As we navigate through 2023, the world looks considerably different than it did just three years ago. Many businesses have experienced seismic shifts in their operations, and it’s an opportunity to rethink your approach to company culture and recruiting.
4 Questions to Evaluate Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
- Which diversity and inclusion efforts are paying off?
- Where are employees getting the most value?
- Can leaders show up in the same way?
- Are you being transparent about how and why you’re changing your diversity and inclusion strategy?
Failing to adjust your diversity and inclusion strategy in parallel with your evolving business strategy may result in your efforts being perceived as disingenuous. For example, if your hiring goals have been reduced, it’s time to shift resources toward inclusion and retention. To ensure your diversity strategy remains genuine and effective, ask yourself these four questions to adjust your strategy and goals.
4 Questions to Evaluate Your Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
Below are four questions you can use to review your diversity and inclusion strategies and ensure it aligns with your current business situation.
1. Which Diversity and Inclusion Investments Are Paying Off?
This is the time to pressure test where your company is allocating resources and whether these investments still make sense to your current situation. For example, are the job fairs and events you spend heavily on resulting in the quality and volume of candidates you need to hire? Consider whether virtual or hybrid options could be more cost-effective and accessible to a wider range of candidates.
Partner with champions to examine your internal cultural spend and ensure that you’re investing in initiatives that genuinely foster an inclusive environment. For instance, when I worked at Airtable, we regularly asked employee resource group leaders about which initiatives their members enjoyed the most. It allowed us to proactively double down on the ones they believe have a return on investment, so they could provide members more value without growing the budget.
2. Where Are Employees Getting the Most Value?
It’s essential to involve employees in the decision-making process to create a truly inclusive workplace. Solicit feedback on which diversity and inclusion initiatives have had the most significant impact and which could be improved or replaced.
Gathering feedback doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Conduct a poll in your #diversity-and-inclusion channel, ask your employee resource group leaders to promote a three-question survey, or hold a 30 minute inclusion office hours that anyone can join. Each of these tactics are quick, easy ways to gather feedback from people who care.
When I worked at DocuSign, we saved five minutes at the end of each event to collect feedback. That way, employees who joined us gave their thoughts in real time, and we achieved an 80 percent response rate. We used the responses to evaluate the quality and frequency of our events on a quarterly basis. It also allowed us to bring popular speakers and facilitators back, which increased the repeatability of our engagements.
3. Can Leaders Show Up in the Same Way?
Leaders and managers play a pivotal role in fostering diversity and inclusion within any company. However, as business priorities shift, their time and resources may become more limited. It’s important to have open conversations with leadership about if and where they can realistically devote their time to diversity and inclusion efforts and identify any potential gaps that need to be addressed.
For example, if an employee resource group sponsor is being bombarded by new business priorities, consider bringing on a co-sponsor who can share the load. This allows ERG leaders to get the support they need, your executive sponsor to show up as bandwidth permits, and gives a new leader an opportunity to contribute to your diversity strategy. Failing to recruit a co-sponsor can impact your ERG leaders’ sense of support and impact their ability to keep members engaged.
4. Are You Being Transparent About How and Why You’re Changing Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy?
Transparent communication is key to maintaining trust and engagement as you adjust your diversity strategy. Keep employees informed about any changes to your approach, the rationale behind those changes and how they can contribute to creating a more inclusive workplace. This can be achieved through regular updates via email, company-wide meetings or dedicated communication channels.
Adapting your diversity strategy to the changing environment is essential to maintaining a genuine commitment to inclusion. By re-evaluating your resource allocation, soliciting employee feedback, engaging with leadership and communicating changes transparently, you can ensure that your organization remains agile and inclusive in times of uncertainty