*This blog is part of the July 2023 Thought Leader newsletter
In last month’s Thought Leader, we began to tackle diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), what it is and how we can prioritize inclusion in our firms.
Understanding and researching DEIB is a great first step, but without a plan to do the work, it runs the risk of defaulting to “We’ll get to that later” on our to-do list. DEIB feels like a lot of work—and let’s be honest, many of us aren’t ready to dive into it headfirst. Especially before hiring, tax returns and clients’ books are complete. But since the latter three items are never-ending, let’s break down DEIB into small actions to help get you started…today.
Keep in mind, the following are only our suggestions. However, we sincerely hope you’ll take some time to absorb them and consider how they could look in your firm.
Every staff member in your firm should have the opportunity to learn about the importance of equity and inclusion, the different types of diversity and how to ensure everyone feels like they belong. You can do this through training, workshops or simply by having open and honest conversations about these topics.
- The key? Establish at least one person in your firm to lead DEIB initiatives and develop an avenue for training.
DEIB: Start small
After education, begin with one to two initiatives that promote DEIB in your firm. This will help focus efforts and provide opportunities for small wins and progress. Some good starting points:
- Revise job ads to remove any language that could be seen as discriminatory. For instance, age-related language like “recent college graduate” or “young and energetic” may exclude people of certain age ranges from applying for the job.
- Review your firm’s policies and procedures to ensure that they’re fair and equitable. Are your hiring practices, employee benefits and performance review processes equitable? Be honest with your evaluation, make recommendations and initiate change!
Empower staff to be their true selves
Learn about individuals’ unique, diverse qualities and create opportunities around what matters to them to encourage a more inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcome and respected.
- Provide flexible work arrangements for employees with caregiving responsibilities.
- Celebrate different cultures and holidays throughout the year by giving staff spaces for education, celebration and recognition.
Develop a DEIB recruiting strategy
Measure the results. Are you actively hiring? Make sure that you’re attracting and hiring diverse candidates by:
- Partnering with organizations that represent underrepresented groups.
- Using targeted job postings and advertising.
- Conducting unconscious bias training for your hiring team.
Leverage marketing and branding
Showing that your firm is committed to diversity and inclusion will attract more diverse talent. The return? A more diverse workplace and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Here are some ways you can use your firm’s marketing and branding efforts, by:
- Highlighting your diversity and inclusion efforts on your website and social media.
- Sharing stories about your diverse employees.
- Participating in diversity and inclusion events in your community.
Now, we leave you with a personal challenge. What one suggestion above (or other small DEIB initiative) can you implement in the next 30 days as a catalyst of significant change and a culture of equity, inclusion and belonging in your firm? As we said last month, it only takes one small drop to make a big wave. Start small and slow, and you will see the change happen.