5 steps to moving your DEI strategy forward

February 19, 2021

Strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind for many Boards and executives going into 2021, but many are unsure about where to focus.

Here are 5 things human resources professionals can do today to focus your efforts and start advancing the DEI strategy at your company.

1.   Ask your employees – What helps employees feel like they do or don’t belong? Do they feel like there is an active DEI dialogue in the organization? Engaging your employees by conducting focus groups and pulse surveys is not only a great employee-relations move, but the results will help you ground your DEI strategy in evidence. Why risk making changes that are not meaningful to your employees? Talk to your employees and listen to what they have to say.

2.   Let the numbers tell your story – According to Mercer’s recent “Let’s Get Real About Equality” research, less than 60% of organizations track rates of hiring, promotion, and exit by ethnicity, gender, and career level. Your HRIS data is a treasure trove of information regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity. In examining trends and patterns within your organization’s recruitment, retention, promotion, development, and pay practices, you will be able to see how equitable your current talent strategy really is, and you will be able to clearly prioritize where and how to make improvements.

Sample DEI Metrics:

  • Employee survey data cut by gender, ethnicity, and age
  • New hire rate by ethnicity and function
  • Promotion rates by gender and function
  • Base salary wage gap by job and city
  • Top performer ratings (%) by ethnicity, category, and function

3.   Find your champion(s) – As with all great change initiatives in an organization, success depends on support from your leaders. Engage your leadership team – find out about DEI-related challenges and goals as they see them and collectively envision the future state for your organization. Through this activity, you will likely see champions emerge. Encourage their voices and support as your company moves forward in its DEI journey.

4.   Ask for help – Improving DEI outcomes is a priority for many leaders and employees. But let’s be honest, many of us don’t know what to say, where to start, or how to approach the initiative in order to obtain far-reaching impact. It’s ok to engage an expert. Human resources consulting firms, such as Mercer, will be able to provide you with direction, benchmarks, and guidance, which not only will enhance your outcomes but will increase your efficiency. Think of it as a way to take your DEI strategy from good to great.

5.   Now’s the time for targets – Many organizations start out by setting DEI targets, based on what they’ve read or seen other companies do. Instead, make your DEI journey about you – your employees’ perspectives, your HRIS trends, and your leaders all working together to make your DEI strategy come to life. Once you’ve developed a thorough understanding of the current state, how your employees feel, and what your leadership team can accomplish, you can prioritize what changes need to be made. Get clear on what needs to happen, who will own the initiative, and when needed actions will be underway.

Looking for more information to inform your DEI strategy? Talk to us to find out all the different ways we can help – from digital focus groups to engagement survey resources to data benchmarks and everything in between. Please contact us at 866-605-1031 or surveys@mercer.com.