Getting Started on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Strategy: A Guide for SMBs

Laurie Minott

Author

In the inaugural Philippines Best Workplaces™ Insights report in 2020, we showcased that Camaraderie, Diversity and Inclusion were amongst the top organizational priorities. Given our battle against a global pandemic, it is unsurprising that efforts to make workplaces physically safe were amongst the initiatives that employees appreciated the most. But despite the challenges of organizations due to the pandemic, Camaraderie, Diversity and Inclusion continued to be key priorities in great workplaces. This separates the Philippines Best Workplaces from the non-list makers – how leaders went beyond physical safety and empowered their people with the resources needed to continue to be at their best, in a psychologically safe environment, amidst the sudden unexpected change.

As McKinsey research has uncovered, one of the key drivers towards achieving a psychologically safe environment is through the development of a positive team climate—in which team members value one another’s contributions, care about one another’s well-being, and have input into how the team carries out its work. In doing so, organizations are more likely to innovate quickly, adapt positively to change and further harness the benefits of diversity.1

We share in this article some key steps to unlock the benefits of DEIB by being intentional with your overall strategy.

Recent events of racial injustice have heightened everyone’s awareness of the need for greater action both within our organizations and outside of it. Many clients have reached out, wanting to be more deliberate in the strategies and actions they take to support this. Their calls often sound something like this:

“We need help. My company believes in and works hard to create an inclusive, equitable and inspiring workplace – but we want to take steps to be more intentional with a diversity & inclusion strategy and plan. How do we get started?”

Building and implementing a diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEIB) strategy can seem overwhelming. It is important to remember that this is a long journey and taking a few small, well-thought-out steps can set your company on the path of meaningful progress.

These four key steps can help you effectively build a strong DEIB plan:

  1. Speaking – Being clear about your intentions
  2. Listening – Understanding the current experience/environment
  3. Learning – Using what you heard to build a plan that addresses the key gaps and needs
  4. Changing – Implementing the plan by creating conditions for meaningful change

How do you get started on DEIB?

Step 1: Speaking – Being clear about your intentions

For organizations just getting started with building a DEIB strategy, the most important step is to ensure your CEO and senior leaders take a stand and speak out about why DEIB matters to them.

They need to be vocal about their commitment to and the importance of having a diverse and inclusive work environment and explain why this is a strategic imperative to the organization’s ability to be successful.

Companies who have had great success improving DEIB in their organizations share that their CEO’s focus and attention to this has been one of most significant factors. What a CEO pays attention to is what the organization and everyone in it pays attention to. Speaking is the first key step on the path to creating meaningful change.

Step 2: Listening -Understanding the current environment

What are your employees’ current experience at work? Do they feel heard? Do they feel included? Do they feel safe to be themselves at work? Do they see underrepresented groups involved in decisions being made, in leadership roles, and in hiring and promotion decisions?

Strong DEIB plans focus on closing the gaps that exist. This requires seeking a deep understanding of the current state by listening and gathering insights on the experience and needs of employees.

Plan to build a DEIB plan from what leaders learn through facilitating safe and honest conversations, as well as from your employee survey data around diversity demographics and employee experience, which will give you a clearer view of the key gaps to address in your DEIB plan.

Step 3: Learning – Using what you heard to build a plan that addresses key gaps and needs

Building a plan based on what you’ve learned is the next important step to building an effective DEIB strategy. This involves shifting perspectives to understand problems and find solutions.

Your DEIB plan will have much greater credibility and can focus on the most meaningful actions when employees feel heard and the underlying causes of problems become more clear.

Bringing people together to determine key focus areas, develop inclusive solutions and outline a measurable plan of action will accelerate improvement within your organization.

Step 4: Changing – Implementing the plan by creating conditions for meaningful change

Changing is about taking action. It’s about choosing one or two meaningful steps to take and doing them well. All too often, organizations commit to more than they can realistically accomplish, which undermines your efforts and diminishes credibility.

A client with 225 employees who started on their DEIB journey 9 months ago recently shared this:

“When we first started, I was anxious. We are a small company with limited resources and I didn’t know how we could do this. But our CEO spoke up about the critical nature of creating a ‘For All’ workplace and we were transparent with the gaps we had and our intention to address them. After holding listening sessions, we put together a plan with a few goals and measures that we shared broadly. We asked everyone to help us on this journey. A couple of frontline managers recommended a few recruitment sources to broaden our pool of candidates. Another had recommended an unconscious bias program that we brought in. Small steps, but just by raising awareness we have seen progress.”

Essential ingredients for change include:

  • Communicating your plan of action to all employees using all-hands or town hall meetings as well as department meetings, videos and other forms of communication.
  • Conducting pulse surveys, like our Trust Index™, every 90 days to understand perceptions of progress.
  • Providing regular, company-wide reporting on metrics/progress.

Examples of DEIB actions in the workplace

It’s important to focus your first DEIB plan on one or two actions.

Diversity: Representation of under-represented groups
  • Provide unconscious bias training to all leaders and employees
  • Design recruitment processes using a diverse hiring panel and ensuring a diverse slate of candidates
  • Set a target for greater representation of underrepresented groups in leadership roles (e.g. increase the number of black or women leaders by 10%)
  • Expand recruitment sources to include those focused on underrepresented groups
Equity: Ensuring fairness across groups
  • Conduct a pay equity assessment by looking at pay by role and by underrepresented groups to ensure fairness and make adjustments as necessary
  • Look at turnover to determine if a greater proportion of underrepresented groups are leaving the organization and evaluate programs and practices to address the needs of these groups.
  • Evaluate promotion practices and development opportunities to ensure underrepresented groups are reflected in decisions and actions
Inclusion & Belonging: The degree to which employees feel included, psychologically safe and able to bring their full, authentic selves to work

DEIB strategy examples

Collaborative Solutions (#1 Fortune Best Small & Medium Workplaces™ 2020 winner)Diversity and Inclusion | Collaborative Solutions

PwC: PwC Diversity and Inclusion: PwC and CEO Conversation with PwC’s Tim Ryan | Great Place to Work®

Dow Chemical: Shine Report 2019 (dow.com)

Measure and improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your workplace

The first step is listening. Our employee survey, the Trust Index will give you anonymous survey feedback and shine a light on your gaps. It’s the same tool the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® use to create great place to work. For help getting started on your journey, contact us about how we can help you reach your DEIB goals today.

Laurie Minott

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees