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Top 7 Reasons Why Your DEI Recruiting Efforts are Failing

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While diversity primarily refers to racial or ethnic diversity, it can also be expanded to include gender diversity. An inclusive workplace is one where all individuals are supported and respected, regardless of their race or gender identity. A diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce ensures not only representation but also brings together individuals with diverse experiences which can contribute to a progressive and innovative work environment.

Recruiting a diverse workforce has proven beneficial to companies in numerous ways. With access to a wider talent pool, they have better chances of hiring quality candidates. This can not only have improved productivity outcomes but also contribute to a positive brand image and reputation. With different perspectives, companies can also make better decisions by identifying challenges posed by stereotypical assumptions. This can contribute to effective product development as well.

7 Reasons why your DEI initiatives could be failing

However, despite the understanding the gravity of DEI in the workplace, many companies fail to implement successful diversity inclusion initiatives. There can be a plethora of reasons for it, but the most common ones include:

  • Just another policy: Often, companies treat their DEI initiatives as just another policy without understanding its implications and requirements. Formulating policies without an understanding of what strategies could make them effective sets them up for failure. Therefore, setting targets blindly without a proper environment to sustain the changes is not a feasible approach to DEI policy making.
  • Lack of sensitivity: DEI initiatives often fail because most initiatives target on hiring people from diverse backgrounds. Structural issues that can endanger the success of these policies often go unnoticed. DEI efforts can only be successful if leaders take charge of not just acquiring talents but also providing a safe place for them to be their authentic selves. Awareness and sensitivity towards how diversity can be made to feel welcome is essential for DEI initiatives to succeed.
  • Unconscious bias: Companies often fail to retain employees from minority groups because of ineffective diversity training programs (if they have had any in the first place). Non majority groups are often labelled with stereotypes which can affect a work environment negatively. Prejudices can be harboured by just about anyone and acknowledging they exist is the first step to combating them. Eliminating bias is essential for reducing employee turnover rates, especially from non-majority groups. Employees from minority groups constantly have greater pressure upon themselves to be perfect. They can also face unconscious or conscious prejudice which can impact their mental health. These factors can add up to employee burnout.
  • A lack of understanding of the challenges: Diversity initiatives are often treated as something a one-time training can fix. However, these challenges are ever evolving. Diversity trainings can fail because sensitization can only come from within. Inclusivity efforts are often not as effective because unlearning biases can take time. Consistent education and resource groups can be a great way to implement effective DEI initiatives.
  • Underestimating resource requirement for effective implementation: Businesses often fail to understand the complexity of DEI policies. A diverse workforce can only be sustained by an inclusive environment and that involves laying the foundations to rectifying systemic issues. These efforts can range from eliminating pay gaps to regular employee feedback surveys that will ensure that every employee is aware that they are equally valued for their contribution towards the company.
  • A lack of commitment: There can be misconception that diversity initiatives end with a successful hire. In reality, that cannot be further from the truth. Biases against non-majority groups can operate within daily interactions, future career enhancements like promotions or even for opportunities of growth. Companies must be, therefore, committed towards making necessary changes towards a cultural shift that can sustain DEI initiatives.
  • DEI pushback: Resistance to changes brought about by DEI initiatives can pose the biggest threats to the success of DEI policies. Company leaders must have effective frameworks to understand DEI pushback and its motivators. An article published by Gartner notes that pushback can manifest in three forms primarily – denial, disengagement and derailing [1]. The first form encompasses the denial of acknowledging any existent forms of discrimination. The second form shows refusal to engage with DEI efforts. The third form tries to draw attention away from the issues and experiences of minority groups by misdirecting concerns to other issues.

Strategies to ensure the success of DEI initiatives

Diversity inclusion attempts need to be consistent for them to be successful. Continuous efforts must be made to enhance the impacts of inclusion policies. This can be done through:

  • ERGs: Employee resource groups can be beneficial to employee retention in the long run. ERGs can help in building effective support systems which can have longstanding social and individual benefits. These groups can also come in useful for increasing awareness of different cultures.
  • Building awareness: Companies must take the initiative to expose and educate its workforce towards other cultures. Education must be based on highlighting experiences of minority groups to cultivate empathy towards them. It is also important to the understand the capacity of individuals to engage with DEI efforts effectively. This will help in identifying pushback areas where more tailored approaches may be required for diversity initiatives to succeed.
  • Clearly defining DEI goals: Diversity in recruitment can stem from novel intentions but employee retention can prove challenging if the goals aren’t clearly defined. Often, pushback happens because individuals cannot understand the changes that a DEI initiative could bring about. Establishing clear communication is important for these efforts to be successful. Employees must understand why certain decisions are being taken and how they will be impacted by it to be prepared for oncoming changes.

Using AI Tools to Ensure DEI in the Workplace

Companies can simplify the early stages of hiring by allowing AI sourcing and recruiting tools to handle candidate shortlisting and skill assessment. These tools also manage candidate data and use predictive analytics to identify the best matches according to defined criteria, all while minimizing bias. Arya by Leoforce is an AI solution which focusses on recruiting a diverse workforce. Arya offers features to help companies achieve their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals without extra costs or complicated workflows. The platform can hide certain candidate details to reduce unconscious bias during the selection process. It provides detailed reports and analytics that help track DEI performance, making it easier for leaders to measure progress and take action. Book a demo today to see how Arya can help you achieve your DEI goals in the workplace.

Final thoughts

Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is an essential factor for hiring an innovative and growing workforce. Companies must understand the nuances to DEI policies for effectively implementing them. Successful DEI initiatives can aid to company growth in the long run. Therefore, it is important for companies to build a sustainable environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds can thrive. These practices can also have impact on a larger social scale where inclusive principles can be understood better.

References

  • https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/how-to-navigate-pushback-to-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-efforts

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