DEI (Diversity, Equality and Inclusion) has been a part of the evolution of business practices, to make them just and equal. DEI has been an approach taken by HR for a few decades now. The responsibility of understanding the employees, their aspirations and how the odds are stacked is shouldered by HR. The revolutionary age of integrated technology and digitization allowed companies to look into their corporates and employees with a closer look and recognize the desideratum of DEI in their HR division. The inclusion of DEI in business practices has been a part of gradual changes. However, the 2020 pandemic has acted as the catalyst to accelerate the process.
While women and minorities wore multiple hats, a deep emphasis on diversity was the recognised need of the hour. The market saw a massive demand for a DEI approach on the company level. Soon enough, diversity, equity and inclusion became words with strong emotions.
The strategic diversity of companies led to DEI being integrated into organisational policies and this alignment led to the strengthening of organisational culture. Technology played an incredible role in the shifting paradigm of policies and the HR department as a whole. There were training sessions taking place in multiple corporations to instil the importance of diversity and inclusion and to impart education on equity and how the implementation of these values helps the corporate culture to build a healthier workforce depending on one’s skills, qualifications and talents as opposed to gender and colour. The expectations of the employees in the redefining power of a DEI approach in shifting the power into the hands of quality work rose. The HR departments also observed a change in the workplace where an attitude of earning a position with one’s work replaced the thoughts of entitlement.
The DEI ecosystem is one encompassing three very important values that need to stand strong; diversity, equity and inclusion. It is a system where a company, along with the help of HR, ensures there is an equal opportunity provided to all their employees and candidates. It contributes to the ESG (environment, social and governance) strategy of a company aiding in determining the growth opportunity of an organisation. DEI ensures that the employer looks at various factors of their overall employee statistics like gender, hiring, salaries, benefits, PLI, bonuses, rewards and promotions. The increased focus on DEI initiatives is creating a long term and long-lasting impact in the workforce across the globe.
Data and analytics have played an indispensable role in creating this awareness of the under-representation of certain gender and culture. An AI-driven system is a driving force pioneering the change in HR and corporations around the world. It ensures that work is recognized without the differentiating lens of society. It removes the factor of unconscious bias while looking at an employee’s growth and retention. The global recognition of the inclusion of DEI as a mandate in their system shows how inequality and conformity are global issues. However, along with awareness, it is important to introduce certain regulations in the system for the DEI approach to have a smooth flow in the organisation.
Although companies worldwide are recognizing the importance of DEI centric HR initiatives, there is still work to be done and gaps to be filled. A lot of companies are trying to hire minorities to pump up their numbers instead of wanting to give real opportunities to these employees. Not the mention that the challenge occurs at a higher level of leadership. The hiring process can ensure that there is diversity in the pipeline getting through. Training is held and there is upskilling happening without inequality. However, the problem arises at a leadership level. Through promotions and added opportunities tipped towards the majority population, the senior management is filled with the majority. So, for DEI to succeed in an organisation, it is crucial for the change to start at the upper-level management. They can also introduce certain initiatives and opportunities for the under-represented community.
Creating Safe and Inclusive Workplace:
It is important to do the foundational work to ensure change. The introduction of autonomous decision making can be helpful. The employees will have the opportunity and latitude to make their own decisions while receiving guidance and the right tools from the employers. It is also imperative to create a fearless feedback system. This will ensure that employees feel safe while reporting to HR. Creating transparency around the interviewing and hiring process bilaterally, between the candidates and the employer, will help avoid disparity and discrimination.
Investing in Continuous Improvement and Allyship:
As organisations are constantly trying to eliminate their unconscious bias and using technology to integrate DEI within their workplaces, it is important to take initiatives to continue the work and improve with time instead of staying on the basic level of change. Establishing KPIs and focusing on developing metrics based on the global level and measurements will aid an organisation to go above and beyond in their country of business and introduce trailblazing change in the same. At the same time, it is important to allocate a budget for DEI groups, encasing time and investments along with the approaches taken and onboarded projects. It is equally important to take an agile and flexible approach to the DEI groups and challenges, leaving space for understanding and removing any barriers of judgement.
Being an Industry Leader To Push The Limits of Best Practices:
Setting global metrics in the implementation of DEI initiatives is a game-changer. Introducing visibility in these programs through mentorship and leadership training can instil confidence in minority groups. With the availability of technology at the tips of our fingertips, it has become easier than ever to create processes that will support the employees to share ideas and develop tools and programs. The desideratum of a DEI task force is dedicated to steering and championing these initiatives on a global scale and in a more cohesive way. Organisations can also be proactive by organising outreach programs contributing to the values of DEI and the struggles of the underrepresented groups in local communities, NGOs, and industry groups.
Boosting and mentorship programmes can aid in enhancing the initiatives taken by the DEI task force. Integrating DEI at the leadership level will ensure its success of it within an organisation. Understanding the different roles and responsibilities of the under-represented individuals will help one understand their identity and aspirations. DEI centric initiatives will also ensure a strong unity and a healthy work environment.