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How to Hold Your Company Accountable to Diversity

Making the decision to invest in diversity and inclusion is a great step toward creating an environment where employees are happier, highly engaged, and more productive. It can also greatly benefit the organization as a whole. Companies that make diversity and inclusion a priority can increase innovation and boost their overall bottom line. However, in order to reap these benefits and create a truly inclusive culture, it’s not enough to implement a diversity strategy. For long-term effects, it’s important that your company holds itself accountable.

7 Ways to Hold Your Company Accountable to Diversity 

1. Create goals and monitor progress

A culture of diversity and inclusion does not materialize overnight. In order to know if your organization is headed in the right direction, it’s important to create measurable goals and regularly analyze data to determine if you are meeting them. For example, if your goal is to make underrepresented populations a certain percentage of your workforce, you would create a plan to reach this goal and then regularly review your progress. This allows you to know where you are and adapt your plan as necessary.

Wondering where to start? Check out our Diversity Hiring Playbook: Bold Strategies for Equitable Hiring Across Every Candidate Touchpoint

2. Tackle one issue and build on it

You can’t tackle everything in the beginning. Work on one diversity goal, measure your results, fine-tune your approach as needed, and then use what you learned to tackle other objectives. The benefits are that everyone is laser-focused on the goals and you’re able to see strengths and weaknesses to easily adjust and pivot. 

3. Provide managerial training

Accountability in a company begins at the top—and diversity and inclusion are no exception. In order to help people effectively manage workers from different groups, it’s important for companies to provide leadership training that emphasizes diversity and inclusion. Employees need to learn the unique concerns of underrepresented groups, as well as address their own personal biases.

4. Survey employee attitudes.

Employees from untapped groups will have a very different view and experience of your company’s culture than their counterparts. It’s key to give them a strong voice that will ensure you remain accountable to them. By conducting anonymous surveys, you can get an idea of how much employees feel like they belong in your organization and what areas they feel you can improve upon. Although companies can create their own surveys, it’s best to get diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) experts to draft, administer, and interpret the surveys. They will know what questions to ask and how to effectively use the answers to make tangible changes.

5. Create a system for direct feedback

Anonymous surveys are great, but it’s also important for employees to be able to give feedback directly to their supervisors as issues arise. In order for your company to accomplish this, employees need to be encouraged to speak up without fear of retaliation, and managers must be receptive to listen. Honest conversations build an environment of trust. Employees need to also see that problems are dealt with in a timely manner. This goes a long way toward holding your organization accountable, and it will let current, as well as future employees, know that you’re dedicated to nurturing a culture of inclusion.

6. Change process for promotions

This step is especially critical for an organization that has a shortfall when it comes to underrepresented groups in managerial positions. To address this, your company can overhaul its process for promoting employees by focusing on the skills and characteristics of workers—all of which can be measured using a data-driven approach. This is a way to hold your company accountable for any unconscious bias that may creep in when leaders make decisions about advancement. Instead of leaders relying on their gut feelings, they’re relying on solid information and data.

7. Make sure everyone is on board

Yes, DEI starts at the top of any organization But in order for a company to be accountable to these principles, everyone has to be personally responsible. Make sure that everyone in your organization understands the importance of having an inclusive culture and has a space to challenge their own biases as needed. But don’t make anyone feel like they’re being punished or singled out; instead, stress that this is a team effort and everyone should work daily toward this goal. Show how it will ultimately benefit the entire organization.

Just like diversity and inclusion itself, accountability is a process—and you won’t be able to incorporate it into your culture overnight. However, over time, you can ensure that you take responsibility for inclusiveness in your company and make it part of how you operate on a daily basis.

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