Over the last handful of years, the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become one of the most important initiatives that businesses have started to undertake and implement.
It’s easy to see why: ethical companies earn increased profits compared to the competition, with a study from Ethisphere finding that they outperform comparable companies by 7.1%.
Another study from i-Sight found that 40% of honorees on the World’s Most Ethical Companies list made more than double the profits of their competitors.
If increased profits isn’t enough to incentivize you to embrace DEI, consider this: companies who aren’t progressive in their policies risk discrimination lawsuits, a poor reputation as an employer, and missing out on top talent who might go elsewhere.
So how can you attract and retain the best employees with diverse perspectives? Keep reading to see the top trends in diversity, equity, and inclusion for 2022:
Recruit women who have been out of the workforce
Almost 3 million women have left the labour force since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while some have returned, many have not.
As a result, one of the biggest DEI trends in 2022 will be recruiting and providing growth opportunities for women who are returning to work after time away.
However, it’s important to consider that these women have had time off to reflect on the direction they want to take once they return to work, which makes providing enticing options like a safe and flexible work environment essential in order to attract top talent.
Some other actions you can take include:
- Offering paid sick leave, vacation, and personal time off
- Offering flexible work hours to accommodate child care and transportation
- Continuing to follow COVID-19 safety protocols (when applicable) so they don’t need to fear spreading the virus to family members at home
- Offering remote work (when applicable) at least part of the time to accommodate family responsibilities and shorten commutes
- Offering employee perks such as a personal development budget for ongoing learning, health and fitness credits, etc.
Use DEI to attract and retain your ideal candidates
In order to attract the best candidates, you need to offer DEI initiatives. Even if someone isn’t a member of a marginalized group, showing that your organization is committed to providing opportunities and creating a safe, respectful and supportive workplace can be the differentiating factor in whether a candidate chooses to work for you or not.
In fact, one CNBC survey found that 78% of workers want their employers to prioritize DEI, but nearly 25% think their employer isn’t “doing enough” to create an inclusive and diverse workplace.
Start with a well-crafted DEI statement
To show potential hires that your company takes DEI seriously, consider uploading a statement to your website and crafting your job postings to speak to this commitment.
Make sure to use language that matches your brand, mission, and values and to be authentic. Keep it short, positive, and to-the-point.
A great example is this statement from Workday:
“Our approach to diversity is simple: it’s about embracing everyone. From cultivating a culture where all employees can bring their best selves to work to deploying diversity initiatives that support all, we’re doing what it takes to build a more equitable workplace and world.”
Retain top talent by prioritizing DEI
The first step to creating a truly equitable workplace is to focus on equity in compensation. If your team doesn’t feel like they’re receiving equal pay for equal work, then they’re likely to take their skills elsewhere.
Steps you can take to prioritize DEI principles include:
- Offering professional development opportunities and making them easily accessible by all employees at all levels
- Ensuring that your personal development (PD) budget is allocated equally among your employees
- Making sure to offer the chance to go to trade shows, conferences, and events to more than just a handful of the same staff
- Finding ways to make training and event attendance possible for all staff, including those with medical conditions and family or financial responsibilities
Start incorporating DEI in your workplace today! Learn more about our self-paced diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program that’s perfect for both individuals and teams.
Reexamine remote work through a DEI lens
Most companies had to pivot to remote work at the start of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep their employees safe, but now organizations have the option to rethink their approach to work. Should you offer a return-to-office (RTO) model, keep a fully remote workforce, or explore a hybrid model?
If you’re leaning towards a partial or fully remote workforce, make sure to consider whether everyone on your team can work from home successfully.
For example, some employees might not have access to a reliable (or any) internet connection, the right tech tools, or an ergonomic, quiet space in their home where they can work successfully.
On the other hand, a full RTO model might leave some employees scrambling to find childcare, elder or family care leaving them unable to return to the office or be on site as often.
In order to make sure you’re embedding DEI into your new work policies while making a transition, consider these questions:
- Do employees feel safer at home because they aren’t facing harassment or discrimiation while in the office?
- Does being in the office create more pathways to promotions, higher pay, or increased praise and attention from higher-ups?
- Do managers negatively influence or discourage remote work even though it’s an option available to all staff?
- Do managers disregard caregiving responsibilities by asking employees to come in at the last minute?
- Are employees of a specific gender or ethnicity monitored more closely when working remotely than others?
Increase DEI training
DEI training is going to be an essential part of the workplace experience moving forward because it’s the easiest way to communicate what to do (and not do) to all staff.
After all, DEI isn’t just about what we shouldn’t do, it’s also about providing training and opportunities to help employees understand their biases, feel confident stepping in when they see harassment or discrimination taking place, and appreciating the value of a diverse workforce.
Some steps you can take to increase DEI training are to:
- Incorporate different teaching approaches to accommodate learning styles (eg, self-directed learning vs. instructor-led sessions)
- Determine the objectives around training and follow up to ensure those objectives have been met and understood
- Incorporate DEI into your broader messaging by working with partners to offer webinars, in-office programming, and resources about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
- Encourage employees to share ideas and stories to inspire or include in DEI training
DEI trends for 2022
Investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is more than just implementing workplace-mandated programs; it’s about incorporating DEI into every policy and process within your company from the top down.
If you’re not sure where to start, try our self-paced DEI program which is ideal for both individuals and teams alike. If you’re looking for useful resources to share with your team, sign up for our newsletter to have resources like this one delivered to your inbox every month.