Committing to DE&I? Get started here

Group of diverse co-workers

4 mins, 26 secs read time

Where does your company stand on your diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) journey? In our recent DE&I strategies webinar, we asked participants that question. Just 14% of attendees said they’re really happy with their progress, while 50% said they’ve made some progress and 38% said they’re just starting out. The takeaway? We’re all thinking about DE&I, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.

To help you consider the strategies and tactics to propel your DE&I programs forward, Greenhouse partnered with GoodHire to gather a range of experts on this topic. Jen Dewar, CEO and Principal Marketing Consultant at Jalydew, moderated a discussion between Emma Macan Roberts, Head of Lean In Circles and Company Engagement at LeanIn.Org, Gary Davis, Inclusion Product Strategist at Greenhouse, and Ian Stanley Posadas, Program Director at LGBTQ Connection.

We’ll cover some highlights from the webinar in this post, or you can tune in to the on-demand webinar here.

DE&I in context

The world is changing – in terms of ethnic makeup and our expectations of employers. By 2065, the US population will not have any single ethnic majority. The changing makeup of the country may also be why 57% of employees believe their companies should improve diversity among the internal workforce and 67% of candidates actively seek out diverse companies.

When you look at the employee experience across a range of dimensions, you can see how far we still have to go. For example, resumes with Black-sounding names receive 14% fewer call-backs for jobs. The unemployment rate for disabled professionals is two times the average unemployment rate. And 41% of managers say they’re “too busy” to prioritize diversity.

The state of diversity and inclusion:

  • The number of women in senior leadership positions has grown over the last five years, but women are underrepresented at every level.
  • Resumes with Black-sounding names receive 14% fewer call-backs for jobs than white-sounding names.

    The unemployment rate for disabled professionals is 2x the average unemployment rate.
  • 24% of employees have experienced discrimination at work.
  • 41% of hiring managers are "too busy" to prioritize diversity

The challenges of being underrepresented in the workplace

Being underrepresented can result in employees experiencing discrimination – and other coworkers may not even be aware it’s taking place. For example, Emma says that 33% of women but just 11% of men have seen or heard biased behavior toward other women in the workplace. This indicates a gap in awareness – men are simply not noticing the ways that women are experiencing discrimination. Negative experiences are compounded for women of color and women with disabilities – they’re both more likely to face micro-aggressions such as having their judgment questioned.

Ian says underrepresentation can cause LGBTQ people to feel the need to hide certain aspects of themselves – more than half of LGBTQ employees are not out about their identities in the workplace. When people don’t feel comfortable revealing their full identity, their psychological safety can also be threatened. If you’re hoping to explore this topic further and understand the impact of being underrepresented, Gary recommends Deloitte’s Uncovering talent: A new model of inclusion report.

Defining areas of focus for DE&I initiatives

When prioritizing DE&I, many companies start with recruiting and hiring practices and programs like unconscious bias training. That’s a great start, says Gary, but he also recommends considering the entire employee experience. For example, look at employee referrals as well as voluntary and involuntary attrition and promotion rates across different demographics. These numbers can help you identify your company’s blindspots.

While many company executives are willing to commit to DE&I initiatives, Emma says it’s common for them to overlook the basics. She suggests setting goals, measuring them and rewarding people for meeting them. For example, you may want to tie DE&I goals to executives’ key performance indicators (KPIs) to boost their motivation and commitment.

Keep in mind that DE&I is a culture change effort, says Ian. It’s going to take a continued investment over time in different areas, just as you’d expect for any other major change. When you experience small wins, be sure to celebrate them.

Building a culture of belonging

To create an inclusive environment where all employees feel like they belong, Ian suggests starting with employee resource or affinity groups. These groups can demonstrate your company’s commitment to different groups while also giving company leadership insights into the experience of different employees. You can even turn to employee resource groups for guidance on company policies. For example, an LGBTQ affinity group can make recommendations about how to make your company’s insurance and benefits offerings more inclusive.

Emma says that creating a code of conduct can be useful for outlining appropriate and inappropriate behavior. She points to Mozilla’s code of conduct as a great example that provides clear guidelines of what’s acceptable as well as the consequences for those who don’t adhere to it. And since managers have such a large impact on the individual employee experience, Emma recommends equipping and upskilling managers to create a culture of belonging.

There’s much more to be said about DE&I – just ask our panelists, who also discussed common mistakes, securing budget and buy-in and other recommended resources. To hear all that and more,
catch their full conversation in the on-demand webinar here.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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