The majority of business leaders who set out to build a diversity, inclusion and ethics strategy do so within the confines of their own organisation. This can be based on policies for hiring, retaining and advancing employees from underrepresented groups. They are also likely to consider those cultural factors that inhibit or promote greater degrees of inclusion, diversity and equity. Yet this alone is often not enough, and it is worth looking at boosting DEI beyond the confines of the project team.
How a company acts and how they are viewed externally on DEI issues can significantly impact its relationship with stakeholders. The truth is that as more and more companies look at how they approach DEI, those that fall short may find themselves seeing employees go elsewhere and companies opting to do business with their competitors. The number of individuals likely to show their support to companies making a public commitment to DEI initiatives is growing.
Whilst there are plenty of ways companies can quickly boost their DEI internally, looking for ways in which this can be done beyond the project team is a little harder, but if you think back to some of your project manager courses, not impossible.
Report on DEI efforts externally
It is one thing to put your DEI measures in place, but it can be a good idea to report transparently and consistently on them as well. This will show how important these goals are and show that your commitment to meet them reaches beyond the project team. When you report in this way, you are demonstrating your company’s commitment; putting your DEI data in the public field in that way can lead to more meaningful discussions. This is something that has the potential to attract greater numbers of jobseekers in the future as DEI and openness to publish a company’s data are becoming increasingly attractive to those looking for their next opportunity.
Build a customer experience that is inclusive and equitable
Whether you are providing a service or a product, your customers are your most critically important group. It is vital that you use your project management skills to consider carefully how you are delivering your product or service to your customers and make sure that it is not perpetuating any inequitable status quo.
Examining your customer data is a good starting point for looking at how you are doing this. For example, you may have discrepancies between your customer mix and the local population. This may indicate that some groups of the demographic are in fact being excluded. Whether this is due to a lack of digital or physical access, affordability of product or some other barriers, this can highlight an area where there are potential improvements to be made. Changes that could then be made include altering the way in which you conduct your marketing and seeing what areas people may find you lacking in.
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