Print
Download

12 DEI initiatives to implement in the workplace

12 DEI initiatives to implement in the workplace

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are vital to the modern workplace. DEI initiatives are strategic efforts by an organization’s leadership to promote and ensure a diverse workforce feels valued and empowered through equitable, inclusive workplace practices. 

Think DEI isn’t something you should be concerned with? You might want to think again. According to recent research by the PEW Research Center, more than half of working adults in the United States — 56% — believe DEI initiatives at work are beneficial. Further, a whopping 78% of workers polled in a recent Workforce Happiness Index survey responded they feel it’s important that the company they work for views diversity and inclusion as a priority.   

Read on to learn more about the importance of having successful DEI initiatives in the workplace and to discover DEI strategy examples you can implement in your company or organization. 

The importance of implementing DEI initiatives

DEI is so much more than just a trendy corporate buzzword today. Creating an inclusive workplace environment shows you recognize, respect, and value employee differences. Implementing DEI initiatives demonstrates that you believe in fostering and ensuring fair treatment for all, which can go a long way in establishing a positive brand image. When you prioritize DEI training and DEI initiatives in the workplace, everyone feels they belong and are supported. The results of these diversity initiatives and inclusion initiatives can be powerful, too. 

Some studies suggest that DEI efforts can offer incredible benefits to businesses, including increases in:

  • Revenue
  • Brand reach 
  • Customer base
  • Overall profits
  • Ability to attract and retain top talent
  • Brand reputation

12 DEI initiatives to implement for your company

Diversity, equity, and inclusion practices are no longer just nice to have in the workplace — they’ve become essential. Revamping your company policies and dynamics to guarantee you’re running a DEI-friendly operation might seem overwhelming. The truth is, though, launching a DEI program is not as difficult as you might think. 

Wondering where you should start with your DEI efforts? Quickly and seamlessly update your practices and policies using the DEI initiatives examples below. Use the following as a guide to improve your workplace by creating a diverse, fair, and inclusive work culture and atmosphere. 

1. Establish a dedicated DEI committee

A dedicated DEI committee can help you develop and execute strategies that promote diversity, fairness, and inclusion across your organization. This DEI program team will be pivotal in finding the areas that will most benefit from your DEI initiatives. They’ll also be able to monitor changes and confirm the DEI strategy is working as intended and having a positive effect so your efforts are as consistent, impactful, and rewarding as possible. 

Put together a panel that mirrors your efforts in moving toward a DEI-focused organization. The more diverse your committee is, the more likely they’ll craft diversity initiatives and inclusive policies that reflect the needs of all employees. 

2. Conduct comprehensive bias awareness training

Bias awareness training is critical to creating a DEI-friendly environment. The saying when you know better, you do better is the fundamental premise for alerting and educating employees about unconscious bias. 

Offer DEI training that explores how bias — intentional or not — can form and impact decision-making. Training should also cover mitigating or reframing any conscious or unconscious bias you find in your organization. 

3. Implement equitable hiring practices 

Assessing your hiring practices will help you attract a more diverse talent pool. Pulling in and getting buy-in from leadership is essential in this part of your DEI effort. 

Write job ads and posts with everyone in mind rather than targeting a specific persona you think you want for a role. Design interview processes that limit prejudice by drafting standardized interview questions and bringing in multiple, diverse hiring panels to reduce the chance of individual bias influencing hiring decisions. 

4. Perform regular policy reviews for inclusivity

Policy can never be a set-it-and-forget-it deal. DEI initiatives at work can’t be a one-time effort that merely involves assembling a diverse team and moving on. You must create and nurture an environment where all team members have equitable opportunities for success. 

To accomplish this, you’ll need to regularly review company policies covering things such as inclusive benefits, performance reviews, promotion criteria, parental leave, PTO policies, and more. Examining policies through a distinct DEI lens will allow you to make periodic adjustments as needed. 

5. Expand mentorship for underrepresented groups

Mentoring opportunities are excellent ways to lift and support underrepresented groups in your organization. Mentorships can foster a sense of unity and strength, ensuring all people feel supported. Research links workplace mentoring with positive work and career attitudes, further supporting the notion that providing mentors can be a compelling addition to your DEI initiatives. 

Create programs that pair successful team members who have extensive company knowledge and experience with people who aren’t represented appropriately.  

6. Support employee resource groups (ERGs)

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are supportive networks that can promote safe environments for specific communities — for example, those who identify as LGBTQIA+, employees living with disabilities, black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) employees, women, or veterans. 

To maximize ERGs in your company, you must take a self-sustaining approach. Forcing or creating groups when you don’t have an identity with them can do more harm than good. 

7. Provide DEI learning and development opportunities

Any opportunity to learn and develop in a role can be valuable and rewarding. DEI training should educate leadership and employees about implementing diverse, equitable, and inclusive company-wide practices. The ultimate aim of DEI education is to encourage awareness so leaders can learn to identify and work to eliminate bias.

You can develop your own DEI learning and development opportunities or use programs created specifically for this purpose.

8. Promote pay equity and transparency

Pay equity is an often overlooked issue in many companies. A detailed look at what you pay your employees will allow you to assess if your practices are fair. Pay should be fair, equitable, and based on merit rather than identity or background. 

Conducting a thorough pay equity analysis is the first step. Look for gaps and inconsistencies so you can create DEI goals to correct any unfair pay practices and move forward with a better understanding. 

9. Invest in comprehensive mental health support

Prioritizing mental well-being in the workplace shows you care about your employees. It demonstrates a belief that health goes beyond just physical needs, and it ultimately helps reduce the stigma attached to mental health. Too often, people need help and either can’t afford care or are unwilling to ask for it because they’re afraid of the consequences of doing so. 

Studies show that more than half (55%) of adults with a mental health condition — that’s over 28 million people — don’t seek treatment. Investing in DEI and mental health benefits for your employees can make a world of difference. 

Partner with organizations like Talkspace to ensure your employees have affordable access to mental health services. Especially for those who face barriers to traditional in-person treatment, Talkspace simplifies the process so employees can connect with licensed mental health professionals who are skilled, trained, and prepared to address a diverse set of needs. Talkspace works when, where, and how your team needs it, with flexible and convenient scheduling options for online therapy for employees.

10. Encourage inclusive leadership and accountability

Inclusivity efforts must extend beyond your workforce — they should also be a focused effort at the leadership level. Leaders who maintain a DEI-driven stance will have an easier time nurturing an environment where varied viewpoints and accountability are encouraged, recognized, and respected. 

Leadership must believe in the value that diversity, equity, and inclusion can offer your organization. To get their buy-in, provide training that helps company leaders understand the benefits of DEI initiatives. They also must be willing to do what it takes to implement them. 

11. Amplify voices through inclusive communication channels

Establish effective communication channels to amplify marginalized voices in your company. Channels should be confidential and varied to encourage open dialogue between employees and leadership. These “safe” spaces are where experiences can be voiced freely and without concern or fear of retaliation. 

Conduct anonymous surveys and poll employees to solicit honest feedback. Instituting and communicating open-door policies is also beneficial.

12. Integrate DEI metrics into business performance

Use DEI metrics to discover areas of opportunity for improvement and track progress once you initiate change. Direct DEI indicators will help strengthen your commitment to the carefully curated initiatives you put into practice. By reinforcing that you’re dedicated to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace culture and environment, you’ll garner buy-in and get more people to take the endeavors seriously. 

Implement DEI initiatives and track how your company paces towards DEI goals by monitoring metrics like:

  • Pay equity 
  • Demographic composition rates
  • Hiring rates
  • Promotion rates
  • Development and training program participation
  • Customer feedback

13. Create safe spaces for dialogue and feedback

Employees need access to safe spaces to share feedback or concerns and discuss sensitive topics, especially those regarding diversity and inclusion efforts. People must be comfortable and confident that their input will be used appropriately and not have any fear of retaliation.

Encourage people to share their perspectives and reactions to a variety of topics. Offer employees a platform to share their feelings regarding things like major breaking news, industry hot topics, or internal issues in your organization. 

To handle change or unease about anything affecting workplace culture or morale, use progressive tactics like:

  • Seminars
  • Surveys
  • Polls
  • Town-hall-type meetings
  • One-on-one meetings 
  • Focus groups

Evaluate & evolve DEI strategies for sustained impact

Continuously evaluate and evolve your DEI strategies for successful, long-term organizational change. Improving and enhancing initiatives and efforts will offer the most impact.

Diversity, equity, and inclusive practices can pave the way toward fostering a positive workplace culture where everyone feels valued and included. The DEI examples here are just a starting point. They can serve as a compass to ensure every team member is represented and their needs are respected.

Offering mental health services — like the talk therapy services Talkspace provides — is one way to further DEI initiatives in the workplace. Businesses that partner with Talkspace find their employees are happier, more productive, and more willing to stay in their roles long-term. 

Learn more about how Talkspace can help you focus on DEI in your company today.

Sources:

  1. Minkin, Rachel. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, May 17, 2023. https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2023/05/17/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-the-workplace/.  
  2. Wronski, Laura. “CNBC: Surveymonkey Workforce Happiness Index: April 2021.” SurveyMonkey, 2021. https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/cnbc-workforce-survey-april-2021/.  
  3. “Benefits of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Apprenticeship Minnesota. Accessed February 13, 2024. https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/appr-dei.pdf.  
  4. Eby, Lillian T., Tammy D. Allen, Sarah C. Evans, Thomas Ng, and David L. DuBois. “Does Mentoring Matter? A Multidisciplinary Meta-Analysis Comparing Mentored and Non-Mentored Individuals.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 72, no. 2 (April 2008): 254–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2007.04.005. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352144/. Accessed February 13, 2024. 

More articles

The importance of mental health inclusion in the workplace

How to improve employee experience

More articles
Print