How to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

Summary:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace

Exploring DEI concepts

Equity in action

How does DEI at work directly impact your business?

DEI Laws

How do you embed diversity, equity, and inclusion at work?

How Sodexo Engage can assist with DEI at work


How to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

We recently shared a blog on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. However, since 26th September to 2nd October 2022 is National Inclusion Week, we’re giving this crucial initiative extra attention. 

NIW is in its tenth year of campaigning, and this year's theme is ‘Time to Act: The Power of Now’. Asserting that action and a focused approach to inclusion are needed if employers want to “bring about impactful change.”

You may come to this blog believing you’re already diverse and inclusive – and you probably are. However, as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and to be able to shout about your equal opportunity credentials, they must be embedded into company policies and implemented across your organisation.

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace

In business, we focus on not only diversity and inclusion but also equity, or DEI. The aim is to create a fair, equal, welcoming, and safe environment for all employees, no matter their background, beliefs, or circumstances.

It’s important to reiterate the need to embed DEI into actionable, documented company policies. By evidencing and promoting your DEI initiatives, you’re putting your business in an advantageous position.

Having robust DEI policies and practices boosts your company’s reputation and improves talent acquisition and retention. It also leads to a more engaged workforce that understands and believes they’ll receive equal opportunities, support, and pay. 

Research suggests that almost 80% of UK employees believe DEI is a pivotal part of the modern workplace, and it’s a significant factor in their overall happiness. We shouldn’t ignore this statistic, and you can read more about why happiness in the workplace matters

It isn’t just your employees’ happiness that’s important. According to Forbes, consumers value firms with DEI policies in place and will choose them over those that don’t. 

 

Exploring DEI concepts

Let’s take a moment to explain what these three words mean when applied to the workplace. 

  • Diversity: a workforce that compromises individuals of a different race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, and age.
  • Equity: ensuring that all working processes are impartial and unprejudiced and give equal opportunities for every team member.
  • Inclusion: employees feel they can be their authentic selves and have a real sense of belonging.

Equity in action

We worked with Montana Bakery; a successful business with a diverse workforce who predominantly speak English as a second language. Although our remit was to support the implementation and uptake of a substantial employee benefits and financial wellbeing platform – DEI was at the heart of it, ensuring all content and communications was multi-lingual. 

By considering the most effective and preferred way to communicate with its employees, Montana Bakery incorporated equity into its business practises. They ensured all employees could easily access the opportunities available, and, as a result, engagement on the benefits platform increased by 300%! 

 

How does DEI at work directly impact your business?

The effects of a successful workplace DEI strategy are measurably positive. Research by What to Become shows that nearly half of ‘companies that have diverse management report higher profits’ and 73% of those with gender equality practices have ‘higher profits and productivity’. What’s more, inclusive companies are ‘more likely to lead and capture new markets’. 

Benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce:

  • Increase innovation: studies show that diverse and inclusive teams are 87% more effective at ideation.
  • Boost overall performance and profit: a study by Gartner suggests that organisations with a diverse workforce can improve a business's performance by as much as 12%.
  • Improve your brand image: promoting a progressive and supportive ethos towards individuals from all walks of life is an attractive prospect for potential new clients and staff members.
  • Lead to higher employee retention: DEI at work increases employee happiness, engagement, and retention. Employees treated fairly are over five times more likely to want to remain with a company.

 

DEI Laws

Best practise and benefits aside, there are laws that businesses are legally obliged to follow within the Equality Act 2010. The Act sets out employer responsibilities to not discriminate against any of the characteristics and circumstances it lists within its legislation. These cover most DEI initiatives, including equal pay and fairness for individuals of all backgrounds.

 

How do you embed diversity, equity, and inclusion at work?

To be effective, DEI must be adopted across the whole business and not just in written policies. Here at Sodexo Engage, we take pride in our DEI initiatives, including internal training programmes to help our employees live and breathe a DEI culture. We also run a host of DEI-inspired events and awareness initiatives throughout the year, both within our business and in our local community.

Creating a DEI strategy can be daunting regardless of whether your business is new, or you want to implement policies within an established company. Still, as highlighted, you will receive a return on time invested.

Creating and implementing DEI doesn’t have to fall on just one set of shoulders. Empower your employees to drive the change. Create a project team led by HR, a dedicated DEI officer or a CEO, and get your employees' perspective on where changes are needed and how best to implement them.

When you make crucial business changes with your employees instead of to your employees, they’re better received and create a positive and collaborative workplace culture.

Key DEI practices to adopt:

  • Create a clear, transparent, and understandable DEI policy that’s available to all employees
  • Embed DEI into your recruitment process
  • Provide development opportunities at all levels
  • Adopt a recognition and reward strategy that factors in all roles and performance
  • Regularly review your DEI policy to refine and improve
  • Set benchmarks and demonstrable KPIs to support your commitment to continued inclusivity and progressiveness.

 

How Sodexo Engage can assist with DEI at work

Just as we did with Montana Bakery, Sodexo Engage can create bespoke solutions that allow you to embed DEI into your new or current employee recognition and reward strategy. From benefits, rewards and incentives that will make a meaningful difference, to employee assistance and wellbeing packages, our flexible and adaptive approach allows us to meet your unique and diverse business needs. 

Contact Sodexo Engage today and take steps to make your business a DEI champion and reap the benefits that come with it.