-hands-on-deck affair. While these initiatives start at the top, everyone in the company is a stakeholder when it comes to DE&I, so it’s important to get all of the employees’ ideas on what goals are important and how they can be implemented. One efficient way of doing this is to conduct employee surveys as you’re establishing your goals, as well as periodically find out workers’ opinions on how well those goals are being achieved.
3. Create a roadmap and set deadlines for meeting your goals
Once you have established what your goals should be, your next step is to come up with a solid plan on how to meet them. For example, if you want to attract more female workers to your IT positions, you may want to forge a relationship with organizations that cater to these types of professionals like Women in Technology International and Women Who Code. In addition to having actionable steps for meeting goals, your company should also establish deadlines to keep everyone motivated and engaged as you do it.
4. Make your company accountable for its DE&I goals
Just as deadlines are important to help your organization meet its DE&I goals, accountability is also a huge factor in this equation. As you create your goals and your deadlines, you should also establish a way that you will monitor your success to hold your organization accountable for meeting these goals—or making changes to your recruiting process if they are not being met. For example, if your company has a goal of hiring more employees from underrepresented groups and you review hiring trends only to find you have not accomplished this, you can look at every stage of the hiring process to determine where the ball was dropped and how it can be picked up again. Whether you’re not posting your job ads in the places where members of these communities will find them or interviewing enough diverse talent for each position, you should identify what the problem is and work to correct it.
5. Establish a culture that values DE&I
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just about how many employees from different backgrounds you hire. Once these workers are onboarded, in order to retain them, you have to create an environment where they feel comfortable. To accomplish this, your DE&I goals should include ways to make the organizational culture more welcoming to all workers. One strategy can be creating employee resource groups for workers from underrepresented backgrounds so they can support each other.
If your company wants to incorporate DE&I goals into the hiring strategy, these tips are a great way to get started. But no matter what you do, make sure it is tailored to your company and its culture. Remember that although many companies may be thinking about DE&I goals, there are no cookie-cutter solutions to increasing diversity in an organization and every plan should be specific to a company’s needs.