Look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you are a change agent, a champion, a conscious leader. If the answer is yes, then do something.
– Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient
Significant change requires bold action. Once you’ve discovered your company’s score on the FQ Equity Index, it’s time to make a plan to improve your DEI performance and set an example for both your colleagues and your industry.
We’ve curated tips and resources below to help you get started.
1. Research what your industry is already doing. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you have an opportunity to learn and collaborate with other conscious leaders in your field. Your local trade association or professional network may have tailored resources or suggestions on experts to contact. Forging collaborations early on can also facilitate industry-wide change over time.
2. Make it participatory – for everyone, across the board. Inclusion must start with buy-in from staff of all levels and functions. Involve them in sharing information, defining issues and setting goals. Perhaps that means forming an employee DEI committee or taskforce to focus engagement. Just make sure it’s diverse and representative of your workplace community. Check out this article from Idealist for tips on starting a DEI committee.
3. Transparency and regular communication are critical. Leadership should be open about where the organization stands right now and commit to updates on progress towards its goals. Establish a cadence and stick to it in order to meet expectations. This may include:
- Sharing data-backed DEI updates at semi-annual intervals
- Convening additional town hall meetings
- Establishing vehicles for feedback outside of scheduled meetings, such as surveys, evaluations or open office hours
- Asking your DEI committee, taskforce, and employee resource groups to participate in designing and facilitating conversations
4. Assess your pay gap with the Advancing Equality Calculator. Prioritize evaluating and working toward pay parity early on in your DEI planning. Compensation assigns value to an employee’s worth and taking the steps to ensure each member of the staff is paid equitably sends a strong signal. Visit the Advancing Equality Calculator to assess your company’s raw pay gap and read some of our tips on how to get your company on the road to closing it.
5. Examine policies and hiring practices. Plan to audit existing policies to ensure they meet the needs of all employees and ask for their input. Review recruitment and hiring practices to ensure a pipeline of diverse candidates. At Comcast, they’ve added an “interview ally” to the hiring process. This entails bringing people in from outside the direct reporting chain to check for unconscious bias to make sure decisions aren’t being made for the quick easy hire, but the best hire. That interview ally then picks up the role as mentor for the chosen candidate once they are brought into the organization, providing ongoing support.
6. Think about your organization’s ecosystem. Your business touches many outside of your actual staff. Some ways you can create impact beyond your organization:
- If your organization sponsors conferences or events, require that the roster of speakers meets your diversity standards as a condition of your agreement.
- Review vendors, purchasing practices and existing supply chains for opportunities to engage women and minority-owned businesses. Salesforce, for example, has opened a “diverse supplier portal” to develop relationships with potential new partners. Stacy’s Pita Chips just launched the FoundedByHer directory which is a great resource to find and support female-founded businesses across industries.
7. Communicate externally with intention. Ensure your external communications about DEI progress are not seen as public relations opportunities, but rather a natural demonstration of the organizational leadership’s accountability and commitment to change.
Get started with the FQ Equity Index now.
The article is written by FQ Correspondent