Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are two words that almost all CEOs will be hearing a lot about this year and for many years to come. Whether you are working on such an initiative for the first time or have experienced working with D&I in the past, here are some effective tips for creating a D&I strategy:

Build your Business Case

As a CEO, it is likely that you will need a business case to present back to your stakeholders. Specifically, you need to create a compelling outline that takes into account each of the below elements.

Harnessing Organizational Talent

There are countless studies that demonstrate that, by creating an inclusion-led culture, you increase the buy-in from your employees and make them feel like they make a real difference to your organization. This elevated feeling of belonging and contributing leads to lower rates of turnover, higher levels of employee satisfaction, better engagement, and overall productivity.

Better Financial Performance

A study shows that businesses with diverse teams outperform those without these types teams by more than 50 percent, in both equity returns and operational results.

Enhanced Innovation

Business Innovation is impacted heavily by diversity within the workplace and the collaboration that occurs between those individuals. There is also research that supports this statement, proving that diverse teams who work together on complicated issues actually outperform teams that are homogeneous.

Be Realistic About Your Return On Investment (ROI)

Things in business tend to move quite quickly, even more so when a CEO is driving these changes. However, when you focus on Diversity and Inclusion, it is difficult to know how to set or measure the expectations and results. Changing the mindset within an organization is challenging, and there is no specific timeframe for completion. Setting your expectations clearly at the start is key. You also have to choose the right things to measure in order to know that your efforts are working.  There is an old saying that is very apt: ‘’what gets measured, gets done.”

Some key questions for consideration to help you get started are listed below.

  • What are the organizational hiring practices?
  • Who are we hiring?
  • Who are we not hiring?
  • Who are we retaining?
  • Who are we not retaining?
  • Who were we thinking about when we implemented the policy and are they any better off as a result?

Employee retention is actually considered to be the foremost metric when it comes to the evaluation of whether or not employees feel included and supported to thrive within an organization. Exit interviews should always record the reasons why people are leaving.

Strategy is Essential

There are some matters that can be easily resolved through funding. However, this is one that requires careful planning and a solid strategy as well. Changing the culture of a company is no easy task, nor is it one which can be done without a plan.

So, how do you create a plan that will result in your employees feeling comfortable enough to discuss D&I openly?

  • Recruit Support from Key influencers
  • Create an Open Forum for Discussion
  • Recognize and Praise Participation
  • Share Results and Progress
  • Keep up the Momentum and Sustain the Focus

As a CEO, you might choose to work with a dedicated Diversity Manager or task a qualified individual with the overall responsibility to help you drive such an initiative. This person will need substantial support, as they cannot change the culture of the company alone. However, it is perfectly acceptable to expect that they can help you to create an internal movement that will get the buy-in from employees and management alike. Make sure they are given action-orientated objectives that will drive commitment throughout the entire organization, at every level.

Contact DeSantis Trusted Advisors today if you have any questions about creating a sustainable plan to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.