When a diversity and inclusion leader, HR manager, or executive connects with our team at Together, they want to know how they can strengthen diversity in their organizations.
They often come to us with the idea to start a diversity-focused mentoring program that pairs underrepresented employees with leaders. This is a great idea as studies affirm mentorship increases female and minority employees' confidence and satisfaction with their jobs.
But is a mentorship program the answer to all your diversity challenges? To answer this you need to have clear diversity goals.
In this article, we outline 10 examples of DEIB goals. If you want to strengthen your company’s culture, let these goals inspire your own.
What are diversity and inclusion performance goals?
Diversity and inclusion performance goals focus on having a diverse workforce that feels included and a sense of belonging within the company.
Nowadays, employees are more focused on working with companies that have beliefs and values that align with their own. Research into Gen Z employees found that “19% of Gen Z would work for a company that does not share their values.”
Communicating these goals with employees allows them to have a sense of belonging and make a difference to make the company a better place for everyone. Additionally, these goals allow employees to feel empathy and connected.
Unfortunately, despite good intentions, many diversity and inclusion programs fail to enact meaningful change. Joan C. Williams, a DEI expert, shares in her Ted Talk that a one-time training event isn't enough. Her talk unpacks a lot more. It's worth a listen.
Why is it important for workplaces to have performance goals for diversity and inclusion?
A lack of diversity is a deal-breaker for recruiting
It is important to establish diversity and inclusion goals within your company because the two are deal-breaker when recruiting new talent. Both Gen Z and millennials agree that they are less likely to take on a job if the company does not have diversity in leadership roles. According to a study by Intel, 56 percent of Gen Z respondents feel this way.
Additionally, the younger generation brings a sense of activism to the workplace. Therefore, they are becoming more likely to work at companies that have a culture in line with their personal beliefs.
Large parts of our organizations don’t feel they can be themselves at work
It is also important that employees feel comfortable in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion goals help people who are part of minority groups to feel welcome and seen in the company.
Many companies fail to do this, which is clearly shown in an Accenture survey. In the survey, LGBTQ+ employees revealed that only 40 percent of them felt comfortable revealing their gender identity and sexual orientation at work.
Numerous studies show diverse organizations perform better
Supporting diversity and inclusion positively impacts employee retention and belonging. But it also drives performance across the company.
In a study by Harvard Business Review, diverse companies were 70 percent more likely to expand their reach to new markets compared to companies that didn’t actively source diverse candidates.
Additionally, the research highlighted that the diverse companies were 45 percent more likely to grow in market share.
HBR’s research isn’t the only study asserting that diverse companies do better than others.
In a 2019 McKinsey study, diverse companies were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability.
The research reveals that they perform better because they have different perspectives and sources of tacit knowledge. More voices are heard in these companies.
How do you achieve your diversity and inclusion goals?
It can seem daunting to work out how to achieve your goals for diversity and inclusion. To make it simpler, here are 5 steps to follow. Each will bring more clarity to the ‘how’ of achieving your goals.
1. Make your goals concrete in a diversity and inclusion plan
First, it is important to create goals in a diversity and inclusion plan.
These goals are just a part of your diversity and inclusion plan.
Accenture’s study (see above) mentions that employers need to address five important issues.
- Be a good leader by openly talking about personal issues and challenges.
- Make sure that there are flexible working arrangements for everyone in the company and that employees are properly informed about it.
- Ensure that employees feel empowered and like they make a difference in the company, additionally, they need to be able to settle in quickly and thrive in the company.
- Communicate to employees that failure is a part of success, so they feel comfortable making mistakes and learn from them. Last, make sure that there is no discrimination or harassment in the workplace. This allows employees to feel safe with their leaders and vice versa.
2. Get leadership buy-in
The second step in achieving your diversity and inclusion goals is to have your leaders on board with responsibility when it comes to hitting diversity and inclusion goals.
In doing so, employees pay more attention to the goals and it encourages them to make a conscious effort toward reaching the goals.
Essentially, when leaders buy into it, so do employees.
3. Form a diversity and inclusion committee
Companies should create a diversity and inclusion committee.
This committee consists of diverse staff members who help bring the cultural and ethical changes needed to make the business more diverse and informed.
This allows for more credibility when taking on new employees and providing support for workers. The University of British Columbia In Canada describes two types of diversity and inclusion committees:
- A strategy-focused diversity and inclusion committee
- An implementation-focused diversity and inclusion committee
A strategy-focused diversity and inclusion committee provides “direction and guidance on [diversity and inclusion] policies, programs, initiatives and systems change.”
An implementation-focused diversity and inclusion committee, on the other hand, “is focused on ‘on-the-ground’ [diversity and inclusion] initiatives such as the development of a program, events, workshops, analysis of data or reports.”
The important part of a diversity and inclusion committee is that it drives progress towards the goals. There’s a group of individuals with a responsibility to deliver results.
4. Solicit feedback from employees
It is important to have direct communication with employees. Therefore, you should aim to get employees’ feedback about diversity and inclusion plans.
For instance, a Pride 2020 study mentioned that 68 percent of leaders feel they bring an empowering and inclusive environment to the company.
On the other hand, only 36 percent of employees agreed.
There’s often a gap between where leaders think they are with their D&I goals and where employees think they are. To close the gap, you need to talk to your employees and communicate that feedback up the chain of command.
5. Be transparent about progress
Finally, it is important to be transparent about your goals and the progress of said goals.
You should have clear and well-defined goals that are communicated within the company. Additionally, you should communicate progress made towards any of your goals and celebrate any goals that were achieved. Here are 4 ways to be more transparent:
- Your goals need to be well defined.
- The goals need to be widely communicated to the organization.
- Any progress made towards these goals should be communicated.
- Any wins should also be celebrated. This will get employees engaged, see that change is happening and encourage them to support initiatives where they can.
All of this allows employees to feel more engaged and understand what is going on with the diversity and inclusion plans.
Examples of diversity and inclusion goals
1. Improve awareness of diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace
Focus on getting employees together to understand issues of inclusion and diversity in your company. This can be done through a seminar, company-wide brief, or on the individual level between managers and their teams. During this time you should also communicate the goals you’ve set for diversity and inclusion.
2. Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Promoting DEI in the workplace allows for women and minorities groups to avoid the challenges and barriers that they often face in companies that are not aware of these issues.
These include bias, prejudice, lack of confidence, a sense of isolation, and disparate cultural expectations.
3. Start a mentorship program for diverse employees
Many D&I initiatives involve mentoring programs. Matching employees from underrepresented backgrounds with leaders across the organization is a meaningful way to accelerate career advancement.
Depending on the goals of the program, you can pair employees of similar backgrounds or different ones. The former is great for ERG’s and building community. The latter is great for giving employees diverse perspectives.
In a study on mentorship within 50 of the leading North American companies, we found that 41% of employees from diversity groups think it’s important that a mentor come from the same group. But 28% don’t think it’s important. So either is fine. But you should check in with what employees want first.
You can easily set up a diversity mentorship program with Together. You can pair employees of similar backgrounds or different ones. This will help employees to find people like them and understand people who come from different backgrounds.
4. Start an ERG (Employee Resource Groups)
Employee resource groups are a great way to build inclusive cultures and support employee development. These groups bring together employees who share an affinity, which allows them to connect despite the department they work at.
It’s common for organizations to have ERGs for:
- BIOPIC employees
- Neurodiverse employees
- Employees with disabilities
- Women-focused ERGs
- LGBTQ+ employees
- Families, single parents, or caregivers
5. Develop strategies to recruit talent from diverse backgrounds
We know that diverse organizations perform better (the research above shows that.) Mailshake, an email marketing startup, increased its female applicants from 8% to 25% in 4 steps.
- They diversified where they sourced applicants.
- They rewrote their job descriptions to have gender-neutral language.
- They took steps to remove unconscious biases during the interview process.
- They provided mentors to all new employees through onboarding and continued development.
Having diverse talent in leadership is also important. Having a diverse leadership team allows minority employees to feel like they can become leaders as well.
It also promotes inclusive leadership which HBR defines as, “leadership that assures that all team members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly, are valued and a sense that they belong, and are confident and inspired.”
6. Culturally sensitive promotional materials
These are important for future and current employees to feel comfortable in your company. It is important that they have a sense of belonging and that they are not disrespected.
7. Build an inclusive community
It is important that employees feel like they belong in your company. To build an inclusive culture, especially in a remote environment, here are some essential best practices:
- Invite your team to share more about their cultures
- Create ways to show caring and recognition
- Create welcoming virtual meetings
- Teach your team how to be inclusive
8. Promote inclusive behaviour
It is important that employees go about their days with inclusivity in mind. This means being an active listener, consciously connecting with employees, considering others’ needs, and wants, and encouraging others to do the same. Empathetic communication is very important in the work environment.
9. Survey employees
This step is important because, with employees’ feedback, you can understand where you stand in your goals and whether the company’s initiatives are working towards more diversity and inclusivity.
Therefore, survey employees on diversity and inclusion goals and progress. Do so on a regular cadence to inform whether or not employees are satisfied with the company’s efforts.
10. Link executive compensation to diversity metrics
A strong indicator of whether or not your organization prioritizes diversity and inclusion initiatives is who’s responsible for results. If executives are then that’s a reliable way to spur change.
An SHRM study highlighted that in 2018, 51 companies on the S&P 500 had a diversity metric in their compensation program. By 2021, “that number had nearly doubled to 99 companies.”
Leading organizations are changing their incentive programs to reflect D&I goals. Perhaps yours should too.
Build an organization that is diverse and inclusive
To support D&I within your organization you need to have goals and plans to achieve them. The foundation of those plans is around employee connection and education. Do employees know about D&I? And do they have people in their network to support and encourage them in fostering inclusive work environments?
Together makes it easy to get employees connected with one another. Through workplace mentoring programs or employee connection initiatives, it’s easy to pair employees with one another based on relevant diversity metrics.
Pair employees from similar backgrounds, so they can support each other. Conversely, pair employees from different backgrounds to give them new perspectives.
Together empowers organizations to build a more connected workforce.