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.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging has evolved from a "nice-to-have" to a mission-critical component for organizations to progress and stay competitive in the global market.
So, as a DEIB leader, the goals outlined in this article will help your organization become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
In this article, we outline several examples of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals and 10 best practices for achieving them. 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?
By setting DEIB performance goals, organizations can measure their progress toward creating an equitable workplace and hold themselves accountable for achieving their objectives. Plus, SMART goals for diversity and inclusion helps organizations make systemic and long-term changes.
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.
7 examples of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging performance goals
Many companies have developed diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals that include increasing diversity in the workforce, implementing cultural competency training, and creating initiatives to promote inclusion.
These goals are designed to create an environment within the organization that is more representative of the diversity of the communities it serves.
Let's take a look at examples of how some of these big companies have structured their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals.
1. Mattel is committed to achieving and maintaining 100% base pay equity between employees in similar roles or markets. They also seek to increase the representation of women and ethnic groups at all levels of the organization.
2. KPMG aims to increase the representation of underrepresented groups to 50% at the level of partners and managing directors, with a focus on doubling their Black representation. They also aim to significantly increase the representation of underrepresented groups in client and leadership roles.
3. McDonald's has set goals to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in US-based corporate leadership roles and global leadership roles to 35% and 45%, respectively. They aim to align pay opportunities with the external value of a job, regularly review pay rates, and implement a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging strategy that includes annual training and education for employees.
4. Amazon's DE&I goals for 2021 include doubling the number of U.S. Black employees at L8-L10 year-over-year, increasing the hiring of U.S. Black employees at L4-L7 by at least 30% year-over-year, and ensuring 100% of Amazonians take the required inclusion training.
5. Hershey's Pathway's Project aims to increase diversity by implementing new hiring policies, improving access to education for Black and Brown communities, and providing unconscious bias training, mentorship, and commercial leader development to recognize and cultivate previously underrepresented talent.
6. Sales Force is currently achieving 50% representation of women in their workforce by 2023 and also doubling the representation of underrepresented groups in leadership positions by 2023. The company is increasing Black and Latinx representation by 50% in the U.S. workforce by 2023 and its equality groups provide a deeper sense of belonging and community, and more inclusive environments, teams, and leaders.
7. Adobe has aspirational goals to increase the representation of women in leadership positions to 30% globally by 2025, double the representation of US URM in leadership positions by 2025, and double Black representation as a percentage of US employees by 2025. The company has taken measures to attract diverse talent through partnerships with historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions, sponsorship of events, internships, and the Digital Academy Program.
10 best practices for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals
Organizations that want to create an inclusive and welcoming workplace should set and strive to reach diverse and inclusive goals. It helps to create a workplace that values the wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of its employees and benefits an organization in the longer run.
The following are the 10 best practices for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals.
1. Improve awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging 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, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
2. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace
Promoting DEIB in the workplace allows women and minority 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 diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging 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 DEIB 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 DEIB 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 DEIB goals. Perhaps yours should too.
How do you achieve your diversity and inclusion goals?
It can be daunting to work out how to achieve your goals for diversity and inclusion.
Organizations need to assess where they are currently and identify the areas they need to focus on to reach their goals. This could include creating a more diverse workforce, providing more training on inclusivity, soliciting feedback from employees, and creating policies and goals that foster a more equitable work environment.
To make it simpler for you, here are 8 steps to follow.
Step 1: Identity your "why"
To achieve your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals, you need to start by identifying your "why."
Many companies set diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging performance goals without fully understanding how these goals will benefit their organization. This often results in ineffective and shallow strategies that fail to achieve the desired outcomes.
To find your "why," start by conducting an analysis of your company culture. This will help you better understand what you want to achieve and why it's important for your organization.
Benchmark yourself with other companies in your industry or other industries to understand how you can improve.
It's also important to check if underrepresented candidates are applying to your organization, being interviewed and selected, being promoted for doing good work, and staying at your company.
This analysis will help you identify your ‘’why’ ’and gaps in your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts and help you set meaningful goals.
Step 2: Make your goals concrete in a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging plan
First, it is important to create goals in a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging plan. These goals are just a part of your overall plan.
Accenture’s study 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.
Step 3: Get leadership buy-in
Leadership buy-in is crucial for achieving your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals. Without the support of leadership, your efforts may fall flat, and your goals may be challenging to achieve.
It starts with educating them on the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and how it benefits the organization. A diverse and inclusive workplace not only leads to better decision-making and problem-solving, but also attracts and retains top talent, increases innovation and creativity, and improves financial performance.
To get leadership buy-in, you need to frame diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging not only as a moral or social responsibility, but also as a strategic business imperative. Show leaders the data and research that supports the benefits of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace.
Develop an action plan with the leadership team to implement DEIB initiatives and establish clear goals and metrics for measuring success. It's also important to have open and honest conversations with your leaders about any challenges or concerns they may have about implementing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.
Step 4: Form a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging committee
Companies should create a DEIB committee. This committee consists of diverse staff members who help support the organizational changes needed to hit the DEIB goals.
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 DEIB committees:
- A strategy-focused DEIB committee
- An implementation-focused DEIB committee
A strategy-focused DEIB committee provides “direction and guidance on policies, programs, initiatives and systems change.”
An implementation-focused DEIB committee, on the other hand, “is focused on ‘on-the-ground’ initiatives such as the development of a program, events, workshops, analysis of data or reports.”
The important part of a DEIB committee is that it drives progress toward the goals.
Step 5: Solicit feedback from employees
It is important to have direct communication with employees. Therefore, you should aim to get employees’ feedback about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging 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 DEIB 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.
Here are a few ways to get employee feedback:
Conduct anonymous surveys to allow employees to provide honest and open feedback
- Hold town hall meetings or focus groups to allow for in-person discussion and feedback
- Utilize feedback platforms or suggestion boxes to encourage ongoing feedback
- Provide opportunities for employee resource groups (ERGs) to share feedback and recommendations
- Schedule one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their experiences and suggestions for improvement.
- Enable reverse mentoring where leaders take on the role of student to learn from underrepresented employees.
Step 6: Create a goal-setting framework (using the SMART acronym)
Creating a goal-setting framework is crucial in tracking and reporting your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging performance goals. To make your goals effective and achievable, follow the SMART acronym. Here are some practical steps to consider:
SPECIFIC: Break down your goals into specific targets rather than broad or general ones.
MEASURABLE: Add figures to make your goals measurable. This will help you stay on track and monitor progress.
ATTAINABLE: Set realistic targets for your organization based on external research and data. Add in references from your research, so your employees and leadership feel the goals are attainable.
RELEVANT: Ensure that your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging performance goals are aligned with your company values. When employees relate your diversity goals to their own goals, they’ll be motivated to work to achieve them.
TIME-BOUND: Set a deadline and milestones for achieving your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals. This will make it easier to track progress and hold yourself accountable.
Step 7: Monitor, evaluate, and optimize your goals
To truly create a diverse and inclusive workplace, it's important to continuously monitor, evaluate, and optimize your goals. This means regularly checking in with employees to understand their experiences and perspectives, as well as reviewing metrics such as employee retention rates and the number of new diverse hires.
It's also important to engage with executives and stakeholders to ensure everyone is aligned on the goals and progress. By continuously monitoring and evaluating your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts, you can identify areas for improvement and take action to create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace for all.
Step 8: Be transparent about the 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, equity, inclusion, and belonging plans.
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.