Despite being universal and elevated, some values still don’t get as much attention and effective initiatives as they should. The pandemic forced us to confront these issues, revealing inequalities, bias, and exclusionary policies.
The past two years didn’t affect everyone equally. But that should be no surprise since disparities were present long before the COVID-19 crisis happened.
Lockdowns, layoffs, and healthcare issues only exacerbated the existing challenges, leaving us no room to close our eyes and ignore them. Moreover, marginalized groups were more likely to work in essential job roles during the pandemic, increasing their exposure to the virus and the odds of getting infected. They also face more barriers to accessing healthcare; even when they fall ill, getting adequate help is challenging.
Many experienced increased discrimination in the work environment or lacked the necessary support from their employers and coworkers. As a result, most business leaders promised to make a change and put inclusion at the forefront of their companies.
Nearly every large corporation has made admiring promises since 2020. They set high expectations, assuring their customers and employees things will change and inclusion would become an inseparable part of their cultures.
Even though these words sounded comforting and reassuring, many companies failed to turn them into long-lasting actions. According to WeForum, workplaces are not becoming significantly more diverse than before the pandemic.
Instead, DE&I efforts are stalling on the ground while remaining large in theory. Moreover, companies struggle with execution and ingraining these values into the company culture, leading to poor results.
While it’s easy to verbally proclaim a commitment to inclusion, making it a business priority is another story. According to an SHRM article, 80 percent of companies are going through motions and not holding themselves accountable. Although most business leaders understand DE&I isn’t about innovation but prioritizing diverse qualities and workforce, they are still not progressing fast enough.
Josh Bersin’s 2022 report has shown that things are more dire than one might assume. – Only 12 percent of companies among the report’s respondents hold their managers accountable for recruiting diverse candidates.
The report also found that 75 percent of companies don’t include DE&I in the company’s leadership development, and 76 percent have no diversity or inclusion objectives. However, not all hope is lost, as businesses still cultivate an inclusive company culture and have good DE&I strategies.
Sadly, these companies come to the spotlight much less than those failing their diversity efforts. But they need more exposure to encourage job seekers and employees and let them know there are always workplaces that understand the importance of diverse values.
Here are examples of such companies and what they’re doing right.
The American multinational corporation, American Express (AMEX), specializes in payment card services and has a stellar philosophy – inclusive workplaces always start from the top. They are committed to ensuring their employees are as diverse as their communities and customers.
This corporation values differences and believes unique experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds are vital to its success. Moreover, they foster inclusive company culture and an environment that nurtures everyone’s engagement.
That means American Express gives voice to all its employees and helps them thrive in the workplace. Because of that, they have mandatory DE&I training for their leaders, starting from VP positions.
These professionals are responsible for fostering inclusion and shaping inclusive values. For instance, they organize in small groups and brainstorm novel ways to improve DE&I.
But HR teams also regularly measure the impact of the American Express DE&I programs by encouraging employees to participate in surveys and organizing focus groups. That way, they get more profound insights into workers’ sentiments and understand whether diversity initiatives are efficient.
AMEX also invests in underrepresented talent, helps the advancement of women in the workplace, supports the LGBTQ+ community, and offers mentorship to their high-performing, multicultural colleagues. These programs have helped instill inclusion and diversity into the company culture, ensuring their promises always go beyond verbal commitment.
Autodesk is an American multinational software corporation and a global leader in design and technology. They’re dedicated to DE&I initiatives and nurturing a work environment where more people get a chance to imagine, design, and create a better world.
This corporation believes that diversity is crucial in driving creativity, unique ideas, and business growth. As a result, they foster inclusive company culture and welcome employees and customers from all walks of life.
Moreover, Autodesk has inclusive meeting tactics and ensures every worker feels included. They do their best to provide their remote employees the same engagement and work experience and share meeting materials and questions before the meeting starts.
Teleworkers also enjoy rotational working hours, providing flexibility to those working in different time zones. Autodesk acknowledges when someone has stellar ideas and always pays tribute to those who were the original creators.
But they also have a unique practice – Autodesk discourages workers from interrupting their coworkers and ensures everyone gets equal time to speak in the meetings.
Besides, Autodesk collaborates with international organizations to support young talent, especially those from vulnerable groups. Their company culture is based on belonging and inclusion, as they want everyone to feel welcome and happy to come to work.
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Avison Young is a global commercial real estate company that strives to improve people’s lives and support businesses’ growth. They have a people-first approach and believe their employees and customers help them differentiate their corporation.
Thus, they have efficient DE&I initiatives, such as a mentoring program to provide more support for their Employee Resource groups aimed at Black professionals, the Emerging Leaders program, their Women’s Network, and LGBTQ+ workers. Avison Young uses their mentoring program to connect employees with relevant mentors, sharing the same objectives, interests, and experiences.
Mentees and mentors meet monthly and use personalized resources to develop a meaningful connection. CEO Mark Rose received recognition from GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum for being an active supporter of women in the industry.
That recognition serves as a reminder of Avison Young’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion, efficient policies, and support for underrepresented groups. No wonder their corporate leadership is 40 percent women, and 25 percent of Avison Young’s board are women.
Chevron is an American multinational energy corporation with an impressive history of supporting DE&I. For instance, they were among the first who supported raising awareness and providing AIDS education in the work environment in 1986.
Moreover, they founded the Employee Resource Group in 1991 and developed their first affinity group, the PRIDE (Promote Respect, Inclusion & Dignity for Everyone) network. Chevron is often ahead of its time, and its 2005 10-page guidebook Transgender @ Chevron highlights that pioneering mindset.
No wonder they earned recognition from multiple organizations and publications, including EDGE certification, Corporate Equality Index, and Disability Equality Index. Chevron addresses racial equity through education, job creation, community and small business partnerships, and black talent and leadership development.
Moreover, this corporation was the first major incorporated energy company to include sexual orientation in its nondiscriminatory policies and offer domestic partner benefits to employees. Finally, Chevron requires Diversity Action Plans for almost every worker and has DE&I accountability metrics for their corporate executive management team.
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Merck & Co. is an American multinational pharmaceutical company from New Jersey. Diversity and inclusion are key to how they operate, drive competitive advantage, and engage with their workers.
They have a similar approach to American Express and ensure leaders across all levels participate in unconscious bias training. That experience helps the leaders understand they often judge people, including their employees, based on gender, age, race, or other demographic characteristics without realizing it.
Merck & Co. has various partnerships that help them drive inclusion, including the Paradigm for Parity coalition, The Valuable 500, and CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. Moreover, this corporation has GD&I learning and development programs, Global diversity & inclusion ambassador teams, and employee business resource groups.
Diversity and inclusion are a part of Merck & Co.’s company culture, which shows in every aspect. For example, they have 15.000 diverse global suppliers, and 51 percent of their 2018 hires were women.
Here’s how you can do the same and nurture diverse workplaces.
Real change is only possible and long-lasting if it comes from the top. If the leadership body lacks an understanding of DE&I or sees it as secondary, these programs and initiatives will be fruitless.
For instance, according to McKinsey, 70 percent of companies perceive diversity as critical for business success. Yet, only a few have translated that awareness into actual recognition and commitment.
After all, many companies have no DE&I policies, initiatives, and objectives that would shape the company culture and direct employees to strive toward these goals. But leaders must articulate particular actions and behaviors to convey the right message and let employees know what’s expected from them.
Companies can train their hiring teams and remind them that unconscious bias can affect recruitment before the promotion and hiring stages start unfolding. Results can be outstanding when the C-Suite makes diversity and inclusion a priority.
Citigroup Inc. decided to develop a new global operating team to guarantee accountability among its top leaders. Thanks to that, the representation of women increased from eight percent in 2014 to over 30 percent in 2019.
More companies should follow that approach and ensure their leaders advocate for diversity and understand its importance. Otherwise, it will be challenging to blend inclusion with company culture and inspire employees to prioritize the same values.
Indeed, executives and managers struggled to keep everything together during the pandemic. However, accountability, standards, and expectations should be the same for everyone, including the leadership.
Because of that, companies should set clear goals and programs that encompass every level and job position. But they should also track these efforts and ensure everyone has reasonable and easily understandable responsibilities.
Here are a few ideas on how to foster accountability:
Every program and initiative requires measures that help understand whether they’re effective. However, DE&I metrics are often challenging to set, as many HR professionals lack skills in putting them together. Plus, these KPIs often need background context and more clarification.
But that isn’t to say it’s impossible to determine DE&I metrics. For instance, you can leverage features within your ATS or collaborate with analytics experts.
Also, consider focusing on belonging and inclusion and defining an inclusion index four your dashboards. Finally, be transparent about your DE&I actions and explain how you assess your metrics and results.
Leverage employee and customer surveys and give your workers a platform to express their opinions and ideas on improving your DE&I programs. Their feedback will also provide insights into whether you successfully addressed diversity and inclusion gaps.
Include employees in brainstorming and encourage them to tell you what they believe is missing and whether your efforts are effective. But your customers can also be a stellar data source, as they can provide information about how your company treats diverse groups and how it communicates with people.
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Advanced technology can be your most significant support in nurturing an inclusive company culture and a diverse workforce. For instance, an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) can help you reach qualified candidates with different demographic characteristics and keep valuable data in one place while allowing you to be responsive all along the hiring process.
Besides helping you import profiles from LinkedIn and nurture regular communication, ATS also has AI recommendations. These data-driven suggestions can pinpoint the most suitable job applicants and help you choose the best match for your team and company culture while following the DE&I goals.
Enhance your DE&I efforts and reinforce your company culture with the help of numerous features Manatal’s ATS offers. Try it out today and start your 14-day Free Trial!