4 ways to embed DEI into your corporate culture

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a priority for many companies, whether in ensure representation at the top or building diversity and inclusion capabilities across the organization. And for good reason: diverse and inclusive teams are more creative and engaged, make better decisions and produce better results.

The implementation of DEI principles starts with the creation of a sense of belonging in your organization. People need to feel they can present themselves as they are and trust that their views will be valued. Culture Amp research shows that a sense of belonging is strongly correlated with employee contract; more specifically, a person’s commitment, motivation and pride in being part of an organization.

Beyond recognizing and appreciating distinctive aspects of racial, social, economic, gender, and religious identities, diverse and inclusive teams also harness each person’s unique backgrounds and experiences as strengths of the collective. These teams benefit from a much richer set of collective knowledge. Consequently, they are more adept at thinking outside the box, avoiding blind spots, and make better decisions that produce better results.

While most organizations know the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, they often fail to strategically and consistently embed this mindset into day-to-day operations.

Consider the following four tips to enable an inclusive environment where employees from all backgrounds can thrive:

1. Recognize unconscious biases

To acknowledge unconscious bias is a way to “stress test” how inclusive your team and organization really are. Bias can easily creep into all aspects of day-to-day operations, such as talent acquisition, team building, idea sharing, rewards and recognition, and more.

A good way to “make the unconscious conscious” is to ask these simple but powerful questions:

  • How are diverse viewpoints and needs recognized, recognized and represented?
  • What am I doing to create a safe environment for diverse perspectives to emerge?
  • Are there structural biases in the status quo?

Inclusion surveys are another valuable tool for understanding if your team and processes are inclusive. These tools help you understand the current state of DEI in your organization, identify priority areas, and run intersectional analyzes to guide meaningful action.

2. Provide resources and encourage open dialogues

Proactively seek out tools to help educate and improve your team’s understanding of DEI. For example, you can share a resource to understand why gender pronouns are important and how to use them appropriately. Webinars like this on lay the foundation for diversity and inclusion as you scale are another great educational resource.

Rather than relying on compliance policies of “what not to do,” managers can proactively adopt more fair and inclusive practices across their team to drive positive change. By sharing resources and creating safe spaces for open dialogues, managers can help teams increase awareness, facilitate shared learning opportunities, and co-create an inclusive environment of mutual respect.

Here are some additional resources that can help you start this dialogue with your team:

3. Demystify expectations

Beyond creating a space for open dialogue, it is important to clarify standards and expectations. By doing so, you can help your team translate intent into action. One way to do this is to empower your team to define a set of shared operating principles, calling out specific mindsets, behaviors, and actions that align with those principles. This can help increase transparency about how people are expected to behave and engage.

Some powerful inquiries to kick-start the dialogue could include:

  • What does a diverse and inclusive culture look like for us as a team?
  • What could this diverse and inclusive culture – mindset, behaviors, actions – look like in our daily lives?
  • What are the important guiding principles that can keep us aligned?
  • Where are we going? What are our opportunities?

4. Integrate DEI practices at all levels

People leaders have the opportunity to intentionally integrate DEI into the operations of the organization. For example, you can introduce a shared leadership model to organize team meetings. This encourages the team to embrace different leadership styles and even out power dynamics and biases.

Bring out the best in your team

By creating a diverse and inclusive environment, managers have a tremendous opportunity to bring out the best in their people and turn differences into unique strengths for their team. By recognizing each employee’s individuality and embracing differences, teams and organizations will not only support an environment of belonging, but will also achieve better results.

Turn your commitment into action with Culture Amp’s complete DEI guide. The guide includes everything leaders need to know about DEI, including best practices and resources for every step of the journey.