Why You Need a DE&I Plan in 2022

The Millennial and Gen Z generations are the most diverse in American history.

Baby Boomers are 76 percent white, whereas the millennial generation is only 56 percent white. Diversity continues to increase with Gen Z as well, with the percentage of Hispanic, Black, Asian, American Indian, and mixed-race higher than ever before.[1] As more Baby Boomers continue retiring and the Millennial and Gen Z workforce population increases, what can we expect?

In short, expect businesses to become more diverse whether they want to or not. And they should want to! Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives foster employee engagement, provide a broader scope of perspectives, and increase profits by opening the door to more markets. Diversity is also a priority for job seekers, with 67 percent of those surveyed by Glassdoor reporting diversity as an important factor when considering employment opportunities.[2] Thus, having a diverse workforce will attract more talent.

Especially when considering the perspective change of employees and employers over the last few years, it’s vital for organizations to embrace diversity and to incorporate DE&I strategies into their business model so they can attract the best talent. The challenge is knowing how to do it right.

Common DE&I Mistakes to Avoid

Creating a DE&I strategy might seem straightforward, but there are common missteps that need to be avoided at all costs. For example, hiring just for the appearance of diversity can be detrimental because it creates a feeling of tokenism. Tokenism is diversity without inclusion. Imagine being a member of an underrepresented community who is hired for a leadership role, then realizing that you were not hired for your ideas or merits, but rather as a token to fill the diversity quota.[3]

The difference between diversity and inclusion is an important distinction to know. Diversity is about the people you hire, and inclusion is about creating a culture of acceptance and respect for the people you hire. According to a Gallup study, 45 percent of workers reported experiencing some form of discrimination or harassment in the last 12 months.[4] Many come from diverse organizations, but those organizations lack equity and inclusion.

Diversity is a strategy that will pay dividends to an organization, but only if paired with equity and inclusion.

The Best DE&I Strategies to Get Started Right Now

A successful DE&I strategy must start from the top and work its way down from there. Upper management has the power to create DE&I initiatives, make them an integral part of an organization’s culture, and keep the organization accountable. According to SHRM, several components are needed to create a strategic plan for DE&I in your business once the executive level is on board. A couple of the most significant focal points are:

  • Recruitment and Sourcing
  • Onboarding
  • Training and Development

These three building blocks will help any organization infuse DE&I into its DNA.

DE&I recruitment and sourcing strategies are about filling available jobs with a collective mixture of individuals with different characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, and backgrounds.[5] By starting with recruitment and sourcing, you’ll immediately start creating a more diverse team. However, as stated above, diversity for the sake of diversity is not enough.

That’s why onboarding and training are so important as well. Onboarding is one of the first opportunities to make new employees feel welcome and understand their role in the organization. Ongoing education and training can be designed to ensure all team members have the tools they need to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment. Education can help current team members understand the benefits of a diverse and inclusive work environment, help them be better allies to coworkers, and foster a more inclusive and productive work environment.

The world is getting more diverse, and the organizations that don’t embrace DE&I strategies will have a lot of catching up if they don’t act soon.

If you’re a company looking for highly-skilled talent to join you on your journey towards a more diverse and inclusive culture, or you’re a candidate looking for a positively impactful business whose culture aligns with your values, AppleOne has the tools, resources, and experience to make your vision a reality. Learn more about how AppleOne can partner with you and meet your unique needs at www.appleone.com.

[1] https://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/diversity-millennials-boomers/

[2] https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity/

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/danabrownlee/2019/09/15/the-dangers-of-mistaking-diversity-for-inclusion-in-the-workplace/?sh=3b3282404d86

[4] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/215939/invest-diversity-inclusion.aspx?utm_source=link_wwwv9&utm_campaign=item_236264&utm_medium=copy

[5] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-forms/pages/guide-to-developing-a-strategic-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-plan.aspx#:~:text=%E2%80%8BA%20strategic%20diversity%2C%20equity,sustainable%20culture%20and%20work%20environment.

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