The effort to commit to DE&I is an ongoing one and one that must be exercised by all. At the National Events Council we have seen the benefits and detriments when leaders fail to establish DE&I initiatives.
A great leader understands that their community, organization and people not only need a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, but it ensures they’re all of our success.
The work of DE&I Professionals around the world is not easy. A great portion of the time is spent by first educating leaders on what practices will work best for us. It is why we have created a few ways that leaders can do their part to ensure a sounder workplace for all.
10- Steps Top Leaders Can Take To Commit to DE&I
Communicate the business case for D&I internally and externally
One of the most overlook assets a leader has is their influence. The reason why word of mouth works so well is because those who hear it are influenced by the person delivering it who they know. A leader must take advantage of their influence not only within their internal circles, but also externally on social media platforms, webinars, and at events.
Share personal stories of exposure to make a difference
Personal stories help to connect one person to another. It’s vulnerable and authentic which makes the listener more susceptible to the storyteller. Stories also identify the various ways in which we all navigate through life. While we all deserve equal treatment, we all share different paths in life. A personal story from a leader can very well change the outlook of those who look up to them.
Embed D&I into the organization’s business strategy -( Strategically add diversity into overall business strategy, ex: Recruiting from HBCU’s)
No organization can be successful without the people who make the organization what it is. It’s not just the leader who needs to commit to DE&I, but all employees. To do this, organizations must develop and maintain a business strategy that proves they are committed to DE&I.
Actions come in the form of reviewing hiring practices, evaluating the work environment to ensure it’s inclusive for all, and making sure decisions makes are diverse.
One study found that over a three-year period, companies with a diverse set of employees notice a significant increase in cash flow, not just overall, but among individual contributors at the company.
Report diversity efforts and progress to the Board of Directors
Leaders of organizations have a duty to the Board of Directors to report where their organization falls short and where it succeeds. It also charges the Board of Directors to commit to DE&I as well. The Board of Directors are in place to see the company succeed and must be made aware of any issues preventing that to include diversity issues. They must also reflect the makeup of people who work in that organization because 43% of companies with a diverse Board of Directors see higher profits.
Build a diverse leadership team
Over the last few months we have seen dozens of organizations voice their support for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The sad truth is only 3.2% of the Fortune 500 companies have diverse leadership teams. So what we saw were those who were not committed to DE&I showing up in an attempt to not be held accountable for their lack of effort.
Women make up 58.2% of the U.S. Population
Companies with diverse management teams, on average, enjoy a 19% increase in revenue compared to those without a diverse team of leaders. Those with gender-diverse executive teams perform better than those without.
Require direct reports to provide updates on D&I metrics at leadership meetings/off-sites
At the National Events Council, we believe it is necessary to hold dedicated meetings that discusses DE&I. Organizations should look at regression reports, employee feedback, and other factors that reduces their scoring during evaluations. We also believe that organizations should manage diversity at both the macro and micro levels and provide content specific to that level.
Data is one of the most important factors to identify areas that require reform. It provides a deeper understanding of a market or subject. It also allows for a great understanding of your responsibilities and way forward.
Sponsor employee resource groups or chairing diversity committees
While we do recommend organizations hire DE&I Professionals to lead this charge, we know that is not always possible. In this case an employee resource group would be a temporary supplement. An employee resource group is a team of voluntary employees who lead various groups to discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They ensure the organization’s mission and business practices align with their commitment to DE&I.
Tie compensation to senior leaders’ pay
If we had to think of a way for organizations to put their money where their mouth is, this would be it. The many organizations who threw money in support of racial justice while simultaneously maintaining their all white leadership teams and Board of Directors, were simply trying to pacify minorities with cash.
Payouts, bonuses or even yearly performance review must become a measured KPI (key performance indicators) when dealing with how leaders commit to DE&I. What better way is there to hold leaders accountable?
Measure turnover and retention of diverse candidates. Human Resources departments already have the data available to them. This data should be made available to the hired Diversity Officer or the employee resource group to see which section or department is struggling with maintaining appropriate DE&I levels. In addition measure and track the promotion cycle against other ethnicities and determine why there is a difference.
Integrate messages of D&I’s impact to the business in public speeches and at all-staff meetings
Let teams know that diversity is important by consistently making it a topic of discussion. Freely volunteer status to public around initiatives you are undertaking and debrief them on the results – transparency.
Monitor, rewarding, and recognizing D&I efforts among direct reports and other staff
We believe that it is critical to publicly acknowledge when leaders, teams, and employees are doing exceptional work. We also believe it’s equally important to recognize the work that is being done to ensure an equal workplace. This can come in the form of an annual bonus, a new award category, and other measures to recognize DE&I efforts.
Employee recognition drives employees’ and teams’ productivity. Did you know that 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated?
Leaders must not only understand the above 10 tips as they commit to DE&I, they must want to do whatever it takes. Our world is filled with amazing people who all look different. It’s in our difference where we triumph. Where we are able to reach higher goals than ever before. Not doing this remains a detriment to leaders and organizations alike.
Need help with your DE&I program? Contact us for support.