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February 1, 2024
|
5 mins to read

How to incorporate DEI into your onboarding strategy

If you're wondering how to implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace, it all starts with onboarding. Here are six actionable tips to get you started.
Alex Mullen
Web Content Writer

In this blog, we’ll round up six key ways to incorporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into your onboarding strategy.

Thankfully, DEI is gradually becoming a much bigger priority for organisations overall - but research shows there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

A recent DEI Report from Recruitment Agency Hays found that 51% of respondents felt their chances of being selected for a job have been limited by their background or other identifying factor. And a 2022 study from TUC found that two in five minority workers had faced racism at work in the preceding five years. A shift seriously needs to take place, and it needs to come from the top down.  

DEI is about driving meaningful change, and giving everyone the chance they deserve regardless of their background. The eventual goal should be to reach a point where the entire lifecycle of an employee is fair and equal, and our workforce represents a true cross-section of society.

It all starts with onboarding. Factoring DEI into your onboarding process not only allows you to hire from a wide and diverse talent pool, but it helps those hires feel a sense of belonging within their roles.  By doing this, you can eventually reach a place where the workforce is as diverse as our society.

There’s even evidence that DEI hiring improves overall performance. A report from McKinsey and Company found that diverse companies are far more likely to outperform their peers, with gender-diverse companies outperforming by 25%, and ethnically-diverse companies by 36%.

Of course diversity goes beyond the business case, so let’s round up seven techniques to help you set the tone from day one.

Establish your goals


The beginning is, after all, a wonderful place to start.

The first and most obvious step is to lay out your organisation’s DEI goals.

You can first take the temperature of the people who already work for you with an employee survey, to establish where you’re succeeding and which areas might have room for improvement. This is a two-pronged strategy: You need to find out both what your people are telling you, and also how that feeds into the overall goals of the business.

Take the time to draw up a list of DEI goals based on these two factors, so you can then figure out the best way of implementing them. In this first part of the process, you can also establish some metrics to measure the success of your DEI goals later down the line.


Rip it up and start again


Okay, maybe not literally… but now is a perfect opportunity to take stock of your onboarding materials - and yes, if needed, rip them up and start again.

Based on the goals you’ve already established, you can now begin to factor DEI into your onboarding materials in a meaningful, productive way. When we say this, we’re talking about moving beyond ‘box-ticking’, and towards promoting visible change. Breathe new life into your onboarding content until it reflects your DEI mission - and if you need some materials to guide you, Thrive Content just happens to have an entire topic on DEI.

While you’re adjusting, adding to or ripping up your onboarding materials, make sure that what remains is free from bias. This might sound extremely obvious, but it’s easy to miss. Throughout our entire lives, societal bias is woven through almost everything we interact with - from the products we buy to the way they’re marketed to us. It takes time to unlearn these biases, and it takes even longer to cast a critical eye over potentially biassed materials that we ourselves have written.

It’s completely possible that bias exists within your onboarding materials without you even realising it, from the initial job posting all the way through to the content the new hire reads within their first few months at the company. Gendered language, stereotypes, name bias - you might blanch at the idea that these would be anywhere near your onboarding materials, but it can be subtle and hard to detect.

There are language tools created for this very purpose. Textio will detect bias within a job posting, and even give you an overall score based on how biased or unbiased the ad is. It will then provide suggestions on how to remove bias and promote diversity within job adverts.


Cultivate community


A great way to encourage a sense of belonging and community is to establish Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s.) You may not think it, but this is actually one of the most effective ways to drive DEI throughout the onboarding process and beyond.

In fact, just last year Mckinsey & Company reported that employees in effective ERG’s reported higher inclusion scores compared with those whose ERG’s were ineffective or non-existent.

ERG’s are not just about cultivating community - although that is a huge benefit. We return again to the main point of DEI: Driving change. Along with creating a place for colleagues from similar backgrounds to communicate and connect, ERG’s also empower these colleagues to encourage allyship and meaningful impact within the organisation.

Take a leaf out of Thrive Content customer Specsavers’ book. Their DEI efforts have led them to create several ERG’s within their organisation, so that every Specsavers employee feels included - from those experiencing the menopause, to neurodiverse or LGBTQIA+ colleagues. They used Thrive Content to bolster these efforts, cementing ‘Belonging’ as a core part of their company mission.

Accommodate

From the beginning of their onboarding process, your new starters should feel comfortable asking for any accommodations or reasonable adjustments they may need. It’s all well and good to talk the talk with inclusive training materials, but if you’re unable to walk the walk when it comes to the day-to-day needs of your staff, your DEI efforts are going to fall flat.

Make sure that this process is as easy and clearly laid out as possible. You can shout about it within your onboarding materials, or have a dedicated resource within your Learning Platform so that anybody who needs to request reasonable adjustments knows exactly where to go and who to talk to.

Consider training colleagues as Mental Health First Aiders. This ensures that if people within your organisation are struggling, they always know they have someone on their side - from their very first day.

Keep the momentum

Your new starters are your greatest resource.

Keep the momentum of your DEI onboarding strategy going by learning from your people. There’s no point adopting the strategy if you aren’t going to continually improve, expand and learn - so make sure that there is a process in place for receiving feedback.

This is also where we return to those metrics we set up in the first step. After tracking and measuring these metrics, can you honestly say that you’ve achieved your DEI goals? What needs to change, and how can you take the next step?

Stay informed and alert

How often have you witnessed a colleague say something that you know isn’t right, but have said nothing? It’s a situation that a lot of us have found ourselves in, but enough is enough. If you’re really going to promote DEI throughout your entire organisation, you have to challenge these outdated opinions, behaviours and microaggressions as soon as they come up.

Of course, we hope that this issue never arises - but even in organisations that put Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the heart of everything they do, outdated attitudes can still pervade. It’s about having an open and productive dialogue throughout your entire workforce, so that not only do people feel comfortable challenging these attitudes - but they do so in a kind and constructive way.

It’s then imperative that you stay informed. Needs, expectations and attitudes are constantly evolving, so make sure that your finger is on the pulse. You can continue to edit and refine your onboarding process based on this information.

As we mentioned, Thrive Content has an entire topic dedicated to DEI - so if you’re looking to start factoring it into your onboarding strategy, this is a great place to start. And to find out more about an intuitive, all-in-one platform that keeps all your onboarding materials in one central place, book a Thrive demo with a friendly representative today.

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See Thrive in action

Explore what impact Thrive could make for your team and your learners today.

February 1, 2024
|
5 mins to read

How to incorporate DEI into your onboarding strategy

If you're wondering how to implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace, it all starts with onboarding. Here are six actionable tips to get you started.
Alex Mullen
Web Content Writer

In this blog, we’ll round up six key ways to incorporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into your onboarding strategy.

Thankfully, DEI is gradually becoming a much bigger priority for organisations overall - but research shows there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

A recent DEI Report from Recruitment Agency Hays found that 51% of respondents felt their chances of being selected for a job have been limited by their background or other identifying factor. And a 2022 study from TUC found that two in five minority workers had faced racism at work in the preceding five years. A shift seriously needs to take place, and it needs to come from the top down.  

DEI is about driving meaningful change, and giving everyone the chance they deserve regardless of their background. The eventual goal should be to reach a point where the entire lifecycle of an employee is fair and equal, and our workforce represents a true cross-section of society.

It all starts with onboarding. Factoring DEI into your onboarding process not only allows you to hire from a wide and diverse talent pool, but it helps those hires feel a sense of belonging within their roles.  By doing this, you can eventually reach a place where the workforce is as diverse as our society.

There’s even evidence that DEI hiring improves overall performance. A report from McKinsey and Company found that diverse companies are far more likely to outperform their peers, with gender-diverse companies outperforming by 25%, and ethnically-diverse companies by 36%.

Of course diversity goes beyond the business case, so let’s round up seven techniques to help you set the tone from day one.

Establish your goals


The beginning is, after all, a wonderful place to start.

The first and most obvious step is to lay out your organisation’s DEI goals.

You can first take the temperature of the people who already work for you with an employee survey, to establish where you’re succeeding and which areas might have room for improvement. This is a two-pronged strategy: You need to find out both what your people are telling you, and also how that feeds into the overall goals of the business.

Take the time to draw up a list of DEI goals based on these two factors, so you can then figure out the best way of implementing them. In this first part of the process, you can also establish some metrics to measure the success of your DEI goals later down the line.


Rip it up and start again


Okay, maybe not literally… but now is a perfect opportunity to take stock of your onboarding materials - and yes, if needed, rip them up and start again.

Based on the goals you’ve already established, you can now begin to factor DEI into your onboarding materials in a meaningful, productive way. When we say this, we’re talking about moving beyond ‘box-ticking’, and towards promoting visible change. Breathe new life into your onboarding content until it reflects your DEI mission - and if you need some materials to guide you, Thrive Content just happens to have an entire topic on DEI.

While you’re adjusting, adding to or ripping up your onboarding materials, make sure that what remains is free from bias. This might sound extremely obvious, but it’s easy to miss. Throughout our entire lives, societal bias is woven through almost everything we interact with - from the products we buy to the way they’re marketed to us. It takes time to unlearn these biases, and it takes even longer to cast a critical eye over potentially biassed materials that we ourselves have written.

It’s completely possible that bias exists within your onboarding materials without you even realising it, from the initial job posting all the way through to the content the new hire reads within their first few months at the company. Gendered language, stereotypes, name bias - you might blanch at the idea that these would be anywhere near your onboarding materials, but it can be subtle and hard to detect.

There are language tools created for this very purpose. Textio will detect bias within a job posting, and even give you an overall score based on how biased or unbiased the ad is. It will then provide suggestions on how to remove bias and promote diversity within job adverts.


Cultivate community


A great way to encourage a sense of belonging and community is to establish Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s.) You may not think it, but this is actually one of the most effective ways to drive DEI throughout the onboarding process and beyond.

In fact, just last year Mckinsey & Company reported that employees in effective ERG’s reported higher inclusion scores compared with those whose ERG’s were ineffective or non-existent.

ERG’s are not just about cultivating community - although that is a huge benefit. We return again to the main point of DEI: Driving change. Along with creating a place for colleagues from similar backgrounds to communicate and connect, ERG’s also empower these colleagues to encourage allyship and meaningful impact within the organisation.

Take a leaf out of Thrive Content customer Specsavers’ book. Their DEI efforts have led them to create several ERG’s within their organisation, so that every Specsavers employee feels included - from those experiencing the menopause, to neurodiverse or LGBTQIA+ colleagues. They used Thrive Content to bolster these efforts, cementing ‘Belonging’ as a core part of their company mission.

Accommodate

From the beginning of their onboarding process, your new starters should feel comfortable asking for any accommodations or reasonable adjustments they may need. It’s all well and good to talk the talk with inclusive training materials, but if you’re unable to walk the walk when it comes to the day-to-day needs of your staff, your DEI efforts are going to fall flat.

Make sure that this process is as easy and clearly laid out as possible. You can shout about it within your onboarding materials, or have a dedicated resource within your Learning Platform so that anybody who needs to request reasonable adjustments knows exactly where to go and who to talk to.

Consider training colleagues as Mental Health First Aiders. This ensures that if people within your organisation are struggling, they always know they have someone on their side - from their very first day.

Keep the momentum

Your new starters are your greatest resource.

Keep the momentum of your DEI onboarding strategy going by learning from your people. There’s no point adopting the strategy if you aren’t going to continually improve, expand and learn - so make sure that there is a process in place for receiving feedback.

This is also where we return to those metrics we set up in the first step. After tracking and measuring these metrics, can you honestly say that you’ve achieved your DEI goals? What needs to change, and how can you take the next step?

Stay informed and alert

How often have you witnessed a colleague say something that you know isn’t right, but have said nothing? It’s a situation that a lot of us have found ourselves in, but enough is enough. If you’re really going to promote DEI throughout your entire organisation, you have to challenge these outdated opinions, behaviours and microaggressions as soon as they come up.

Of course, we hope that this issue never arises - but even in organisations that put Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the heart of everything they do, outdated attitudes can still pervade. It’s about having an open and productive dialogue throughout your entire workforce, so that not only do people feel comfortable challenging these attitudes - but they do so in a kind and constructive way.

It’s then imperative that you stay informed. Needs, expectations and attitudes are constantly evolving, so make sure that your finger is on the pulse. You can continue to edit and refine your onboarding process based on this information.

As we mentioned, Thrive Content has an entire topic dedicated to DEI - so if you’re looking to start factoring it into your onboarding strategy, this is a great place to start. And to find out more about an intuitive, all-in-one platform that keeps all your onboarding materials in one central place, book a Thrive demo with a friendly representative today.

More Stories

See all

See Thrive in action

Explore what impact Thrive could make for your team and your learners today.