Search Live Jobs

Banner Default Image

5 steps to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion

Markus Winkler Y9 Gu1q Sttuc Unsplash

​For Executive Search & Recruitment professionals, we understand that building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace is not just a moral imperative, but also a competitive advantage. Organisations that prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) attract top talent and benefit from a range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences that drive innovation and growth.

However, these industries themselves lack the diversity that would reflect the markets and locations in which they operate. Therefore, by prioritising DEI within our Staffing or Executive Search businesses, we can lead by example and contribute to progressive change within the industry.

Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is an ongoing process that requires a commitment from every member of an organization. This guide provides a step-by-step process for improving DEI standards in your organisation.

Step 1: Raise Awareness of Key DEI Concepts

The first step in enhancing DEI in your organisation is to ensure that everyone understands key DEI concepts. Share the definitions below and emphasise how they are interdependent and must be achieved simultaneously.

  • Diversity: The range of human differences, including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability, or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. The bringing of differences together.

  • Equity: Giving people what they need, to make things fair.

  • Inclusion: A state of being valued, respected, and supported. A feeling rather than a status, where everyone feels belonging.

Diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together. They must be achieved simultaneously. Because creating an inclusive environment is an inherently ambiguous task, how you undertake inclusion matters.

Step 2: Establish a Baseline

To understand where you are on the DEI journey, establish a baseline. Use the five levels of progress outlined below and determine which level your Search or Staffing firm currently falls under. This will help you identify areas for improvement.

1. No D&I work has begun; diversity and a culture of inclusion are not part of organisational goals.

2. A compliance mindset; actions are only taken in compliance with relevant laws and social pressures.

3. A clear awareness of the value of D&I; starting to implement D&I systemically.

4. Implementing D&I systemically internally and in external strategy; showing improved results and outcomes.

5. Demonstrating current best practices in D&I, internally and for clients and partners; exemplary for other organisations globally.

Step 3: Develop a Strategy

Based on your baseline assessment, develop a comprehensive DEI strategy that outlines how you will achieve your goals, and move to the next level. Your strategy should focus on:

- Recruitment and retention of diverse talent internally.

- Creating a culture of inclusion.

- Providing equity in access to resources and opportunities.

- Addressing unconscious bias and micro-aggressions.

- Establishing accountability and tracking progress.

- Considering how to better serve under represented groups through diversifying your searches, talent pools and placements.

Step 4: Implement Your Strategy

Implement your DEI strategy across your organisation. This includes:

- Providing DEI training to your team.

- Identifying and addressing areas of bias and discrimination.

- Reviewing and updating your recruitment and retention processes.

- Creating a culture of inclusion where every member feels valued and supported; where behaviours and practices are not exclusionary.

- Foster an environment of psychological safety, where people won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.

Step 5: Monitor and Evaluate Progress

Track your progress and adjust your strategy as needed. Regularly review your DEI goals and measure progress against them. Identify areas where you are falling short and take corrective action.


Enhancing DEI standards in your organization is a continual process that necessitates steadfast dedication from every team member. By raising awareness of key concepts, establishing a baseline, setting goals, developing a strategy, implementing that strategy, and monitoring progress, you can create a culture of inclusion that values and respects everyone. Ultimately, a diverse, equitable and inclusive Executive Search industry benefits everyone, and it starts at home. It is up to us to start the change and make it happen.

If you need any advice or assistance in creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment, please reach out to Letitia Hatton via email at