Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind for many organizations — and for good reason. The millennial generation is 16% more diverse than baby boomers, and by 2025, the workforce is expected to account for up to 75% of the millennial generation.
To stay relevant, every organization, regardless of size or industry, should be asking themselves the same question: How do our corporate mission and values support diversity and foster an inclusive culture?
Why is DEI important in the workplace?
Integrating DEI activities into your digital workplace strategy not only increases employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity, but can also enhance your service to clients. 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets. With a higher number of markets to address can bring better overall performance and profitability.
But the last few years have brought about huge changes to all industries when it comes to how employees interact with each other without the same in-person opportunities. So, how can you begin (or continue) to integrate DEI into your remote workplace culture in effective and innovative ways? It might be easier than you think and using technology you already have: Utilize your intranet to provide a dedicated online space to honor diversity and an ever-changing workforce that can grow and transform with your organization.
How to promote diversity & inclusion in a remote work environment
1. Put it front & center
It is important for employees to understand why the organization is embracing DEI. Start by creating clear statements about your diversity and inclusion mission and goals, then elevate them in highly visible areas and encourage employees to get involved. The best way to ensure your employees see something is to make sure they cannot miss it.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Link to your diversity and inclusion page from your intranet homepage
- Launch a campaign to promote new initiatives and help generate excitement
- Draw attention back to DEI initiatives in relevant emails and company-wide communications
2. Get leadership buy-in
Creating effective and lasting change within has to come from the top down. How do leaders at your company promote and encourage DEI? If your leadership team is already on board, ask them to regularly contribute to your diversity and inclusion page with things like blogs, personal anecdotes, and short sentiments explaining why these causes are important to them.
If you are still trying to get leaders to buy in, set up a meeting to educate them on DEI initiatives and encourage participation. You can also run programs such as empathy training to build out a useful set of soft skills across upper management.
The fact is, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market, which should encourage any executive team to take DEI seriously. The numbers do not lie, and another great stat to share is that diverse management also boosts revenue by 19%.
3. Lean on your employees
According to a recent study, 83% of all millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company stimulates a diverse and inclusive culture. Knowing how much diversity matters to them, make a point to involve your employees in your DEI initiatives. A great place to start is by surveying employees to learn what would make them feel better heard and understood within the workplace.
You can also encourage employees to share their own personal stories of diversity and inclusion on your intranet. This can provide an opportunity for them to get to know each other and connect on deeper and more significant levels. There are so many stories of people taking a stand and overcoming obstacles — sharing these is a great way to create a sense of community in the remote workplace.
4. Make it interactive
Similarly, to increase engagement, you should make your DEI initiatives as interactive as possible. Consider hosting a virtual ‘lunch and learn’ with special guests. This can provide a great learning opportunity for employees across all levels of the organization.
You could also create an event calendar with different cultural holidays and days of observance. Ask your employees to provide commentary about why these days are important to them and share other things people might not know about their culture.
Finally, create a forum area for open discussion surrounding DEI. This provides a safe space for employees to share their thoughts on different topics, ask questions, and interact with each other in ways they previously might not have had the opportunity to.
5. Use outside resources
Thankfully, you do not need to start from scratch. Diversity and inclusion in the remote work environment continues to grow and change as society as a whole also grows and changes. You are not expected to be the expert on all things DEI. However, you are expected to have these conversations and make an obvious effort towards full inclusion.
Use your intranet to provide links to outside resources that could be helpful to your employees.
This includes things such as:
- What it means to be an ally
- Influencers to follow
- Shows to watch
- Podcasts to listen to
Some companies are even starting virtual book or movie clubs that can help deepen the conversations surrounding DEI.
Champion your diversity & inclusion year-round
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not limited just to Black History Month or International Women’s Day. It’s an ongoing and developing initiative. The conversation becomes far less effective if we only acknowledge it four weeks out of the year, so make an effort to highlight these conversations all year long.
If you have not already, establish a DEI council or advisory board to ensure employees feel their concerns and stories are being heard. This will empower them to take matters into their own hands and initiate positive transformation with the organization. As you discover what your employees need and respond to, you will find new and innovative ways of integrating DEI into all areas of the business — ensuring the organization is aligned in its goals.
Remember that a renewed and committed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion not only leads to organizational change, but increases awareness among your employee base — which improves society as a whole.
To learn more about next steps, get started with a consultation today.