October 24, 2021

Global diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I) awareness is at an all-time high, largely due to the social justice movements of 2020.

According to the newly released 2021 Excellence in Risk Management Report from Marsh and RIMS, almost a third of risk professionals think that their DE&I progress has improved significantly over the last five years.

Martin South, president, U.S. and Canada Division, Marsh, said: “As society continues to grapple with inequities highlighted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and other recent events, creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive corporate culture is critical.

“Now, more than ever, effective risk management requires organisations to embrace diverse opinions. Advancing DE&I is not just the right thing to do – it’s imperative to businesses’ viability and growth.”

However, having a DE&I programme isn’t enough: forty-five percent of those surveyed said that while their company has an established DE&I programme, little progress has been made. Meanwhile more than half of respondents said that DE&I is not a priority within their organisation.

All of which suggests a ‘checkbox approach’ to DE&I efforts indicating that there’s still much more to be done if companies and organisations are ever to achieve their DE&I goals.

So how can companies deliver on their DE&I priorities? After all, we all know that having a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only the right thing to do morally, but is also good for business. Here are some steps to consider.

Lead from the top
Impactful DE&I strategies start with the CEO taking a positive stance. For a shining example, look to PwC’s U.S. chairman, Tim Ryan, who co-founded CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion after police shootings in America throughout the summer of 2016 to spur business executives to collective action on DE&I. In 2020 PwC published its workforce diversity data which revealed that women and people of colour are underrepresented indicating that even the most dedicated of companies still have plenty of DE&I work to do.

If you’re reading this and part of your organisation’s upper management, don’t forget to keep asking your CEO questions regarding the progress your company is making on DE&I goals and hold the leaders accountable for driving DE&I outcomes.

Reach out to experts
Bringing DE&I speakers to discuss a wide range of topics from race relations to gender equity and disability equality can be an effective DE&I strategy for your organisation. Recognised DE&I speakers and experts such as Torin Ellis and Gary Elden can help your company tackle any unconscious biases and gain exposure to diverse perspectives.

Organise a DE&I event
Another way to raise awareness of DE&I is to arrange an event. Case in point? Google teamed up with The Female Quotient in 2018 for coaching and panel discussions while Adobe used this year’s Black History Month to highlight Black employees who live and breathe innovation in everything they do. Meanwhile, Microsoft hosts DigiGirlz Day, an annual event giving school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.

Measure the impact of DE&I initiatives
“What gets measured gets done.” Check how your DE&I efforts are faring through employee feedback via a survey and by releasing annual diversity reports detailing your workforce composition.

And you don’t need to be a data scientist to get started. In the words of Victor Assad, CEO of Victor Assad Strategic HR Consulting: “Just start. The data is just sitting there. Most companies just need to look at it. You don’t need advanced technology or the skills of Bill Gates. All you need to do is start—collect the data and use a simple spreadsheet. The rest will follow."

Focus on recruitment
Promoting diversity in the workplace starts at the very beginning – by pledging to make your Job Ads unbiased and inclusive. In doing so you’ll ensure every qualified candidate feels welcome to apply for your roles – and consequently will reap the rewards of a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

The problem? Crafting a well-written, highly-optimised Job Ad, with bias reduced, that will inform, educate, enlighten and inspire suitable candidates to hit 'apply’ is harder than you think.

Chances are that your business, like almost every other, just doesn't have the required internal capability and experience to write a Job Ad with DE&I in mind.

And why should you? HR and TA folk aren't copywriters, content editors, DE&I specialists, and Job Ad optimisers. That's our job and our automated SaaS technologies role.

If you’re struggling to make the change, talk to us. It takes an intentional focus to unbiased those recruitment processes and we can help.

Daniel Fellows