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Action Ideas to Fuel Actionable DEI Initiatives – Part 1

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

Great DEI initiatives have a measurable and sustainable impact that go well beyond candidate and employee diversity. They have a measurable 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 DEI initiatives is to fill it with actionable, measurable activities each with a budget, timeline, and priority. Unfortunately, many DEI initiatives fall short with little more than aspirational language or vague ideas that don’t go much beyond ‘awareness training’.

Luckily, this presents a great opportunity!

With great emptiness comes great opportunity

Empty or vague initiatives are the perfect starting point to building a robust, actionable, measurable, impactful plan!

This is a three-step process:

  1. IDENTIFY the opportunities: what we can do and why we should do it

  2. DEFINE and prioritize those opportunities: what it will take to accomplish the task, and how impactful it will be

  3. MAP the prioritized ideas to a roadmap with assigned ownership: when we will do it and who will participate.

This, of course, begs the question: what exactly can we do in DEI (beyond ‘awareness training’) that’s actionable and measurable?

Good question!

There are a ton of options! Over the next several blogs, we will share ideas across multiple business functions to help build out your actionable DEI initiatives. Starting with…

Actionable DEI – Talent Attraction and Talent Acquisition

The goal of Talent Attraction and Talent Acquisition is to attract, engage, screen, and select candidates effectively, inclusively, and equitably.

Therefore, this could be a great priority for your organization if your organization has limited diversity in the candidate pool and/or workforce.

Within Talent Attraction and Talent Acquisition, there are multiple areas to consider. Here are a few and some DEI actions ideas for each:


If you don’t have enough diversity (or quality) in your candidate pool, consider actions that will increase diversity (and quantity and quality) at the source. For example:

  • Identify, evaluate, and add sources to your source strategy that provide additional candidates and candidate diversity to your candidate pool.

  • Expand relationships with current sources to optimize both access and understanding of those sources’ candidates. For example: talking with students of the educational institutions you work with to get a sense of what drives them and excites them so you can resonate more effectively with them when advertising jobs.


If your theoretical candidate pool is diverse (i.e. those who have access to the job), but that diversity fades with those who engage (i.e. those who choose to apply or respond), consider actions that increase the inclusion and equity in how you attract candidates. For example:

  • Evaluate and rewrite (when necessary) job descriptions to resonate with a wider audience. For example, removing gendered or cultured content that would alienate certain demographics, and switching from a ‘tell’ to a ‘show’ narrative style to better resonate with those who are unfamiliar with your job or brand.

  • Optimize job advertisement style, format, and focus for your target audiences. Just as product marketing campaigns do, tailor the job advertisements to best resonate with different candidate segments. For example, those with family obligations may be more drawn by a strong work-life balance message, and those who are looking to shift careers may be more drawn to inclusion and career development messages.


If you have strong diversity of those applying but that diversity fades as candidates move through the first screening stages of the hiring process, consider actions that increase equity of the screening steps. For example:

  • Evaluate and rewrite (when necessary) job requirements to ensure they are as inclusive and equitable as possible while still providing a valuable evaluation of the candidate. For example, remove assumptions and proxies such as using “must have 4-year degree” as a short-cut for ‘smart person who can design complex algorithms that…’ (just use a requirement that the person ‘must be able design complex algorithms that…’). Also, remove vague language that relies on a candidate’s interpretation such as “strong communicator”.

  • Introduce as much anonymity to the screening process to avoid triggering biases. For example, remove extraneous information such as names, addresses, emails, pictures, education pedigree, etc. Better yet, remove it all and only show what is specifically identified as being required for the job, which is how our candidate screening solution works.

And there’s more…

If you have good diversity through the screening steps but that diversity fades within the latter interview steps, consider actions that increase inclusion and equity within the interview process or the candidate selection process.

And, if you have good diversity all the way through the candidate evaluation process, but certain demographics rarely accept an offer, consider actions that increase the inclusion and belonging of the candidate experience.

And this is only the beginning. There are actionable steps to increase DEI in employee engagement, 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 little 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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