Three Ways to Center DEI in Team Building
Organizations that want to hire and retain diverse talent often struggle to attract candidates in those demographics because the company’s existing structures and practices are driving away those it’s trying to attract. Part of the solution to this problem is integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts into your team building processes.
Building DEI into the company culture will create a solid foundation for DEI practices to flourish while improving employee morale and belonging. The following steps can help you start centering diversity, equity, and inclusion into your team building practices to make your organization a just and equitable workplace for all.
Audit Hiring Practices
Attracting and fostering diverse talent starts with having inclusive hiring practices. Your organization should begin with an analysis of the company culture and all recruiting systems. Look for exclusive language in job postings and interview questions. Take a step back and consider where else online you could be posting job openings and if finding them, and applying to them, is accessible to all potential applicants.
You should also consider how human resources evaluates candidates and if there is a more equitable way to review applications. Simple actions such as removing candidate names during the screening process can create equity at the beginning phase of the evaluation process. You can also create a diverse interview group for hiring new team members so there is an array of perspectives on the hiring team. Be open as a team to checking bias at the door and not having side conversations about candidates.
Perform Inclusive Onboarding
When it comes to hiring and onboarding, your whole team needs to be aligned on your plans and agree to keep the process equitable and inclusive. Don’t try to discourage people from applying in your job descriptions, establish alignment and basic guidelines for how you review resumes, and ensure your hiring panel agrees on how you’re evaluating candidates. Once they’re on the team, if new hires don’t feel welcome and able to bring their own unique experience to their role, then your DEI initiatives will stall and eventually fall apart. All team members must feel welcome to be themselves at your organization.
Nurture employees and make it clear you’re invested in everyone’s success by having frequent, open conversations about their professional development and how you can work together to improve their work experience. Build empathy and listen to employees by having frequent check-in meetings to hear how things are going for them. It can be very helpful to have those more frequently with newer team members.
Top to Bottom DEI
Often, companies implement DEI committees that end up working in a vacuum. For the company culture to change, leaders and managers must lead by example. Start by familiarizing yourselves with and practicing DEI tactics by building it into your professional development and living those learnings in your organizational culture; your team will notice the change and appreciate it. Supporting the establishment of employee or business resource groups can internally support those who are in historically underrepresented communities and will build a better work culture from the inside.
Finally, establishing a zero-tolerance policy will help your culture thrive by mitigating micro and macro aggressions. Combining these efforts with hiring and onboarding practices can be effective at transforming your organization’s culture and practices to be more inclusive and equitable for everyone. Work hard as a team to make improvements and listen to how your team responds.
If you would like to further implement diversity, equity, and inclusion practices into your organizational culture, register for Building a Culture of Inclusion and Belonging (Online). This immersive program will you develop strategies that centralize DEI in lasting ways and communicate these values through multiple levels of operations.
This blog originally appeared on the website for the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development.