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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Tools You Already Have in Your HR Toolbox

June 23, 2021

Easy-to-implement but meaningful steps in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are at your fingertips for a more engaged, agile, innovative workforce.

Blog Post

Tauhidah Shakir

Vice President of Human Resources, Chief Diversity Officer

“The best workforce is a diverse workforce,” according to Ted Colbert, CIO of Boeing. It’s not just about age, gender, and orientation or even ethnicity and culture. It’s the dynamic tapestry of all these beautiful identifiers, woven together to create a stronger foundation for success at any organization. It’s the foundation for a diversity of thought, perspective, and experience that inspires innovation, collaboration, and meaningful connection. A diverse workforce sets your business up for success to reach a broader customer base and generate higher revenue.

Make DEIA a Priority

Discussions around diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) have ramped up in the last couple of years, but the topic isn’t a new one. Studies by Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group and Cloverpop have, for years, highlighted the benefits of workforce diversity, including:

  • A more engaged workforce: When inclusion and diversity receive equal focus, attendance and performance improve
  • Faster, better decision-making: Diverse teams reach decisions twice as quickly and make smarter decisions 87% of the time
  • Improved innovation and revenue: Diverse teams innovate more and drive 19% more revenue from new products and services. 
  • Attract top talent: 67% of job seekers list diversity as an important factor when considering potential jobs. 

While there are certainly organizations in need of a significant DEIA overhaul, for many businesses, improving your DEIA practices is as simple as opening your HR toolkit and using the tools that are already at your disposal. We’ll identify early wins that can help you get started and share tips to help you decode DEIA.

Data Insights — Where DEIA Starts 

If you’re using a human capital management system, you already have access to key workforce data you need to get started on your organization’s DEIA goals. With it, you can sort through and analyze a variety of employee trends, including demographics, retention and turnover, staff positions, and employee engagement. Using the available reporting tools, you’ll have a clear picture of your DEIA strengths and identify gaps to fill. As FNB Bank can attest, the insights available in these tools provide much-needed transparency; they use it to quickly share progress on their diversity and generational efforts with shareholders.  

Jump start: Coulee Bank uses this data to hold themselves accountable for their DEIA goals, and NWEA leverages their metrics to reduce turnover and improve representation at every stage of the employee lifecycle. With your big-picture view in hand, your first step is to set goals for your own organization. As your workforce evolves, so will your data—providing real-time updates to help you keep track of your DEIA progress. 

Level-up tip: While data analytics and reporting can help you understand your workforce and identify areas for improvement, consider implementing some cutting-edge approaches to your application process:

  • Blind resume reviews: Inherent biases are often unavoidable, but, by removing names from resumes before sharing them internally, reviewers will be more focused on the applicant’s qualifications instead of their name.

Connection — Where Employees Build Community

Creating or utilizing an existing online messaging platform is an efficient way to keep employees up to date on important organizational matters and facilitate better communication and collaboration. It’s also a powerful DEIA engagement tool. Besides making it easy for employees to get the support they need, messaging platforms provide a place for them to connect and give kudos, and for organizations to engage them through surveys and polls to help measure overall satisfaction.

Jump start: Encourage DEIA-focused social groups for your organization, providing them with a safe place to connect and discuss issues unique to them.

Level-up tip: Create official Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for your company. Once common only in larger organizations, ERGs are employee-led groups that not only provide support in personal or career development, but also create a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to work. Establishing ERGs is a great way to telegraph your commitment to DEIA to both current and potential employees.

Polls and Surveys — Where Feedback Gets Real

Whether it’s good or bad, employee feedback helps organizations grow and thrive—and using polls and surveys is a fun and engaging way to gather it. From simple, one-question polls to more in-depth surveys, this engagement technique can be uniquely helpful in improving DEIA efforts because they ensure every employee’s voice is heard. From new-hire check-ins and benefit usage to overall job satisfaction, your surveys can be as broad or targeted as you need to build an open dialogue that makes every employee feel welcome and important.

Jump start: Develop a series of surveys targeted at different interest groups. Use them to gauge how well the organization meets groups’ unique cultural needs and interests

Level-up tip: Make sure all employees have the time to celebrate important cultural holidays with their loved ones by providing “floating holidays,” to be used at each employee’s discretion, as part of your standard benefits package.

Focusing diversity, equity, and inclusion is more than a box your HR needs to check; it’s critical to the future of your organization. Business, customers, and employees are constantly evolving —and having a solid DEIA strategy will ensure you keep up.

Learn more about DEIA and the importance of prioritizing employee well-being in our ebook The New Future of the Workplace: 3 Must-Learn Lessons from the Pandemic.

Revised May 2022

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