Diversity, equality, and inclusion. How many times have we all heard those words in the past few years? It’s fair to say that DEI is becoming one of the core values most organisations try to implement into their workplaces. Even for numerous job seekers, these values seem to matter – as 67% of the surveyed told Harver that a diverse workforce can be a decisive factor when evaluating job offers.
The problem is that successfully becoming more DEI-friendly is not a piece of cake. Perhaps because many consider DEI just another policy that must be followed – sometimes even blindly.
That’s why some companies make sure to hire enough people representing diverse backgrounds and then rest on their laurels. We got our quota, so the job is done – right? Unfortunately, no. Diversity, equality, and inclusion are three separate concepts that need to coexist to work properly.
So, what do these terms mean in a work context? Let’s define them briefly to understand how to make them a part of your brand’s strategy.
What is diversity, equality & inclusion in the workplace?
Diversity – is about acknowledging our differences and embracing them. Instead of sticking to a homogenous workplace of people, step out of our comfort zone and team up with diverse people. Mind you that diversity is more than gender or race; it has many faces. It relates to anything from religion, sexuality, or even political beliefs.
Equality – is about assuring that all your employees have equal opportunities to grow and thrive. Equality in the work context relates not only to the same opportunities to get a job, promotion, or pay rise. Sometimes it’s as simple as being able to speak up freely. If you want to pride yourself on being a brand advocating for equality, nepotism or favouritism can’t have any right of existence.
Inclusion – is strictly connected with one of our basic human needs – the sense of belonging. Have you ever had a great job but just ‘didn’t vibe’ with the team? I have. And no matter how fantastic the job was, I couldn’t enjoy it. Inclusion at work is about showing people they’re accepted, valued, and needed. That way, your workplace will be a place worth showing up at. And not quitting!
How to embrace diversity, inclusion, and equality in your workplace?
Diversity, equality, and inclusion are all interconnected, and all of them need to be present simultaneously for you to benefit from them fully. Without inclusion and equality, no number of diverse candidates will help – as they’ll simply leave faster than you hired them.
And yet, only 11% of organisations surveyed by Deloitte have strategies that help them be more inclusive.
Surface-level gestures and empty words won’t be enough to ensure your workplace is fair, inclusive, and diverse. You need to take a close look at your environment, acknowledge certain obstacles, and face them – even if it takes a while to see changes!
This blog post suggests a few strategies you can implement to get the best benefits of DE&I within your organisation.
1. Minimise the gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is simply the difference between average hourly earnings for men and women. Although the equal pay for equal work principle was introduced 65 years ago in the Treaty of Rome, and things have been changing for a while now, the statistics show that the issue is still present.
- In the EU, the gender pay gap stands at 14.1% – meaning that women earn 14.1% less per hour than men on average
- In Denmark, the gap is slightly bigger – almost 15%
- The average female employee loses over $530,000 in her lifetime because of the pay gap
- For women, hourly wages top off between 35-44. For men, their wages rise until around the age of 45.
- Less than 8% of top companies’ CEOs are women
There is no one single reason behind the issue. But it is a complex one and doesn’t go unnoticed.
Wildgoose conducted a study involving employees from 117 workplaces. The results show that 75% of female workers point at gender pay equality as a major concern for them, making it the most important DE&I concern.
How can you, on the organisational level, help reduce the gap?
A: Be open about wages
Secrecy around compensation is one of the biggest drivers of inequality and may lead to resentment in the workplace and even turnover. As shown by one report, people who suspect there’s a pay gap are 16% less likely to stay at the job. Hence, the best thing you can do is be transparent about wages.
For every position in your company, report the minimal and maximal wage you offer, so anyone can see if the number on their contract checks out. That will give your employees a sense of fairness and remove much of the potential inequalities.
B: Be transparent about promotion
Be open about processes and criteria for the promotion. Is it the length of employment? Extraordinary results? Or always keeping deadlines? Help your employees understand what managers consider when making their decisions and what is required to succeed.
C: Encourage salary negotiation
Some employees may feel hesitant about asking for a rise – even if they feel it’s well-earned. Propose acceptable salary ranges. By doing so, employees will know what they can reasonably expect and feel less intimidated. That will minimise the situations where a group of more self-confident workers manages to get a pay rise every X month, while others hardly ever do it.
2. Fair recruitment to increase diversity & give equal chances
When going through a pile of applications, it can be nearly impossible to give every candidate the attention they deserve. Moreover, your evaluation may be affected by how busy your schedule is, that you’re in a bad mood, or even the biases you have – whether they’re conscious or not. And you’re not an exception! Unfair hiring happens all the time and, unfortunately, undermines your recruitment goals.
As found in a 2004 study, racism and bias are present in the hiring processes. In the study, the researchers submitted five thousand resumés. Their goal was to test the impact a name had on job interview opportunities. As it turned out, applicants with more white-sounding names received 50% more job interview invites than those in the other group.
Bias in the hiring process is not a myth. It can take various forms (gender, age, background, looks), but it’s there, and we’re becoming very much aware of it. In fact, 96% of recruiters see unconscious bias as a problem. A problem that only heightens the need for new recruiting strategies.
A: Blind the resumé…or remove it completely?
A method to fight that problem that’s been gaining more and more recognition is using blind resumés. It’s only natural when we consider that 77% of recruiters believe that removing personal information from CVs would effectively reduce unconscious bias. But is that really enough?
If you’re keen on the idea of blinding resumés, we encourage you to go a step further. Remove them completely. As we’ve discussed it already in the past, resumés aren’t the best at predicting future performance anyways. What you need is a method testing if a candidate has the skills you’re looking for. So test for that!
Case-based screening has been proven to be the most precise available recruitment method. The benefits?
- gives your candidates a chance to preselect themselves -saving you time and money,
- allows you to test-drive a candidate – so you’re not buying a cat in a bag,
- and heavily reduces the amount of potential bias. In fact, the companies that used our software report a 62% increase in diverse candidates!
An excellent example of how letting one’s skills speak for themselves helps your diversity goals in a natural way is a Princeton/Harvard study. They found that when symphonies turned to blind auditions for musicians, suddenly female candidates were 50% more likely to make it past the first round!
We can’t quickly change how we think. But we can acknowledge that our thinking may at times be faulty and act against it. Trying an alternative recruitment method will help you ensure your recruitment is equal, inclusive, and fosters diversity.
3. Foster the sense of belonging – inclusion on board!
Generally, we spend more time at work than we do with our families. That being said, as an employer, you should make sure the workplace that is our second home makes us feel like we belong there.
After all, the sense of belonging is one of our primary human needs. It makes us thrive, boosts motivation and increases happiness. Moreover, as agreed by 75% of employees, healthy company culture drives their active engagement at work.
Indeed, as reported by Josh Bersin’s study, if workers feel like they belong in the workplace, you can reap substantial benefits such as:
- 56% increase in performance
- 50% drop in turnover
- And even a 75% reduction in sick leaves!
To foster a sense of belonging among your employees, you need to ensure they feel supported, valued, and respected. Luckily, there are ways you can do it regularly.
A: Feedback & support
The power of feedback is undeniable yet often underestimated. It’s the exact form of communication that helps us grow, but it also assures that the communication is there, to begin with. I perform my task, hence sending a signal, and it’s only natural to expect a signal in return. If there’s none, we feel neglected or ignored.
In the past, we talked in detail about the importance of feedback for your candidates. But it shouldn’t end once the contract is signed. On the contrary – it should be even more present!
The same goes for support. To feel like we belong somewhere, we need to feel that we can rely on others. Be there for everybody, don’t let anyone feel left behind.
According to TINYpulse, high performers rate the level of support they get at an 8/10, while low performers are a bit less optimistic. They place it at 6.8/10. If you only give more support to your ‘best’ employees, the others will soon start sensing inequalities.
C: Bring inclusion to your meetings
Your best chance to be inclusive is during team meetings. That’s when you have all – or most – of your team in the same place!
Some people aren’t great at coming up with new ideas ad hoc, which doesn’t mean they don’t have any. To help with that, and give everybody an equal chance to speak up, share an agenda with points to discuss before the meeting. That way, more people might speak up. Or at least – everyone will feel treated equally.
Another tip is to invite inclusion to your meetings and try to engage everybody in the discussion. While discussing a topic, you go around the room (or zoom chats) and ask every present person to contribute. Anyone can either add something or pass. That way, you acknowledge everybody, give them an equal opportunity to speak up, but also respect their boundaries – they’re not forced to say anything.
Don’t talk – act!
To have a fully diverse, inclusive, and fair workplace, you need to take those concepts and translate them into actions you apply daily at your company. The three tips we gave you today won’t be implemented in a day, but they’re not groundbreaking either. And, most importantly, they’ll work. So why not give them a go?