[author: Katie Saba]
The importance of DEI spans the entirety of your business, from hiring the best talent to retaining employees by consistently evaluating and improving organizational culture. Even the employees and stakeholders who do not belong to traditionally marginalized groups increasingly look for companies that prioritize a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment.
In 2022, taking a hard look at your DEI plans and practices should be at the top of your list. First and foremost, do they exist? Secondly, are they effective? And most importantly, what more can you incorporate into your DEI strategy that will help improve your company culture even further? The following emerging trends will help guide you in your DEI assessment.
Using Artificial Intelligence in the recruiting process
One up and coming practice that will be incredibly useful for recruiters and hiring managers is the use of Artificial Intelligence. A recent PWC study, found that 86% of major US corporations now predict that AI will become a mainstream technology at their company this year. Recruiters who are currently using AI in recruiting have found that it can be the most helpful with sourcing candidates, screening candidates, and nurturing candidates. Additionally, AI in recruitment helps to reduce biases from the earliest stages of the hiring process.
About utilizes Diversity Sourcing powered by ThisWay Global to save you loads of time and help you reach highly qualified candidates while eliminating common biases. Diversity Sourcing automatically ranks candidates based on how well their skills match your job requirements, reviews the job description to remove potential biases before posting, and provides blind candidate screening by redacting things like ethnicity, gender, age, education, and other identifying factors that don ‘t relate to qualification.
Incorporating diversity in hiring goals and strategies
Simply reaching a diverse group of qualified candidates isn’t the end goal – demonstrating the reality of DEI as a practice in your business is just as important. A well-defined DEI statement is a great place to start. But instead of creating a statement full of “legalese” and diversity jargon, use language that resonates with your mission, brand, and values.
On top of that, it is important to offer real world examples of how DEI plays a part in your organization every day in the employee experience, within leadership, career development, marketing and branding, and community engagement. This should be expressed on your website as well as discussed thoroughly with candidates during the hiring process.
Recognizing mental health in the workplace
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of mental health in the workplace has become an increasingly urgent priority. Mental health experiences are very diverse, and those who manage these experiences are often faced with stigma and discrimination. In fact, 69% of employees hide their condition from coworkers, and 8 in 10 say the stigma keeps them from seeking treatment.
A successful DEI program requires policy development and strategic plans that advocate for mental health challenges in the workplace, not only for those who have preexisting mental health conditions, but for all employees. Some of the biggest workplace factors that can negatively impact mental health include stressful, overwhelming, or monotonous work leading to burnout, a lack of appropriate work-life balance, poor communication practices, and a low sense of support and acknowledgment.
It’s important for companies to prioritize true culture change rather than enacting temporary, surface-level solutions. Things like extra paid time off, company-wide mental health days, and mental health training have grown since the pandemic, but one study showed that what employees desired most was a more open culture surrounding mental health.
Revisiting and revising DEI plans for effectiveness
Because DEI is continuing to grow more prominent both for company benefit and to meet employee expectations, all businesses should revisit their plans and programs this year and determine if there is anything that needs revising to be more effective for everyone. Strategies for doing so include:
- Revamping job descriptions to confirm minimum qualifications, focus on abilities, and use inclusive language
- Reviewing the selection process for potential bias and disparate impact
- Diversifying the recruitment marketing plan and reviewing the onboarding process
- Conducting a Diversity Climate Assessment and a pay equity analysis
- Reviewing and updating the HR manual / employee handbook
- Creating forums for discussion of DEI (roundtable discussions, brown bag lunches and dialogues, surveys)
Ultimately, the main goal of DEI is to focus on belonging. Companies should always be considering how they can ensure everyone in the company feels included and is bringing their authentic selves to work.