Workforce Solutions

Three Steps to Supercharge DEI Capability

Cogent Infotech
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Dallas, TX

Three Steps to Supercharge DEI Capability

Initiatives designed to drive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace can no longer be afterthoughts or footnotes in organizational development and growth journeys. Research proves that diverse and inclusive workplaces are 3X more productive than those that are not. With such immense business impact, organizations must invest in building DEI capabilities.

Even though it takes years to build a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, business leaders must begin today and come up with concrete strategies to build sustainable DEI capabilities. Here's how you can do the same for your organization and the three steps you can take to avoid major pitfalls while building effective DEI capabilities.

Prioritize Critical Situations and Behaviors

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are becoming increasingly crucial for organizations to attract and retain quality talent. Workplaces that are not considered safe or inclusive are facing high attrition, employee disengagement, and erosion of the employer brand. However, your current employees and leadership can't change their behaviors until they clearly understand what DEI means.

To facilitate this learning and transformation, it's essential first to define the critical situations and behaviors that must be prioritized. For instance, the following situations may require employees to be hyper-aware of their behavior and make an additional effort to be inclusive:

  • Recruitment and onboarding of new candidates from diverse backgrounds
  • Team meetings and internal communications
  • Performance reviews and feedback sharing
  • Appraisal or grievance handling
  • Customer interaction (for front-end employees)

In all these situations, define acceptable behaviors and promote your organizational DEI capabilities. Build use-cases and code of conduct to guide employee behavior. The clearer your guidelines, the more significant the change in employee behavior would be.

Support Training and Practice of DEI Capabilities

One of the main reasons that DEI initiatives fail to create an impact is that employees cannot transfer theoretical concepts to practical applications. Cultural biases, ethnic background, and personal prejudices continue to make modern workplaces unsafe and intolerant. Therefore, only sensitizing employees about DEI capabilities and expected behavior in certain situations is not enough. You need to support cultural inclusivity through regular training and practice of DEI capabilities. 

Develop simulations or training environments, such as role-plays, where employees can practice inclusive and equitable behavior. Design training content relevant to the job roles and daily interactions that the employees face. For instance, recruiters can be trained to select candidates from a diverse talent pool without giving into personal biases. Similarly, managers can be trained to accept diverse opinions, ideas, and constructive criticism during team meetings.

Personalize, Measure, and Reward Adoption

No two organizations can have the same focus, orientation, talent pool, and resources to develop similar DEI capabilities. Thus, what works for others, may not work for you. Therefore, personalizing your DEI capability building is imperative for avoiding common mistakes and failing to make a true impact.

Draw up an action plan and try to answer the following questions for your organization:

  • Can you train your existing workforce to become more inclusive? If so, can training be effectively organized online or offline?
  • Which learning methods and tools would work best for your talent pool?
  • Can you measure the success of training and subsequent adoption of DEI capabilities at the department or individual level?
  • Can you ensure frequent training and nudges for all employees to integrate inclusive behavior in situations that matter?
  • Can you reward successful and sustainable adoption of DEI capabilities for reinforcing positive behavior and building an inclusive culture?

As you start measuring the impact of training and quantifiable adoption of DEI capabilities, you will notice increased inclusion, equity, and diversity in your organization. The eventual gain would be tremendous in terms of heightened productivity, workplace safety, and improved employer brand.

To read more engaging content like this and learn how to build a sustainable workplace culture for your organization, visit the Cogent Info website.

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