Where does the buck stop when it comes to building an inclusive organisation? And how might employers incentivise inclusive behaviours without promoting tokenism? Suki Sandhu explores how equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) can be embedded into a business’ strategy and who has responsibility.
When building an inclusive workplace, it is often unclear where responsibility for an EDI strategy starts and ends. The task typically falls to people managers, directors, and HR professionals, who are key drivers for change within an organisation, but this responsibility does require the platform and influence of senior leadership to enforce business-wide change. Without the support and buy-in of senior leaders, EDI initiatives often fail and solutions are only short-term.
Fundamentally, developing and implementing successful EDI strategies requires a wide span of authority and influence to ensure that all areas of the business are actively encouraging and engaging in inclusion programmes. This is only achieved by making sure that accountability sits with CEOs and senior leadership teams. For the plentiful benefits to be reaped, EDI needs to be prioritised as equally important and valuable as other critical business pillars such as sales, operations, and marketing.
Where to begin with a EDI strategy
While this might seem somewhat abstract, in reality this can be approached in a practical and methodical manner. As a first step, business leaders need to ensure that they are collecting strong data (i.e. diversity figures) to enable them to track and measure progress, as they would do with any other business function. In doing this, organisations can develop realistic EDI objectives and commit to tangible goals, holding themselves accountable throughout with regular comparative reviews.
Diversity and inclusion
However, it’s important that we don’t neglect to go beyond quantitative data – this is more than just a numbers game and figures alone can’t provide the context and depth of the employee population’s diverse lived experiences, especially in what can be an incredibly complex arena.
Even within an underrepresented group, experiences can differ vastly because of a variety of factors, especially in cases where their identity intersects with other minority/generally underrepresented characteristics. As a whole, the way we collect EDI-specific and employee sentiment data needs to be nuanced and contextual, making use of various insight methods to provide a holistic view of the employee experience. These could range from surveys and questionnaires, to focus groups and town hall meetings.
Reward drives progress
Furthermore, if we’re serious about building inclusive organisations and treating EDI as a business priority, it’s worth considering incentivising inclusive behaviour in the workplace – that is to say, we reward inclusivity similarly to how we reward employees for meeting targets and exceptional achievements. There are various incentives we might choose to utilise, including providing financial rewards for promoting diversity or driving forward EDI objectives. So many ghostwriting agentur students are offered incentives for completing plans and to encourage further work.
While there might be the connotation that financially rewarding inclusivity runs the risk of facilitating tokenism, when executed properly it can be an effective tool for encouraging systemic change and recognising the value diversity adds to a business. Incentives can be linked to targets such as increased diversity in recruitment long-lists; greater retention of women, people of colour or LGBTQ+ employees; or positive feedback in employee surveys related to inclusion.
And while incentives can be part of the solution, there must also be consequences for failing to make EDI improvements. Much like we would expect a board to hold CEOs and executive directors accountable for failures to reach other business goals, for us to see real change, there equally needs to be tangible consequences for those who have failed to meet commitments to drive EDI progress.
When it comes to diversity and inclusivity, where does the buck stop? The answer is all of us – leaders may set the tone and encourage progress, but everybody within an organisation has a role to play in creating an inclusive workplace.