Program Best Practices

3 powerful ways to lead DEI efforts at your company

It’s every recruiter’s job to learn how to do better when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in hiring. But as a talent leader, you have the ability to drive it. In fact, a recent survey of recruiters by Lever found that 50% of respondents are planning to make diversity and inclusion more of a priority as companies proactively work to combat inequality in the workplace. 

To discuss how talent practitioners can bring this goal to life, we joined forces with Lever, Hired and Crosschq for a conversation about this important topic. Our panelists included: 

  • Chez Jennings, Technical Recruiter at Lever (moderator)
  • Dean Delpeache, Sr. Manager Talent Acquisition and Diversity and Inclusion Strategist at Fiix Software
  • Phylicia Jones, Director of Global Talent Development at PagerDuty
  • Jess Kimball, Head of Inclusion, Diversity, and Employee Engagement
    at Ancestry

Check out the full recording and our key takeaways below:

3 ways to lead DEI efforts at your company.

1. Start uncomfortable conversations around DEI.

You don’t need to have a fully baked DEI strategy to start engaging in conversations with your employees. And it’s no longer solely the responsibility of HR to initiate them. Every employee should feel empowered to have a dialogue with their teammates about a range of topics — from how to approach DEI as an organization to broader issues that are surfacing in society today. 

Recommendations to start uncomfortable conversations: 

  • Create safe spaces. At Ancestry, the team has been intentional about creating safe spaces for every segment at their company. This means ensuring that, no matter where someone is on their individual DEI journey, they feel comfortable participating in conversations that are happening in the organization. They’ve facilitated this by having conversations across a range of channels — from global company town halls to intimate check-ins and everything in between.  
  • Let data inform the conversations. Data can be a powerful tool to identify where conversations are — or perhaps aren’t — happening. The team at PagerDuty uses a yearly inclusion survey to drill into various segments of their organization — based on identity, department, or role — to help them see how they’re doing in terms of starting those conversations and where they can stand to improve.
  • Encourage continuous conversations. Unfortunately, hosting a diversity training once or twice a year isn’t enough to create a culture of conversation. It’s easy for people to forget what they learned and feels more like a one-off effort instead of an ongoing commitment. That’s why Fiix Software partnered with Crescendo as a way to curate a consistent stream of DEI-related content for their employees. This content is accompanied by a monthly focus group called Crescendo Conversations, where employees gather to talk about real issues that are happening in the world. Everyone - from the CEO to the newest hires - attend and have the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about current events. 

2. Tie DEI efforts back to the business. 

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that DEI has a huge impact on the business as well. Investing in DEI initiatives will ultimately have benefits that trickle down - not only to employees - but also to your customers, brand, and other critical stakeholders. To make this impact more tangible, it may help to tie your DEI efforts back to the company.  

Recommendations to tie DEI back to your business goals:

  • Mitigate bias in your recognition programs. There are likely some processes and programs at your organization that inadvertently present barriers to your inclusion efforts. For instance, take a look at your recognition programs. Do your programs exclude part of your workforce from being celebrated by only rewarding specific metrics that not everyone can achieve? If so, you may want to reconsider the design of your program and start finding ways to reward new and intangible behaviors - like living out company values or serving as culture champions - to encourage more equity. Learn more about how to build an inclusive spot recognition program here in our Spot Recognition Planning Guide.

Additionally, are your rewards themselves inclusive and personalized, or are they one-size-fits-none? At Blueboard, we offer a menu of hundreds of hand-curated experiential rewards that employees get to choose from. That means no matter their personal hobbies, interests, or bucket list, they’ll choose the reward that’s most meaningful to them. From mindful meditation to outdoor camping adventures to Michelin star dining, your employees will feel valued and inspired to share their recognition stories more broadly across the organization. 

  • Focus on alignment. At PagerDuty, they’re mindful of building alignment on DEI initiatives throughout the organization. Many HR leaders try to get leadership buy-in for their initiatives, but it’s important to remember that leadership goes beyond just the CEO. So even if the CEO is on board with a program, but the other team leads don’t understand it, everything at the employee level will be disconnected.
  • Show the day-to-day impact. It helps to create enthusiasm around DEI initiatives when they’re tied into the day-to-day roles of your employees. For example, at Ancestry, they created a set of inclusivity guidelines for their content marketing team. These include guidelines around language so Ancestry’s content creators feel comfortable knowing they’re using inclusive terms that the rest of their organization - and customers - share. This information is then presented in a customized workshop for the entire marketing team so they can understand how bias impacts media and to learn how to mitigate their own with the content they put out. 

3. Establish KPIs to measure your DEI recruiting efforts. 

When it comes to managing the recruiting pipeline, how do you set measures of success? Setting up a way to track progress can ensure you move your DEI hiring goals forward and demonstrate that you’re committed to your metrics as an organization.  

Recommendations to set up DEI tracking and metrics for success: 

  • Get granular. At Fiix Software, they drill down to very deep levels when it comes to tracking metrics. For example, they spend a lot of time analyzing their job descriptions - which is the entryway for their talent pipeline. Not only do they make sure their descriptions are gender-balanced, but they also include their equity statement in each posting. The team then tracks what percentage of their candidates applied as a result of their equity statement. Similarly, they have applicants fill out an optional DEI survey and have seen a 90% completion rate - this data is then used to inform their talent initiatives. 
  • Arm recruiters with data. With the right tracking and data in place, you can empower your recruiters to serve as talent advisors to hiring managers. For example, the team at Fiix Software discovered that - despite the fact that their talent pipeline for a specific product area had the same proportion of males and females - only 12% of females were being hired overall. What they realized through tracking is that more males tended to be hired in interviews where female hiring managers weren’t present. After their recruiters were armed with this data, they changed the process to always require a female hiring manager to be present during interviews. 

Talent practitioners have the potential to make a huge impact on the ability to make their organization more diverse and inclusive. By opening up the floor for conversations, tying their efforts to the broader business, and tracking progress, we’ll be one step closer to combating inequality in the workplace. 

If you’re curious to learn how Blueboard can help you develop a more equitable recognition program and hear how our top clients are rewarding intangibles and culture-driving behaviors, request a personalized demo online here.

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