Making Space for DEI - American Society of Employers - Linda Olejniczak

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Making Space for DEI

Diversity Equity InclusionDEI initiatives have stalled for a second year according to the McLean & Company HR Trends 2023 survey results.  In our work helping companies develop roadmaps for DEI, a handful of key areas lacking:

  • Dedicated time to focus on DEI
  • Leadership support
  • Training
  • Resources

Where organization need to focus are also their roadblocks: governance, leadership buy-in, and strategic discussions.  Actions and planning can refocus your organization.

  1. Leadership: Senior leaders should model DEI behaviors in all of their interactions and communications. This will start with training. 40% of organizations that leverage competency-based training are more likely to be high performing in DEI compared to those leveraging awareness-based training.
  2. Communications: DEI-related topics and performance should be woven into regular communication cadences from leaders and human resources functions. When organizations create new employee network (or resource) groups, for example, that news should be shared with employees and mentioned by leaders through existing communications channels. 
  3. Governance framework: 70% of respondents indicated they did not have a DEI governance framework.  Policies and practices document how DEI programs will operate in the organization. These policies should address how DEI considerations are integrated including the employee experience, performance management, recruiting, retention, advancement, compensation and more.
  4. DEI Team or Resources:  74% of ASE respondents report they do not have a DEI team or resources dedicated. There is no one size fits all however, with a combination of leadership support, ASE resources, and a dedicated team organizations will more likely become high performing vs. those without this focus.

Recruiting is once again the number one priority on ASE members’ minds for the third year in a row. Although DEI has fallen further down the list, this work does not exist in a silo – maintaining momentum on DEI efforts will support other priorities, including talent attraction and retention.  In fact, ASE HR departments that are high performing in DEI are 2.4x more likely to be high performing in recruiting.

It’s also good news that embedding DEI into organizational culture and processes does not require a degree in advanced physics. All that’s needed to operationalize DEI is the right commitment, planning, and structure.

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