Do Your Employees See the DEIB Work You're Doing? 4 Ways to Make Sure
From recruitment to remuneration, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives are changing the playing field in the world of work today. According to a survey by Gartner, 35% of HR leaders said DEIB was among their top five priorities for 2022 and beyond. But while companies are creating amazing policies and resources for their underrepresented employees, there is one common stumbling block — many employees simply aren't aware of the DEIB work their company is doing.
Lever, a talent acquisition company, surveyed 513 HR decision-makers and 1,100 employees for its report, The State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts: Progress, Priorities, and Opportunities. They discovered that "even with...inclusion and communication efforts, 24% of employees say that their company hasn't done anything this year to improve DEIB. This number is even higher at companies with fewer than 20 employees and among those working in professional or financial services." Although nearly every company surveyed (97%) had indeed taken some kind of measure to improve inclusion within the past year, across the board, employee perceptions don't line up with those efforts.
Despite employer efforts to improve DEIB, an employee awareness gap persists.
Lever's 2021 research showed that:
- 64% of companies have added DEIB efforts to their home page, but just 29% of employees say their company has done this.
- 52% of companies introduced measures in the last year to ensure pay equality, but just 24% of employees say their company has done this.
- Nearly a third of companies began using gender-inclusive language in their employee handbooks, but just 18% say their company has done this.
- More than a quarter of companies introduced or expanded inclusive benefits and perks, but just 9% of employees report their companies has done this.
- 43% of employers began wording their job postings to eliminate bias, but just 27% of employees report their company has done this.
It's all well and good to have specific, measurable DEIB policies and resources in place, but they’re of no use if existing employees aren't in the loop. The success of a company's DEIB work is reflected not just in metrics but also in how existing employees feel connected to or like they're benefiting from this work.
So, how can you ensure that your DEIB efforts get the visibility they deserve? The answer lies in building a solid communications strategy supported by a few best practices outlined below.
4 Ways to Close Your DEIB Program Awareness Gap
1. Start with your leaders.
Leaders are core to any successful communications strategy around DEIB initiatives. When they proactively initiate conversations around important issues, respond to pertinent current events, and actively and intentionally share updates and solicit feedback from their teams, employees tend to be more in tune with the company's DEIB work.
According to PwC's Global Diversity and Inclusion survey, executives at "DEIB-leader" organizations are nearly twice as likely (73%) as those at "DEIB-laggard" organizations (38%) to communicate the value of DEIB regularly. But there's often a disconnect between how much leaders feel they are communicating and how their employees perceive it. According to the same report, 74% of business leaders — compared to 54% of employees — believe their organization regularly makes information available on the diversity of employees and leadership teams.
2. Engage, engage, engage.
The goal of DEIB communication is to inform and educate employees (and future employees!) on DEIB initiatives and give every individual a voice and a listening ear.
To be effective, DEIB communications should be a two-way conversation, not a monologue. Organize interactive seminars, Q&A sessions, DEIB surveys, and feedback meetings. Efforts can also include live town halls, Q&A sessions, intranet forums, and live events. Such initiatives keep employees engaged in your DEIB strategy and ensure that DEIB remains top of mind.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and affinity groups are critical nodes of the office grapevine, and DEIB committees must rely on their networks for communicating DEIB initiatives. If you do not already have ERGs in place, consider instituting them as part of your DEIB strategy.
3. Craft a solid communications strategy.
A good comms strategy is consistent, authentic, and meets your employees where they are. This could be on your company's intranet, newsletters, social media, or even diversity-themed calendars.
Communicate about your DEIB initiatives continuously throughout an employee's tenure in a company, starting as soon as the onboarding process. This is an impactful time to start disseminating info on DEIB initiatives, and it also ensures that every employee gets the message. Next, keep up consistent communication: a monthly cadence is an excellent place to start. Keep your employees updated on what you're doing to promote DEIB, your progress on key DEIB metrics, issues you're addressing, and any policy changes that might be underway. Needless to say, your communication should be inclusive in the language and images used and, where possible, empower marginalized voices.
4. Hire a DEIB consultant.
DEIB is a complex field. When it comes to understanding and adapting to what underrepresented groups want and need from the workplace, the reality is that many leaders don't know what they don't know.Even the most well-intentioned plans can fail, so the steps you take should be backed with solid data and experience. As you take strides towards building the inclusive workplace you want, ensure you're doing so with the right information. A DEIB consultant can help with that. At PowerToFly, our team of in-house DEIB strategists and educators will work hand-in-hand with your leadership and wider team to ensure that your DEIB strategies, old and new, are getting you the results you need. Let's close the DEIB awareness gap together.