Practical insights to inform your 2022 DEI strategy

Over the previous two years, we’ve seen a sustained deal with participating authentically round variety, fairness, and inclusion (DEI) each in and outdoors of the office. And whereas many organizations have made progress, most nonetheless have gaps and vulnerabilities that current appreciable dangers amid a battle for expertise.

Because the highlight on DEI as a enterprise strategy continues to shine, how can leaders advance and regulate their methods in 2022? Based mostly on United Minds’ analysis into employee perceptions of DEI in the workplace and the increasing role of the chief diversity officer, listed below are our prime 5 predictions and proposals.

Report progress on DEI commitments

Within the wake of the homicide of George Floyd, corporations made commitments to advance DEI inside their very own organizations, lots of which have been later referred to as out for missing particular plans that might drive accountability and rework office tradition. Workers and the market got here to settle for that it will take a yr—effectively into 2021—to outline and act towards clear DEI targets. In 2022, that grace interval expires.  

Organizations ought to evaluate their commitments now to quantify progress and plan for a clear replace. Leaders ought to rejoice successes and be ready to acknowledge shortcomings, each internally and externally. Our analysis exhibits this as an enormous space of alternative: 87% of DEI leaders agree that efficiency exceeds notion and solely 41% of workers strongly agree that they’re receiving updates on DEI progress. It’s additionally a second for organizations to acknowledge that advancing DE&I is a journey. Bear in mind to outline and talk the subsequent set of commitments—each incremental and stretch targets. 

Leverage for a expertise acquisition strategy

Popping out of the pandemic, workers are rethinking what issues most—and aren’t afraid to take dangers or stop their jobs within the pursuit of function. Our analysis exhibits 79% of workers consider a various, equitable, and inclusive group attracts high-quality expertise and 71% agree that it’s vital to work for a company that values DEI. Because the battle for expertise continues, organizations should put together and plan to stand aside from the competitors.  

Leaders ought to deal with participating authentically with workers about their experiences in and outdoors of the office through formal (surveys, focus teams) and casual (candid conversations, enabling managers) mechanisms. They must also perceive what actually units them aside as an employer by conducting a peer evaluation. This data can inform a credible narrative that displays the corporate’s values and be used to appeal to expertise through company-owned platforms and on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. 

Middle retention in neighborhood

We discovered that 100% of DE&I leaders consider that Worker Useful resource Teams (ERGs) and affinity teams profit workers. This is smart, contemplating that workers who take part in ERGs are extra glad with their expertise and extra probably to keep at their job regardless of being extra probably to expertise unfair remedy.  

Leaders ought to improve engagement with these vital teams by soliciting enter into enterprise and other people strategy–and when navigating responses to social unrest. Participation in ERGs must also be protected by allotting annual or month-to-month hours for workers and offering further pay and evolving job descriptions for ERG leaders.

Interact workers in DEI

Within the turmoil of 2020, we noticed a major rise within the variety of corporations organizing periods to talk about race. Workers discovered large worth in having the area to converse actually and candidly about their very own experiences and organizations benefitted by acquiring real-time enter on how workers have been feeling and figuring out underlying points.  

Eighteen months later, DEI leaders cite worker engagement as the highest company-wide problem standing in the way in which of advancing DEI efforts—nevertheless it’s additionally a possibility. As corporations search to interact workers in defining the way forward for work, DEI ought to play a central position. In 2022 and past, organizations ought to proceed to prioritize “protected area” discussions and different strategies of fostering two-way dialogue on matters of inclusion and fairness. 

Put together to take a stand

We will’t start to predict the societal occasions that may impression the office sooner or later, however it ought to now be clear that when one happens, corporations could also be compelled to converse out. In truth, our analysis exhibits talking out on societal points and associated laws as prime actions in DEI leaders’ 2022 planning. Firms should think about how their positions align with their values and the way inaction and/or misalignment between what they are saying and what they do may hurt their popularity and even impression the underside line.  

Consistency in how an organization approaches more and more complicated points is essential to rising with a stronger popularity and creating a framework for the way to deal with these points is crucial to rapidly decide a considerate, aligned response. This framework ought to embody a call tree designed to form a response to rising points. Key questions may embody:

  • Does this align with our values?
  • Does it impression our individuals, clients, and the communities we serve?
  • Are we assured that we “stroll the stroll” on this problem? 

Answering these questions may also assist organizations articulate a rationale to stakeholders—particularly to their workforce and lawmakers— for the choices they make and put together them to defend their place if vital.  

In the end, in 2022 and past, transparency, engagement, and accountability round DEI commitments will stay key to attracting a various pipeline, retaining prime expertise, and rising buyer loyalty. And as organizations advance alongside their DEI journeys, it is going to be vital that workers and exterior stakeholders see the investments being made—and importantly, are invited to interact. 


Tai Wingfield is the manager vp of Range, Fairness & Inclusion at United Minds, a Weber Shandwick consultancy.