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How to Create a DEI Initiative That Actually Moves the Needle

26 Apr, 2022

by Laura Close
How to Create a DEI Initiative That Actually Moves the Needle
Diverse teams not only create more innovative products and solutions, but they also generate greater profits. In fact, McKinsey research finds that teams with gender and ethnic diversity outperform less diverse peers at a rate of 36%.

Creating a diverse workforce, however, is easier said than done. Beyond creating mere quotas for hiring, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts require full-fledged initiatives throughout both the hiring process and day-to-day operations of your organization’s culture.

A 2022 report uncovered that 85% of HR and DEI practitioners are actively building a diverse and inclusive culture, yet a staggering 35% report having insufficient resources.

To create effective DEI initiatives, you’ll want to get the right resources and focus on the following.


Get Input from Your Team

With the diversity of teams being easily quantifiable, it’s tempting to simply look at the numbers; however, DEI is more than just a matter of quotas and ratios. Representation from different backgrounds is a key component of workplace diversity, but DEI initiatives require follow-through and constant action.

As part of your ongoing DEI efforts, you should solicit feedback from your employees regarding their views on your company’s commitment to diversity. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Anonymous surveys, for example, can help you obtain honest feedback on both the awareness and success of current initiatives. Additionally, providing space for team members to connect with your DEI and HR teams––virtually or in person––can generate more specific feedback from individuals, particularly as it relates to the actions of individual team members.

DEI is about making your employees feel safe, heard, and valued. The best place to start is often with their feedback.


Create DEI Metrics

It’s easy to simply create a new initiative focusing on DEI––launching a landing page, writing a press release, or tweeting a quote from your DEI statement––however, much like any initiative with your business, these statements are hollow without accompanying metrics for success.

Forming the basis of your DEI initiatives, a set of attainable goals will guide each of your company’s actions and provide benchmarks for your progress. Naturally, these goals will vary in scope and mission based on the organization, but the key is to make them tangible and achievable.

Some examples:

  • Increasing the number of employees who participate in DEI-related training
  • Increasing the number of diverse hires in leadership positions
  • Growing the number of hires from a specific underrepresented group


View It As Change Management

DEI initiatives require total buy-in from your team, meaning that a DEI officer alone cannot ensure their success. All employees––especially leadership––need to be aware of DEI initiatives and held accountable for any actions that threaten their success. A commitment to diverse hiring practices will do little if your work culture does not provide the conditions for these hires to thrive.

That’s why any changes entailed in DEI initiatives need to be viewed in the broader context of how they affect your workplace culture. You’ll want to communicate your vision to the entire team and provide scaffolding to ensure compliance and enforcement.


Equip Employees

Often, when an employee senses something is wrong with regard to DEI, it can be difficult to speak up, particularly if a manager is involved. That’s why it should be a priority to provide employees with both the tools and resources they need to feel comfortable raising their voices.

Employees need a safe space––digital or in-person––where they can air any issues or roadblocks to DEI initiatives. In these cases, it’s important to remember that DEI efforts are no different than other business goals, and that employees will likely have feedback that will contribute to the outcomes of these initiatives.


Leverage your DEI Data

Creating DEI initiatives is not a quick fix. It takes buy-in and feedback at all levels to ensure that DEI efforts are taken seriously and followed through. And it all starts with figuring out the current state of diversity in your organization and taking a data-driven approach to improvement.

Powered by AI, Included is a DEI people experience data platform that allows you to track DEI data across the entire employee lifecycle. Starting with the recruiting process, Included analyzes the candidate experience, giving you full visibility into every point in the hiring funnel. Included is fully customizable to your internal DEI goals, allowing stakeholders from HR coordinators to executive leadership to easily know and understand the data.

Whether you’re just creating a DEI initiative or tracking the progress of an established program, Included provides the transparency and precision your company needs.

Create a Successful DEI Initiative

Laura Close

Laura Close is co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at She brings twenty years of experience in the DEI space, originating as a political campaigns & policy expert in racial, gender, and economic justice in the late 90s. Laura has spent her career locking in new structural opportunities and institutional access for historically excluded or underrepresented communities. Previously she built an award-winning global executive coaching firm with a client base spanning FAANG and unicorn startups. Her insights have been featured in MarketWatch, the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), and she was named an HR tech influencer to follow in 2022.

Learn more about Included, book your demo here.

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