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The 5 P’s of DEI

Your organization realizes that DEI is the future of work. You’ve gotten a DEI buy-in from leadership and it has even dedicated funds to increasing the diversity of your workforce. That’s fantastic, but simply recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion is not enough. You need a plan of action, and you need to demonstrate to talent that you’re putting your energy where your rhetoric, and even your money, is. Whether you've just started out with your first diversity recruitment plan or you're looking for ways to improve hiring and retention results, the following are five P’s of DEI to keep in mind.

5 P's of DEI 

1. Policies

Your DEI plan is always going to start with the policies that your organization adopts, so they have to be accommodating to the unique needs of the entire workforce. For example, workers today are looking for organizations offering the benefits most important to them. From coverage for fertility treatments to gender affirming services to flexible work schedules, companies should craft policies that will be attractive to an array of talent. Even something that sounds off-the-wall like pet insurance is going to be a huge perk to a certain segment of the workforce, so no matter how unusual certain benefits may seem at first blush, they will add value to your employer brand as potential candidates become interested in working for the company. Remember that your policies are the fabric of your culture, so if you want to create an environment that celebrates DEI, you need policies that consider everyone's unique experience.

2. Practices

The practices your company utilizes are one of the ways your policies come to life—and they can make or break your DEI efforts. When it comes to recruiting, the practices companies use throughout the hiring process can communicate to candidates whether or not it’s the kind of organization they want to work for. Things like providing interview questions to all job candidates in advance, building a website that’s easy for all users to read, and personalizing communication with applicants can go a long way toward letting talent know that you care about their success. Creating a good candidate experience is the first indication that a company values its workers, so it’s important not to alienate anyone in the hiring funnel.

But the practices don't end when employees are hired. The onboarding process is really where the rubber meets the road in terms of how new employees are going to experience an organization. This is where new hires start to really observe if a company is dedicated to not only attracting historically underserved groups of talent, but also treating workers fairly and giving them equal access to opportunities. As a result, onboarding practices need to be an extension of your DEI goals.

3. Programs

Programs in an organization are another way to shape employee experience in the workplace. One of the most important programs workplaces can offer is unconscious bias training for all employees, so they learn how their subconscious assumptions may influence their decision making and behavior towards people from different groups. Another way to support DEI through programs is to establish employee resource groups, which allow workers from different untapped backgrounds to get together and share their experiences and feelings about the company.

4. Partnerships

Creating partnerships with organizations that cater to the needs of people from underrepresented communities is helpful on multiple fronts: Not only does this show that a company has commitment to diversity and inclusion, it also gives each member of the workforce the opportunity to learn about untapped groups. Companies can organize volunteer days so every employee can participate in helping underserved communities, or partnering charities can come into the workplace to deliver education programming on the challenges people from these groups face.

In addition, partnerships are an important part of recruiting employees from historically underrepresented groups. When companies partner with professional or campus organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of specific demographics, they can gain visibility with these communities and fill their hiring pipeline with the talent they're looking for.

5. Public Accountability

Public accountability is how organizations prove that DEI is important to them. It's not enough for companies to make public declarations claiming how much they care about diversity and inclusion; they need to show potential candidates exactly how their rhetoric measures up to the reality of their workplace. Companies often do this by sharing workplace diversity data on their website so applicants can see exactly how different communities are represented in their workforce. Also, being transparent about policies, practices, programs, and partnerships lets talent know exactly what a company is doing to boost DEI.

Although making these five P’s of DEI part of your business practice isn't easy, it is necessary. These aren't things that are nice to do, they are a must because talent will judge your organization by these standards—and if you're not meeting them, job seekers have no problem going elsewhere. 

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