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 that 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 part 1 of this series, we dove into actionable ideas for driving DEIB in Talent Attraction and Talent Acquisition. In part 2, we explored ideas for employee engagement and culture. In part 3, we walked through actionable ideas for equitable and inclusive pay and compensation. In part 4 we explored actionable ideas for talent management & career progression. And in part 5, we explored ideas for building a future workforce.
In this final part (part 6), we will explore actions to drive DEIB in…
There are several goals of Philanthropic efforts. The most common outward goal is to contribute to the betterment of the community and the planet. But organizations also use philanthropic efforts to build brand (otherwise, why issue press releases for all the good work that you do). Philanthropy is also a great way to build a more inclusive and equitable community which helps attract and retain a wider range of employees.
This could be a great priority for your organization if your organization is struggling to draw people from one or more demographics from your community or if your brand is not seen as inclusive or equitable. Common signs that there may be a problem are a lack of willingness from one or more demographics to relocate for your positions, and a demographic pattern for those who have a desire to work for you.
For example: if you do a candidate survey on awareness of your brand and desire to work for the organization and the results show a high awareness but low desire from one or more demographics, this could be a sign that your brand is not seen as welcoming, equitable, or inclusive for that demographic.
When considering philanthropic efforts, there are multiple opportunities to consider. Here are a few along with actionable DEIB ideas:
Scholarships / Grants
Strong, healthy communities require a minimum level of wealth and stability. For some, that may mean breaking cycles of underprivileged and poverty. Monetary support in the form of scholarships and grants across a variety of disciplines are a great way to inject communities with the needed tools to generate wealth through access to higher-paying jobs. To do this effectively, know what the community needs and how to provide it. For example:
Research the community needs and what is already available and use the information to establish a meaningful scope and budget that truly enables the individuals and the community. This could mean adding funding to existing scholarships to stretch the programs further, or to introduce your own scholarships. Budget to impact.
For example, providing a $5,000 scholarship to a $30,000/year education will not increase accessibility for those with financial barriers. Providing a $5,000 scholarship to a $10,000 certification program where the educational institution provides $5,000 in grants to those who financially qualify, will remove the barrier.
If you don’t have the resources and/or expertise to run a program, partner with an organization that does. There are many organizations that run scholarship and grant programs – from educational institutions to non-profits, to other organizations with scholarship programs. Rather than wasting precious time and resources building out your own, look to partner to take advantage of existing know-how and infrastructure so the support reaches the community faster and more efficiently.
Philanthropy and giving back are not limited to providing funds (though that is very helpful). Resources in the form of people hours is another valuable commodity that can greatly impact the community. Not only does lending a hand help accomplish goals, it also exposes your employees to the community and the community to your employees, building bonds and brand on a human to human level. For example:
Select programs and opportunities that align with your mission, values, and community needs. There are endless organizations and programs looking for volunteers – from soup kitchens and clothing drives to building homes and playgrounds to educational programs, etc. The opportunities are endless, but your resources are not. Programs that align with your mission and values will create the sense of a larger purpose, help prioritize the opportunities, and enable clear communications internally and externally for the selected programs.
Adopt an ‘opt in’ policy with choice for your employees. Giving back requires ‘giving’. Forcing employees to volunteer their time or forcing them to partake in a specific event may end up being counterproductive. Negative experiences inhibit community bonding, lower the chances that the employee will do it again, decrease employer loyalty, and are usually not very valuable to the cause. Instead, provide a variety of options for employees to select from so they can find something that fits both the mission and interests and don’t force anyone.
Vendor / Partnership Selection
While much of philanthropy is giving without expectation for return, there is another form of giving that is hugely powerful. Doing business with minority/women-owned and local businesses provide the community an opportunity to earn wealth and break into industries which has a profound and lasting impact. While vendor selection is ‘just business’, it can also be philanthropic as selecting businesses that are still building up or haven’t traditionally been able to compete usually require more effort, guidance, and investment than granting business to established providers. For example:
Allocate a percentage of budget and/or business to minority/women-owned businesses (or local businesses). Include within the budget an expectation for a higher cost of goods, longer lead-times (as many don’t have the scale of larger, established businesses) and resources for guidance and help to successfully work with your organization. The goal of working with these vendors are not just the immediate contract, but also to help establish and grow their businesses so they become anchors of employment and wealth within the community.
Build a clear, equitable program for vendors to compete for business with well-communicated opportunities, transparent criteria, and accessible processes. Many times, traditionally overlooked organizations can’t compete simply because they don’t know how. Especially those getting off the ground or those that have never had access to work with organizations like yours. The simple act of clearly communicating the opportunities, how to compete, and a method to compete, opens the doors to a wider variety of businesses. For the best results, combine this with your allocated budget for minority/women-owned businesses and an anonymous process for those businesses to equitably apply.
And there’s more…
To help fund community-building programs that help build, improve, beautify, etc. consider donation programs. Or give your employees opportunities to help fund vetted solutions with internal Fund-Raising programs.
Lend your voice to your philanthropic partners to help amplify their message and efforts by running co-branded awareness campaigns.
And this is only the beginning. There are actionable steps to increase DEI in talent engagement and talent acquisition, Employee Engagement and Culture, pay & compensation, talent management & career progression, and building a future workforce. 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 just good intentions and some awareness training. It is the difference between wishing things would change and driving change. You can do it, we can help.
If you need 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 career.place, 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.