Ways to Make Real Progress on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Following the 2020 murder of George Floyd, companies around the world pledged to focus more on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many set diversity targets and rushed to hire chief diversity officers to implement DEI programs.
But despite these efforts, there’s a lot more work to be done. Women account for less than a third of leadership roles in most countries, according to LinkedIn data. Black employees in the U.S. make up 14% of the workforce, but account for only 4% to 5% of senior level positions, while Hispanic individuals represent 19% of the U.S. population but only 4% of senior executive positions. In Asia, many companies are falling short in fostering an LGBTQ+-friendly environment, an AXA Asia survey found. And it is estimated that in Europe it will take another 60 years to close the gender gap (a measure across multiple dimensions, including economic opportunity, educational attainment, and political empowerment).
What actions can employers take to achieve their DEI goals? We gathered practical tips from DEI experts that can help you diversify your workforce, foster an inclusive culture, and retain diverse talent.
Take steps to improve your diversity hiring strategy
Hold leaders accountable for advancing diversity
While stating that you want to hire more Black employees or promote more women might be well-intentioned, you won’t make much progress without enlisting the support of senior executives. A growing number of companies, including Salesforce, Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, are doing just that by tying executive compensation to meeting diversity targets. Nearly all of Europe’s major banks incorporate diversity and inclusion metrics into executive pay decisions, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Sodexo has developed diversity scorecards for its managers in North America. These scorecards measure both quantitative metrics like recruiting and retention, as well as qualitative metrics like how often managers participate in activities such as mentoring. The results are reviewed monthly and are used to help determine bonuses.
By linking pay to meeting diversity goals, organizations not only incentivize leaders to focus on DEI, but they also signal the importance of DEI to the entire organization.
Focus on skills, not schools
If you’re evaluating job seekers based on the degrees they have and the schools they attended, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on desirable candidates from underrepresented groups.
IBM, Merck, LinkedIn, and other employers are taking a skills-first hiring approach that drops degree requirements for some positions. Last year, LinkedIn saw a 21% increase in job postings that advertise skills and responsibilities instead of qualifications and requirements in the U.S.
Adopt a diverse candidate slate policy
How can you open the door to groups that have been shut out in the past? One way is to adopt a diverse candidate slate policy that requires a certain number of people from diverse backgrounds be considered for any given job.
Diverse candidate slates, which are based on the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” are becoming increasingly popular. Citi, for instance, recently expanded its use of diverse slates, requiring that at least two women or U.S. minorities interview for U.S.-based roles and at least two women interview for global roles at assistant vice president and managing director levels.
Partner with organizations and institutions that can help you widen your pipeline
Establishing a pipeline of prospective employees from diverse backgrounds can be a challenge. Organizations and institutions that cater to underrepresented groups can provide you with a gateway to your desired candidates.
In an effort to source more diverse talent, more U.S. companies have prioritized recruitment from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Other types of Minority Serving Institutions such as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) can also help you source candidates. It’s also worthwhile learning about organizations that help employers connect to Indigenous talent such as Indigenous Works in Canada, Native People’s Recruit and Nativehire.org in the U.S., and Aboriginal Employment Strategy in Australia.
Close the pay gap
No employer is truly inclusive unless it pays everyone the same amount for comparable work regardless of who they are. Follow the lead of companies like L’Oréal. The Paris-based cosmetics company not only measures and monitors pay across gender, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and LGBTQ identity, the results are audited by a third party.
Salesforce audits its pay inequities annually and has spent more than $22 million since 2015 to close the gaps. The company recently expanded its definition of pay to include stock awards. “We’ve been on our equal pay journey for the better part of a decade, but we’re nowhere near the finish line,” Salesforce states on its website. “We’ll continue to prioritize equal pay and advocate for pay fairness.”