See All Blog Posts

First Steps: Making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Part of Your Company’s DNA 

Posted On11/23/2020

ContributorSheri Pepper

Diversity, equity, and inclusion: they’re admirable and obvious goals – and ones that work environments large and small are re-evaluating against the topic of racial equity in the workplace.  

In recent months, organizations have become re-energized to build strong company cultures that embody these goals and encourage diverse employee poolsgrounded in equal treatment, mutual success, and a fully engaged workforce.

Getting started

It’s widely accepted that implementation of a DEI plan can lead to improvetalent acquisition, creativity, innovation, revenue, and reputation. But for companies lacking a DEI roadmap, where is the best place to begin? How can leaders ensure that everyone within the organization feels comfortable participating in racial equity conversations? How does an organization know if its efforts will yield desired results? 

 DEI Webinar Visual

To get started, watch our October 2020 webinar
“Race Relations and Your Business: Making DEI Part of Your Company’s DNA.
Be sure to download our speakers’ presentations after you watch the webinar. 

The importance of safe space

During the webinar, Connia Nelson, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for LifeWay Christian Resources, emphasized the importance of establishing a safe space for talking about DEI topics.  

All stakeholders should understand that the process may create discomfort and hard discussions may occur. But by setting expectations at the outset, an organization lays the groundwork for producing lasting change.   

Ask questions

During her presentation, Connia also suggested that to initiate the DEI discussion, leadership teams should ask the following:  

• How is leadership helping employees learn, grow, and understand the ways in which they can create and influence a culture of diversity?
• Is the current environment open and safe for honest conversations?
• Are leaders aware of their own behaviors and biases?
• How is diverse talent included in business planning, product development, and business execution?
• Do leaders regularly evaluate compensation and promotion discrepancies?
• Is the company’s DEI success based on a wholistic evaluation of DEI metrics or on the number of diversity demographics alone?

Build a DEI plan

Once leadership has a good picture of the company’s current environmentit can move forward to the planning phase. Connia recommended that companies: 

• Base their diversity, equity, and inclusion plan on the company’s mission and values
• Assess the company’s current culture for diversity and inclusion
• Develop a DEI mindset from the top down
• Develop diverse talent at all levels
• Embed diversity in every aspect of the business
• Measure what you want to achieve
• Create an actionable DEI plan that moves from compliance to commitment
• Evaluate and adjust the plan for future success

Keep it strategic

Making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of your organization’s DNA requires a systematic approach that is strategic in nature and goes beyond doing what is right. Organizations that embrace DEI as integral to their company culture, business strategy, talent management, and metrics take the first step in realizing equity in the workplace and creating an environment where all employees can grow and thrive.  

If you want to learn how Nelson can support your DEI efforts and help you build a diverse workforce, contact us today. We’re here to help.