With the collective unrest of 2020, brought on by the pandemic and social justice issues, talent acquisition leaders began to focus more than ever on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. However, with diversity and equity being more easily measured, inclusion is often given less priority. For HR and recruiting teams wanting to make impactful DEI changes, inclusion must also be a focus.
In early January, we welcomed Lisa Russell, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleria, for an Inclusion Workshop. Just what is inclusion? Lisa defines it as “the act of ensuring that people’s experiences within an organization are not impacted negatively as a result of their personal characteristics.” It’s these day-to-day moments and interactions that give us key insights into exclusion and inclusion within an organization.
To Measure DEI Go Beyond Surveys
Survey fatigue is real yet, without data points, organizations are often left unsure of how to invest in DEI in a meaningful way. For DEI initiatives to be successful, look beyond merely measuring. Success here is all about making an impact.
Lisa noted, “Inclusion is like health. You notice when you don’t have it, but its absence is most difficult to notice for those who are included.” The team at Aleria has defined nine categories of inclusion supported by research and have developed actionable steps for organizations to improve. During our workshop, Lisa shared 5 of these categories, and we’ve highlighted a few below.
Categories of Inclusion
Recognition is easily one of the most significant opportunities for increasing a sense of inclusion and employee satisfaction at your organization. Lisa recommends creating systems of recognition, which can lead to massive shifts in employees feeling included. Here are some steps you can take:
- Give credit where it’s due
- Make recognition ongoing and personal
- Tie each role to the organization’s mission, providing employees with a sense of value
- Flip the status quo by allowing for reverse mentorship, giving opportunities to those at a lower level to demonstrate their skills and abilities
Work-Life Balance came into focus during 2020 and 2021 with the rise of remote and flexible work arrangements. With 76% of global employees desiring flexibility in where they work and 93% desiring flexibility when they work, organizations should strive to support their employees’ work-life balance. (And maybe start calling it life-work balance to shift the focus!) Here’s where to start:
- Develop an official policy in writing and stand by it
- Create a safe space for wellness feedback from employees
- Set clear norms and expectations for communication (Slack, email, etc.)
- Broadly communicate policies to all employees, where possible
Access and Participation are essential components of inclusion initiatives. Lisa shared that companies prioritizing disability inclusion have 28% higher revenue and double net income. Organizations can easily achieve many changes to access and participation policies. These are some ideas:
- Consider accessibility and inclusivity in planning meetings, allowing for in-person and virtual spaces
- Be mindful of proximity bias
- Prioritize inclusion of all identities at events (non-alcoholic drinks, dietary restrictions, etc.)
- Provide closed captioning for virtual meetings and recordings
- Send agendas ahead of time, recognizing that some employees need more time for developing their thoughts