The topic of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in the workplace has always been important, and for good reason. DEIB fosters a culture of respect, trust, understanding, and collaboration. That’s why it’s no surprise that more than 80% of organizations have DEIB initiatives underway. 

However, DEIB programs are struggling with both execution and perception problems. According to a survey of over 10,000 knowledge workers, only 15.6% believe that DEI is connected to business initiatives and outcomes. What’s more, only 16% see their company’s DEI strategies as best-in-class and sustainable. Even the strongest strategy can fall flat without proper execution. Without the right blueprint, companies are failing to go beyond DEIB tactics and create vibrant, inclusive workplaces.

In order to tackle this problem while providing tangible tips to bring DEIB to life across the workplace, we brought together four HR leaders in a recent webinar: “How to Operationalize DEIB in 2024.

Here are the takeaways for setting a strong DEIB strategy, measuring its impact, and creating robust programs that drive real results. 

Chapter 1: Setting Strategy

To kick things off, the panelists shared last year’s strategies and how they have evolved for 2024.

Start With a DEIB Listening Tour

For Bell, who launched Lattice’s DEIB function last year, 2023 was all about having meaningful conversations with leadership about why DEIB is important. He started with a listening tour, asking the following grounding questions:

  • What do you think is the value of DEIB work?
  • What do you think gets in the way of that work?
  • What do managers need to be better DEIB advocates and sponsors?
  • What are some of your awareness gaps?

In 2024, Bell’s strategy is to use those insights to create the infrastructure to support his program. He says that includes “revisiting competencies across roles, identifying opportunities to create more inclusive environments and diverse teams, and creating a manager onboarding program with an inclusive leadership session. We also looked at our performance and talent reviews to ensure that we are standing up diverse perspectives and recognizing diverse work styles as something that is valued.” 

How to Operationalize DEIB in 2024
Watch the full webinar to get all of the expert insights.

Build Toward a DEIB Learning Ecosystem

At Indeed, Laws shared that she “identified an issue where [teams] had different proficiency levels when it came to DEIB competency… In 2023, we worked to create a strategy that would allow Indeed to standardize its company-wide DEIB proficiency.” In 2024, they are in the implementation stage of that strategy, launching a DEIB learning ecosystem founded on three capabilities: 

  • Curiosity: actively pursuing empathy and understanding
  • Commitment: seeking long-term sustained action toward DEIB
  • Courage: supporting others through vulnerability and allyship

Chapter 2: Measuring Results

With strategies set, we asked the panel how they are using data and statistics to demonstrate impact and change. 

Develop Your DEIB Measurement Formula

At Paradigm, the team has a keen focus on data to continuously improve learning programs for themselves and their customers. Stratton shared the formula that they use to do so: “We measure impact as efficacy plus reach… Efficacy is how successful the efforts that we’re implementing are. Reach is how many people are engaged with those efforts. Or, put more simply, how are we moving the needle, and for how many people?”

Paradigm uses surveys to measure changes in people’s understanding and behaviors toward DEIB. Stratton explains that, after someone completes a learning course, they ask, “To what extent do you understand strategies that you can use to create a more inclusive culture? Or to manage bias? Or to build ally skills?” 

Bell leads a People Analytics team at Lattice, so he is no stranger to data. The team is focused on monitoring “the experience gap.” He explains that “we’re looking at all of our talent lifecycle data: talent pipeline, hiring, performance, engagement, growth, and transition.” They look at the data together and then dig deeper into demographic cuts to understand how different groups experience each phase of the lifecycle.

“We monitor the gaps, then the work is on how we close those gaps.”

Define What DEIB Success Looks Like

At Indeed, Laws shares that they “are looking for progress, not perfection. So when you consider DEI maturity in those terms, it’s important not to dismiss incremental change.” The metrics that they measure include e-learning course completion, quarterly engagement surveys, and employee participation in their Inclusion Business Resource Groups. They also observe attrition rates by demographic. “We think these data points can help us understand how DEIB is affecting employees in their daily work,” Laws said. 

Chapter 3: Operationalizing DEIB

The final chapter that the panel discussed was how to bring DEIB strategies to life company-wide. For these programs to be successful, DEIB needs to be woven into the ways we work, where we work, and especially the tools that we work with. 

Find Your DEIB Champions

Stratton kicked things off with an easy win to help operationalize DEIB programs. “If you have a sense of the folks you can activate to be your DEIB champions, that’s a great place to start. That’s especially important as you look to more senior levels of leadership. Figure out who are the senior and executive leaders that you can activate early on. And if you don’t know, ask!” she said.

Use Tools to Enable Employees 

Laws shared a valuable tool they use at Indeed to bring DEIB into employees’ daily workflows: “In 2022, Indeed launched our inclusive language guide as an internal resource. We saw that [employees] were engaging their curiosity about inclusive language by seeking out the language guide on their own and using it as a reference tool… The nature of the resource being a separate guide made it useful to consult after the fact… but there should also be an opportunity to be more proactive with inclusive language and not just reactive.” Laws implemented Grammarly to put that guide directly in the employees’ flow of work, providing inclusive language suggestions in real time. 

“With Grammarly, we put the tool in the hands of our employees—quite literally at their fingertips—to make the learning experience frictionless. Now we can measure learning and behavior change by capturing the analytics for what words and phrases are being used and how often, how many users are changing non-inclusive language to better, inclusive options, and the percentage of adoption of these better and more inclusive suggestions.”

“The results that we’ve seen by operationalizing our inclusive language guide is empowering employees to have new and better conversations with each other, with clients, and with the marketplace. Making that learning frictionless is what really put us on the path toward realizing that goal,” Laws said.

The Tools That Drive Impact

The panel ended with a rapid round of tips and tools that enable HR teams to operationalize their work and drive the most impact. Here’s what the group shared:

  • ERGs/IBRGs to drive connection and belonging among employees
  • DEIB playbooks to standardize company-wide DEIB proficiency
  • Communication templates for DEIB champions to share their wins with the rest of the organization
  • Indeed to find and hire a diverse range of qualified candidates
  • Lattice to build a culture of connection and belonging through powerful analytics
  • Paradigm to deliver impactful DEIB training programs
  • Grammarly to encourage inclusive language as employees write

Watch the full on-demand webinar to hear the rest of the insights this group of DEIB thought leaders shared. Want to learn how your organization can use Grammarly’s style guides to foster more inclusive language company-wide? Get in touch with one of our product experts today!

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