June is Pride Month, and many companies are taking this time to look at their internal diversity initiatives. We’ve all heard about companies that upload a rainbow logo and then do nothing to support diversity in their workforce. Customers and employees alike are catching on, and they are much more willing to do business with companies that promote diversity and inclusion. For your company to thrive and reach its full potential, you must integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into everything you do.
What Do Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mean?
Diversity is when people are included who have differences in their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, abilities, age, and more.
Equity is different from equality because rather than giving everyone the same thing, equity takes into account the root causes of disparities. Equity is about promoting justice, impartiality, and fairness within procedures and processes.
Inclusion occurs when diverse individuals are able to participate fully in opportunities. It is not enough to have a diverse group of people in a group, they must actually feel seen and heard.
The Importance of DEI
It’s nearly impossible to innovate and move forward without a diverse workspace. When people with different backgrounds and experiences have the opportunity to share their ideas, your company will have the potential to explore new paths that would not have been possible otherwise.
As mentioned earlier, customers are more likely to choose a company with values that align with their own – including support for the LGBTQIA+ community and so much more.
How to Implement DEI Initiatives
If you don’t have a DEI initiative in place, you are already behind many other companies. But thankfully, it’s easy to start. Here are 5 easy steps to incorporate DEI into your business practices.
- Audit Your DEI Initiatives – Take a look at your current DEI efforts by literally looking around at your teammates. How do you promote equality, diversity, and inclusion? Are many groups of people represented in your team? Are there any groups that are underrepresented? What can you do to ensure that everyone feels included and heard in your organization?
- Ask Employees for Their Opinions (use an anonymous survey tool) – Encourage people on your team to share their personal experiences. This can be done in a group setting, or by using an anonymous survey tool. When people hear firsthand accounts of how their friends and colleagues have been personally impacted, it can help them understand the impact of discrimination.
- Practice What You Preach – One of the most important DEI best practices is to lead by example. There are plenty of companies out there with DEI documentation who are still unwilling to have difficult conversations or make real progress in their initiatives. Instead, employees should feel comfortable opening up to leadership about their experiences, and be encouraged to call out bias and discrimination in the workplace.
- Incorporate DEI Into All Aspects of Your Business – Real change requires systematic change from the top down. While that can seem overwhelming, you can do this in small steps. You might have people who are traditionally underrepresented lead initiatives and compensate them for this extra work. Ask people to include their pronouns in their email signatures or other work profiles like Slack. Keep in mind that this will be a continuous process, but we are all in this together.
- Bring in Outside Training – Sometimes, you can’t do it alone! Thankfully, there are companies that are well-trained in helping companies incorporate DEI into their workspace. At Gaspar, we offer Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Training. These are half-day training seminars geared towards managers and supervisors. It includes 2 hours of Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Training, which meets the California Legal requirement. Some topics of our training include:
- Blueprint to Building a Diversity and Inclusion Program
- Becoming Culturally Competent
- Mitigating Unconscious Bias
- Creating Diversity Through Recruitment
- Capitalizing on Corporate Diversity and Inclusion; Setting Yourself Apart from The Competition