Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are crucial in workplaces to create an environment that is inclusive of people from different backgrounds. However, the staffing industry still has a long way to go in this regard. We interviewed experts within Executive Search and Staffing to gain insight into what steps organizations should take to improve their DEI strategy. Here are some of the answers that may help in improving your DEI strategy.
Q1. The simplest step an organization can take to ensure an improved diverse and inclusive working environment in recruitment?
Olivia Dodd, Head of Partnerships at Investigo believes that inclusion is the most important step. She suggests that organizations should educate and empathize with their entire workforce by sharing stories of experiences. This will help people understand each other and hold themselves accountable. Often, people are unaware of their privilege, and education is key to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.
Q2. The most common mistake made in a recruitment company’s thinking around diversity and inclusion?
Esther Boffey, Senior Learning & Development and Inclusion Partner at Stanton House, believes recruitment firms focus too much on the external rather than the internal. They often have a conservative, old-school culture internally, while producing diverse shortlists for clients. Companies need to hold a mirror up to their own sector and improve their internal DEI strategy. Companies should have a defined strategy to improve representation across all levels and understand the talent they need for the future. Hiring processes have always been a challenge for minorities, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA community, and businesses need to take accountability and change this.
Where to start?
Here are five tips to help improve your DEI strategy when you don't know where to start:
1. Hold discussions around compensation and promotions internally to bridge the gender and ethnicity pay gap.
2. Change the definition of culture fit by actively learning about different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultural experiences in and outside of the workplace.
3. Provide DEI Learning and Development training regularly for employees at all levels.
4. Have resources in-office and/or virtually to educate all staff on microaggressions and biases.
5. Empower disabled voices and equip disabled employees with the resources they need to succeed.
DEI Expert Chikere Igbokwe suggests that companies should start with basic education and create psychological safety for brave and bold conversations. Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is a top-down effort that requires CEOs and management to be on board to make real change.
Improving your DEI initiatives is not complicated; it's all about education. Moreover, diversifying your work environment leads to greater social and economic benefits, including improved financial profit, greater creativity, and employee retention.
Remember that when it comes to diversity, you are on a journey. Start with basic education, why it is important to have this conversation, what needs to be achieved, and then create a strategy to improve representation across all levels.