We believe retention is directly connected to how well employees feel supported and heard. Your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy is an authentic way to foster these feelings and keep more employees on staff. Enhancing DE&I efforts is not just a trend, but also a necessary way for your business to attract and keep talented people during this time of global uncertainty.
3 DE&I initiatives for your company
Though every company should implement a strategy based on their unique needs, these 3 DE&I initiatives are an excellent start to your short-term strategy.
1. Diversify hiring practices
The best way to take advantage of a wide talent pool is to seek new hires who bring something different to your company. You should consider how each applicant’s life experience can relate to your mission and vision. Remember that in order to attract a diverse customer base, they should be able to see themselves reflected in your company.
Look for qualities that can't be taught. Most employers seek people with drive, problem-solving skills, curiosity and resiliency, which are especially common in diverse populations. Furthermore, companies who hired more people with ethnic, racial and gender diversity reported above-average financial returns.2 When you focus on an individual’s experiences and strengths, you can base your hiring decision on their potential for success.
2. Structure purposeful mentoring
Your DE&I plan should not end with the hiring process. To ensure that your employees receive equal chances for advancement, you should provide each person with the same training and guidance. Ideally, new hires should connect with senior employees they can relate to, making interactions more comfortable. This means that your organization's leadership, not just its employees, needs to represent diversity.
We believe that the support of leadership is critical to an employee’s decision to stay or leave their job. In fact, in the three months before they left, over half of employees who left their position said that no one in management even talked with them about their job satisfaction.1 And in most cases, something could have been done to prevent an employee from leaving their position, but there was no intervention. To avoid this missed opportunity, we suggest the following approaches to regular conversations with your workforce:
- Recognize employee performance
- Talk through their experiences on the job
- Ask about their challenges and what support they need from you to overcome them
- Invite them to speak about how they are experiencing your company’s culture
3. Invest in continuing education
Diverse populations are often impacted by inequalities that influence their work performance, especially when it comes to access to higher education. If you can provide education benefits to your employees, you’ll see improved engagement and better work. It’s a win-win.
Tuition assistance programs are a great way for you to give your employees access to higher education and career advancement. But tuition assistance is just one way to invest. You might also think about:
- Training workshops.
- Rewards for professional development milestones.
- Discounts on certification classes.
- Partnerships with educational institutions.
Whichever DE&I initiatives you choose, they should come from an in-depth assessment of your employees and their experiences. Ultimately, authentic DE&I programs respond to specific opportunities and protect your most valuable asset: people.
Wiley Beyond partners with forward-thinking enterprises to increase talent mobility through transformative education, including access to resources created by experts. For more information about cultivating long-term DE&I initiatives, you can explore Wiley Beyond's eBook, "The Transformation of Corporate Diversity: An expert's guide on the intersection of education and DE&I."