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What Role Does DEI Play in Your Workplace Culture?

diverse staff photo workplace culture

How happy and engaged is your workforce? It’s not easy to objectively examine factors that can affect performance and turnover, especially in the daily rush of trying to complete every item on your ever-expanding to-do list. Management and HR leadership professionals wear many hats, responsible for not only reaching goals but also nurturing talent and maintaining high performance. If you’re not investing time, energy, and resources into DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) policies, it will absolutely impact workplace culture as a whole. Find out why it’s vital to implement core DEI principles.

Understanding DEI and Why It Should Be the Foundation of Your Company Culture

Attracting talent can be a daunting task, but maintaining a high-performing team and avoiding turnover can be an even more complicated proposition. There are myriad issues that can take a toll on even your best and brightest employees, but many of them can often be attributed to feeling at odds with established workplace culture. Work environments that don’t prioritize diversity amongst team members, equity across the board, and inclusive policies can and do feel hostile, even if HR leaders and management have the best of intentions. 

A Catalyst report finds that up to 75% of employees feel their organization’s racial equity policies are not genuine. A commitment to inclusive workplace culture is only as strong as the people who are implementing and maintaining policy, and it’s vital for management to truly embrace DEI principles. You want everyone on your team to know their voices are valued and truly heard for many reasons, not least of which is boosting overall performance. Harvard Business Review reports that companies with diverse leadership and workforces are 70% more likely to capture new markets and 45% more likely to increase market share year-over-year. 

Your bottom line is affected by DEI policies, but successful implementation has broader and more far-reaching implications regarding workplace culture. Attracting talent, especially Millennials and Generation Z, becomes a broader workforce demographic. 

The Impact of a Genuine Commitment to DEI on Workplace Culture

“DEI” is a buzzy acronym, but it’s one you simply can’t afford to ignore for a wide range of reasons, not least of which is simple company ethics. When your workforce feels they cannot be themselves safely or speak up when necessary, their morale and workplace buy-in plummets. Building a workplace culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion means embedding these principles deeply into day-to-day management. Management and leadership must lean in fully to promoting DEI for policies to feel genuine to employees; words without action ring hollow and damage employees’ perceptions of company culture. 

Examining policy and procedure through a critical lens is the first step to improving morale and addressing systemic issues. For example, do your existing policies allow all voices to be heard while fostering an inclusive environment where every member of the team can reach their full potential? Does unconscious bias play a role in daily management, or do all your team members have equitable access to growth and development opportunities? 

Unlike many management and HR goals, implementing truly effective and meaningful DEI policies is a never-ending, always-evolving journey; and leadership must stay ahead of the curve to compete. At every level, teams must be diverse and inclusive. Improving workplace culture across the board means boosting communication while establishing clear values, especially regarding inclusion. Training is the key to building this core-values foundation, and these initiatives must start in the onboarding process with the enthusiastic support of management and leadership. DEI training and coaching is a vital part of improving workplace culture and is an actionable step showcasing your dedication to improvement.