Over 70% of Irish and Belgian employers claim to be (very) strongly committed to equal pay, working conditions, career opportunities and development – more than in other countries.
Hitting all 4 nails in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)
Companies with a diverse and inclusive workforce tend to improve retention, increase revenue and excel in innovation at a far higher rate. “DEIB, however, is not just about having diverse people work for you”, says Koen Cuyckens, HR Research & Intelligence at SD Worx. “It’s ensuring they’re involved, empowered and trusted within your organisation.”
Concepts like diversity and equity have long been part of our business jargon, but it is only in recent years that they have come to the foreground in boardroom discussions. First, the labour shortage is forcing many employers to look elsewhere for talent. Their traditional pools have run dry. Second, investors and business partners increasingly expect companies to pay close attention to social consciousness. Certain movements, including #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, have accelerated that trend.
In fact, only 20% of European companies communicate on DEIB. Most express their views via different channels: social media, job advertisements, websites, etc.
What’s under the hood?
Having an active communication department doesn’t necessarily mean that your efforts are paying off. After all, how many companies actually know if they’re reaching their DEIB goals? This could be due to several reasons. Maybe there simply aren’t any explicit goals. Maybe nobody is responsible for tracking them. Maybe you don’t know which metrics to monitor. Maybe…
And without a data-based, systematic and integrated approach, it’s difficult to detect shortcomings and, thus, points of improvement. This might not seem like a big deal, but with the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive by the European Commission, it looks like many companies will have to start reporting on their social impact from 2023 onwards.
The added value of pulse surveys
While it’s fairly easy to define, quantify and measure diversity and equity, it’s a bigger challenge to do the same for inclusion and belonging – 2 invisible concepts. Most leaders, however, understand that this very inclusion and belonging is what unlocks the potential in a diverse workforce. So, how do you go about it?
The short answer: ask your employees. But as their opinions can change faster than an annual engagement survey can detect, you’ll need to rely on regular surveys – a pulse – to check in with employees without adding to distractions. Before you do that, establishing the right metrics is key. If not, you won’t know which questions to ask.
What to ask feedback about?
Just as you tend to notice your health when you feel unhealthy, you tend to notice inclusion when you feel excluded. That’s a good starting point for creating a questionnaire. It should contain a list of activities and events to detect incidents of exclusion or non-belonging. You could, for example, group statements in different DEIB topics, such as participation, learning, career opportunities, compensation, recognition, trust and work-life balance. The results will help you to find inconsistencies, both within teams and between different parts of the organisation.
Most companies claim to be strongly committed to diversity and equity, but only by taking it a step further and turning the spotlights on inclusion and belonging will they know how to make a real difference.
Listen. Think. Act.
Armed with their employee feedback and data, companies can organise focus groups to dive deeper into the different DEIB topics that were selected. Why do certain individuals and teams score well and others not?
Mapping DEIB drawbacks, however, is only half the work. You’ll need to address them with intended short-term and long-term actions. Employees want to know that their opinions cause change. This is a good way to counter the widespread feeling among employees that they have no say in their organisation. Moreover, when employees see first-hand the impact a survey has, they’ll be more likely to share their views in the future as well.
Less than half of the European employees feel they have a say, with Italian (38.3%), Spanish (42.6%) and Belgian (43.2%) employees the least satisfied on this front.
When DEIB becomes a business driver
DEIB is still too often considered a soft concept. Well, it’s not. Done right, it can truly drive your business. To illustrate, when asked why they’re struggling to attract talent, about 3 in 4 European companies admit that, to some extent, they fail to reach certain populations. Employees, on the other hand, consider employers that prioritise internal fairness and participation to be much more attractive. It’s your call.
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