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Action Ideas to Fuel Actionable DEI Initiatives – Part 2

DEI Initiatives are only as good as the changes they drive.

Great DEI initiatives have a measurable and sustainable impact on employee retention, engagement, satisfaction, productivity, and growth as well as the revenue, profits, product output, and other critical business objectives those happy, productive employees drive.

The key to great, impactful diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives is to fill it with actionable, measurable activities each with a budget, timeline, and priority.

Welcome back to this multi-part series sharing ideas for actionable, measurable actions to fuel impactful DEI initiatives.

In this part (part 2), we will explore actions to drive DEIB in…

Actionable DEI – Employee Engagement & Culture

The goal of Employee Engagement & Culture is to cultivate safe, productive environments that engage, empower, and retain all great talent.

This could be a great priority for your organization if your organization shows signs of struggling to engage or retain specific demographics, or people across all demographics. Common signs that there may be a problem are disproportionate attrition, complaints, or negative employee survey results based on demographics.

For example: if your organization hires 40% women but 80% of the attrition are made up of women, that is a disproportionate attrition rate that indicates the work environment may be negative or hostile towards women.

Within Employee Engagement and Culture, there are multiple areas to consider. Here are a few and some DEIB action ideas for each:

Culture / Work Environment

If your organization is experiencing a disproportionate attrition rate of one or more demographics, consider actions that will increase inclusion and belonging within the culture / work environment. For example:

  • Add microaggression training, policies, and procedures to your suite of required trainings. Go beyond ‘awareness’ and train on how to recognize microaggressions and what to do when they encounter a microaggression – as a victim or an observer. Have clear policies on how the organization will handle these instances and clear consequences for repeat offenders.

  • Introduce the ‘yes, and’ technique to DEIB conversations. DEIB conversations, such as for awareness, or in the moment feedback, or new ideas for how to increase DEIB, are often emotional, highly personal, and anchored in personal experience and perception. Rejecting an idea or feedback is the equivalent of rejecting the person and not only shuts down the conversation, it can also inadvertently fuel negative work environments. Training people on improv techniques such as ‘yes, and’ allows the conversation to continue without forcing agreement.


If your organization shows signs of lack of engagement or involvement of one or more demographics in organization activities, programs, or opportunities, consider actions that will increase inclusion within the communication style and approach. For example:

  • Create multiple versions of critical communications and release each version multiple times. Our ability to notice, absorb, and retain is as diverse as everything else about us. Some of us absorb and retain best the information we read, others what we hear, and others what we see. We also notice information more effectively at different times of day depending on things like location, schedules, life obligations, and personal preferences. With critical messages, create multiple versions such as emails, short format texts, short videos, and message posts. Send them out at different times across multiple days so they’re hitting inboxes and phones at various times.

  • Assemble a diverse team to evaluate and optimize critical communications. Using diversity to drive diversity does seem obvious, and yet, it’s so rarely done. A diverse review team will be able to identify and address potentially problematic or ineffective language across a broad range of perceptions (at least as broad as the team represents).


If your organization shows signs of lack of engagement or involvement of one or more demographics in specific activities, programs, or opportunities, consider actions that will increase inclusion and belonging through accommodations. For example:

  • Communicate available accommodations in a way that is accessible and anonymous. Not everyone is comfortable admitting they need an accommodation. Past stigmas and personal experiences often leave people fearful they will lose opportunities, their jobs, and/or the respect of those around them. At best, this lowers their potential productivity and could leave them feeling isolated from certain activities and opportunities. Providing a list of available accommodations and how to get them enables more employees to get what they need without forcing them to admit or advertise that they need it. It also conveys that the organization is aware of and embraces the wide spectrum of its employees.

  • Introduce an anonymous question/request forum. For the same reasons above, give employees an avenue to ask questions and make requests about accommodations (or other sensitive topics) without going through their management chain or their HR representative. Avenues such as anonymous hotlines, chat or email interfaces, or even an off-site third-party representative or counselor, will allow employees to get the answers they need without fear or discomfort.

And there’s more…

If your organization is strong overall in inclusive cultures and diversity engagement but is experiencing disproportionate attrition or negative feedback within specific teams or group, consider actions that increase inclusion and equity within business hygiene, management disciplines, and/or conflict resolution.

And, if your organization is generally considered inclusive and equitable but there’s a lack luster sense of belonging, especially at certain times of the year, consider actions that increase the inclusion and equity of how your organization handles holidays, occasions, and celebrations.

And this is only the beginning. There are actionable steps to increase DEI in talent engagement and talent acquisition, pay and compensation, career progression, driving the future workforce, and philanthropy. All of which can greatly impact the health of your organization and workforce – but those are topics for other blogs.

You can do it, we can help

Building a DEI initiative full of actionable, measurable content takes a bit more work, but has so much more return than good intensions and some awareness training. It is the difference between wishing things would change and driving change. You can do it, and we can help.

If you need a help getting started or you need a guide to help identify all that potential opportunity so you can start populating an actionable DEI plan, we’ve got you covered. We, at, offer everything from friendly advice to a deep dive DEI strategy workshop to explore all the exciting corners of what’s possible. Contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.

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