Creating a diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy for a business is more than just a simple box-ticking exercise. It requires ongoing commitment to ensure standards are met, new ideas are considered, and employees understand their rights. In this article, we look at effective ways to develop a D&I action plan for your business.

It takes effort to ensure everyone is valued, heard, and given opportunities to progress but these are the basics of an inclusive system. A lack of D&I is not only detrimental to a company culture, but research shows it can hinder business success. Diversity champions need to develop a strategy that outlines tangible goals and actions for creating an inclusive workplace.

How to write a diversity and inclusion strategy

The first step in developing a diversity and inclusion strategy for your business is to gather data. This involves conducting in-depth research to identify areas where your company may be lacking diversity and areas where there may be unconscious biases in hiring or promotion practices. This data will help you to understand where you need to focus your efforts and to set appropriate goals moving forward. You can gather data through employee surveys, focus groups, or by working with an external diversity consultant.

The next step is to set goals based on the data you have gathered. You should aim to create both short-term and long-term goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). For example, a short-term goal could be to improve your hiring process to ensure that it attracts a more diverse pool of candidates, whereas a long-term goal could be to create a more inclusive company culture that values and supports each employee. By setting SMART goals, you can track your progress and hold your team accountable for achieving the desired outcomes.

Here’s a look at what areas D&I might focus on:

Recruitment

The key to a successful diversity and inclusion strategy is to ensure your recruitment processes are fair and unbiased. You should consider setting up an internal committee or task force to review all job postings, interview questions, and recruitment practices. This team should be responsible for ensuring that the language used is free from any biases and that the process is designed to attract and hire diverse candidates.

Once applicants have been identified, it is important to create an inclusive onboarding process that informs them about the company’s values and encourages their engagement in the workplace. This could include introducing new team members at company events or socials, allowing for flexible working hours, or offering language classes to help employees communicate better with colleagues from different backgrounds.

Training

Investing in training to support diversity and inclusion is essential for any business. This could include providing courses on topics such as unconscious bias, anti-discrimination, and cultural sensitivity. It should also cover topics related to mental health awareness, sexual harassment prevention, and creating a safe and respectful workplace environment.

Offering regular diversity and inclusion workshops or webinars can also help to keep employees informed and up to date on the latest developments in this area.

Client acquisition

When it comes to client acquisition, diversity should be a core consideration. Having a diverse team of staff members to deal with clients from different backgrounds can help create an inclusive experience for them. This could include providing employees with cultural awareness training or having a clear customer service policy in place that outlines how to handle different kinds of client requests.

In addition, it’s important to make sure your website and other online platforms are accessible for people from all backgrounds. This means using language that is inclusive and easy to understand, as well as making sure the visuals used in your marketing materials reflect the diversity of your customer base.

Benefits and pay

Ensuring that all employees members are treated fairly and equitably when it comes to pay and benefits is also essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. You should ensure job roles are offered with equal levels of pay, regardless of background or gender.

In addition, it’s important to ensure that staff members from different backgrounds are provided with equal access to benefits such as paid parental leave, flexible working hours, and health insurance. These measures can help make sure that everyone feels welcome and valued in the workplace.

Be clear on your D&I strategy

The next step is to communicate your diversity and inclusion strategy to your employees. You need to ensure your team understands the strategy and their role in its implementation. Encourage feedback and participation from employees to ensure everyone feels valued and informed. Remember, every employee has a role in creating a an inclusive, fair, and equitable workplace.

Finally, track and measure your progress regularly to ensure that you are achieving your goals. Provide regular updates to your team on your progress, and continue to make adjustments and improvements based on feedback and new data. Celebrate successes along the way to encourage continued commitment and engagement.

Conclusion

By gathering data, setting SMART goals, creating a plan of action, communicating your strategy, and monitoring progress, you can build a more inclusive workplace that benefits both your employees and your business. Remember, diversity and inclusion are not simply buzzwords – they are essential components of a thriving workplace.

Watch Reed our video with Devi Virdi, Group Head of Diversity at Centrica Group, on the organisation’s strategies for creating an inclusive workforce.

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