Company Culture

3 Big Ways Companies Can Improve Diversity and Inclusion Efforts


Written by Sean Li • May 27, 2021

3 Big Ways Companies Can Improve Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

The corporate focus on diversity and inclusion is here to stay. Job postings on Indeed regarding diversity and inclusion increased 56% from September 2019 to September 2020. This growth continued despite the economy being stifled for much of 2020.

Some companies are building out new teams while others are just wrapping their heads around the topic. Regardless, it's clear that employers need to set goals regarding diversity and inclusion. We’ve compiled a list of tips to get you started.

1) Embrace Data

While diversity and inclusion can’t be solved with numbers alone, using data allows teams to understand the challenge and make better decisions regarding hiring, culture, and career development. Here’s a rundown of important stats to track.

  • Workforce Composition - Employee status and functions, seniority levels, and tenure (grouped by gender, race, and sexual orientation).
  • Hiring - The number and percentage of job applicants by role or level, channel (e.g., referrals, applications through the website, LinkedIn, other job sites, campus recruiting, etc.), and stats regarding application progress (e.g., resume drop, first round interview, final round interview) to see if candidates are becoming discouraged or turned away disproportionately.
  • Promotions - The number and percentage of employees promoted by gender, race, and sexual orientation broken down by level and compared to the available pool.
  • Performance Evaluations - Performance scores and evaluations by rank, manager, function, tenure in company, and tenure in current role.
  • Development - The number and percentage of women and minorities selected for developmental programs (e.g., leadership trainings, management tracks).
  • Exit Data - The number and percentage of women and minorities leaving the organization by level, function, performance history, and tenure.
  • Pay - Compensation by gender, race, and sexual orientation controlling for level, tenure, education, office/geography, and performance scores.
  • Other Data - Employee satisfaction or engagement scores based on demographics. Internal and external complaints (e.g., discrimination, bias, harassment) and resolution status.

2) Supporting Minority-Owned Businesses

According to research from McKinsey, more than 50 percent of the Black business owners surveyed in May 2020 reported being very or extremely concerned about the viability of their businesses. On average, minority-owned businesses faced greater business hardships during COVID-19, partly because it was more difficult to secure loans and financial aid.

There are no simple solutions but there are little ways to help. You can make purchases from local mom & pop minority-owned stores. You can look over your corporate vendor list and choose ones that are BIPOC-owned. If your company is ordering office catering, CaterCow allows teams to order from local, minority-owned restaurants and caterers.

3) Drive Change with Culture

Embracing diversity and inclusion starts with empathy, commitment and accountability. If you don’t have the resources to collect diversity data, there are some best practices when it comes to culture.

  • Company-wide dialogue - Set up spaces, in-person or virtual, that facilitate conversations between employees, especially conversations between employees and managers. Work to establish a trustworthy environment where issues can be discussed instead of repressed and exacerbated.
  • Reporting system - Another step employers can take is to make sure their complaint system is up to date and common knowledge throughout the office. Just having the peace of mind that the option is there can help employees feel more comfortable.
  • Clear career growth - One of the most common diversity and inclusion issues is employees being passed up for promotions or career opportunities due to unconscious or conscious bias. Employers are now setting clear standards for career growth and setting two-way expectations for those decisions.
  • Unbiased hiring - Modern day hiring practices revolve around remaining unbiased and impartial. This is done each step of the way, from removing gender specifics on job descriptions to using anonymous test assignments. It’s natural for managers to hire people they like and get along with, so diversity measures are put in place to keep the process balanced.
  • Volunteer - Team building is often cited as an important culture tool, and this applies to diversity and inclusion. Specifically, the idea of group volunteering and charity work. This lets employees rally around causes and pressing issues.
  • D&I Calendar - A diversity calendar requires no financial investment and can be established quickly. There’s already a calendar in place for holidays and company events. The diversity calendar adds initiatives such as trainings, cultural events, and periodic updates on diversity goals.

More and more, employees are looking to see if their companies are supporting diversity and inclusion efforts. Building a welcoming culture that embraces minorities and open discussion is becoming a hot button topic and something employers will need to address.