Make DE&I your priority, because pretending you care won’t cut it

Make DE&I your priority, because pretending you care won’t cut it

Diversity, equality and inclusivity should be your priority. Why? Because when scaleups don’t prioritize DE&I, they eventually don’t survive their competition. 

Without a clear intention and willingness to improve DE&I: your company will become less attractive to work for & your team will become less diverse. And this eventually will result in your business crashing down in burning flames.

But what are the main challenges standing in the way of companies prioritizing their DE&I efforts and how can these challenges be tackled? Continue reading to find out all about it!


Three challenges to overcome

  1. Diversity: lack of a shared definition. 
  2. Poor internal support. 
  3. Focusing on the wrong order.

So, let’s take a dive into what each of these challenges imply and how you can tackle them one by one.

Diversity: lack of a shared definition

The tricky thing with the term diversity is that it can have a different definition for different people. Especially for people who are less engaged with this topic, it’s most ‘common’ to look at diversity from a demographic perspective, as the media mostly write about discrimination based on gender, age, or race.


Practical tip: 

How to reveal your organizational definition of DE&I


Ask every single team member in the organization, either in the form of a survey or personal message, the following two questions:What does Diversity mean to you in one sentence?What does Inclusion and Equality mean to you in one sentence?
As a result, you should have a clear understanding of your team’s perception of D&I. We did that a while ago with our own team and these were the answers


Creating internal support: Safety vs. comfort

The unfortunate thing about DE&I is that, despite its urgency, most people won’t perceive this topic as urgent as they should. And that’s simply because it likely won’t affect them in their work.

All of us tend to care the most about things that make our professional lives more safe, easy or comfortable. In fact, it’s entirely normal we care about something like revenue numbers, as if there is not enough revenue – the company we work for won’t survive in the long run and we’ll be left jobless.

In contrast to this, DE&I can often feel like a touchy subject that not everyone within our surroundings feels equally comfortable with. Especially, if they are asked to express their personal opinions and feelings about it.

It essentially boils down to this – commercial projects grant us a feeling of safety, whereas talks about DE&I can often make us feel uncomfortable.  For this reason, internal support can only be created by focusing on people’s feeling of safety and comfort. Now, let me tell you how you can do it!

Safety

Making DE&I your priority, will not only lead to creating a more diverse team, but also as a result increase creativity, critical thinking and innovations eventually leading to better financial performance of the company. Did you know that organizations that have sustainable DE&I strategies also achieve up to 20% increase in terms of inclusion? This not only leads to greater employee engagement, but also to an increase in employees’ intent to stay. In contrast, when not focusing on DE&I, your team will become less diverse and your company will become overall  less attractive to work for. Thus, resulting in a decrease in financial performances, which can eventually endanger the whole existence of the company.

Comfort

In order to make people feel more comfortable and create a safe environment, here’s what you can do:

This visual represents a scale, a type of a question you can ask your employees about how comfortable they feel talking about DE&I.
The scale question

Start with a question you’re answering yourself first: ‘’On a scale from 1-10, with 1- being really comfortable, and 1 being really uncomfortable, how do you feel about having this conversation?’’ Now, answer this one yourself first. Consequently, you will see that other people will also start sharing this, as you took away the barrier.

This visual shows the elephant in the room, meaning that often talking about DE&I can be difficult even though it has many benefits.
Get the elephant out of the room

Never underestimate the power of being honest and vulnerable. If you are somewhat nervous to lead this
conversation, then why not share that with people in the room? It’s okay to admit that you’re also still a bit clueless here, as long as your intentions are good.

After doing this, I am convinced that your team members will feel more comfortable and dare to open up more. You can’t ensure equal hiring opportunities if team members don’t see each other as equal. And you can’t create an Employer Brand that makes everyone feel like they are  welcomed with open arms, if your hiring process doesn’t ensure equal opportunities. 

Preventing the wrong order: The opposite lifecycle

We attract, hire, onboard, retain and offboard our employees – that’s probably the shortest explanation of the employee lifecycle. Eventually, a solid DE&I strategy should result in the fact that DE&I is a focus in each and every stage of the employee lifecycle. But, as I mentioned before, you can’t start with everything at the same time – so prioritizing correctly is key. 

The thing is that DE&I only works when approaching this from the inside out, meaning that you start with the current team, before attracting new team members.

Or in other words: the opposite order of the employee lifecycle. And that’s because DE&I goals are different for each stage, but also depend on each other:

Stage

Attract


Hire


Onboard/retain

DE&I goal

Everyone, regardless of their demographics, preferences, personality, and so forth, feels like this company would welcome them with open arms.

Everyone, regardless of their demographics, preferences, personality, and so forth, gets an equal opportunity to showcase themselves and to get hired.

Everyone, regardless of their demographics, preferences, personality, and so forth, is and feels equally appreciated and involved.


How Equalture’s hiring tool promotes DE&I

Here at Equalture, we firmly believe in the power of technology to help overcome the greatest challenges – and DE&I is definitely one of them. We are also deeply passionate about removing bias from the hiring process. In order to achieve this, by using  neuroscientific games you can objectively reveal the skills and behaviours of both your current team and your candidates, with the aim to judge people based on science instead of gut feeling. 

Having such a tool in place helps you with the hiring stage, but also with the attract stage, as you can communicate that everyone gets an equal opportunity to showcase themselves and that everyone also gets evaluated based on that. And this is just one of the many examples of how technology can be of help to boost DE&I! And trust me – there are many benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace!

Curious to see how we can help you? Get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to help you make DE&I your priority!

Cheers, Anete

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