How to develop an inclusive D&I strategy 

How to develop an inclusive D&I strategy 

Fri 15 Sep 2023

Creating a workplace environment where every employee feels they belong is one of the most important aims of any good diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy. It’s an approach that requires a change of structure to provide more robust foundations to deal with D&I issues identified as key, whether that’s gender, nationalities or age. However, there’s a tendency by companies to fall into the trap of taking a more siloed approach to D&I issues which can create invisible barriers that work against inclusivity.  

So how can companies avoid falling into this trap and what are the signs that policies are working? 

Dont be afraid to showcase D&I support 

[Saut de retour à la ligne]It’s essential that employees understand that support is not a sign of weakness. While all employees have different and often changing needs, they should expect the same level of support they need to progress. Whether it’s training to remove language barriers, extra flexibility to deal with family issues, or providing a safe space to talk about LGBTQ+ issues, showcasing what support is available shows confidence in policies and helps encourage a more inclusive workplace environment.  

Onboarding workshops offer an opportunity to explain to new employees what support is available and how to access it. Regular roadshows are a good way to highlight further support available and keep the message at the forefront of the minds of all employees. 

Lean on external support services 

Not all companies have the internal capacity to provide services that often underpin D&I policies. External service providers offer the wider practical support that is sometimes needed as a bridge between work and home life issues. A good example is during the Covid pandemic when many employees struggled with issues of anxiety and isolation or had children at home needing support with homework and activities. Accessing a wide range of services easily and without cost helped ease the pressures and enabled many employees to stay active in their roles and keep a sense of purpose.  

An additional benefit to providing such services is that employees feel listened to and that the company cares, Indeed, from our own experience of offering such programmes, extending services to provide solutions to help care for elderly relatives has helped promote a real sense of belonging.  

Provide psychological security

No workplace can be inclusive if policies, wittingly or unwittingly, single out those who are experiencing problems. It’s important that employees trust the process and can report any issues in confidence. Putting in place structures that support this, including knowing who to turn to, offering a range of communication channels, or providing anonymity, gives the psychological security needed for employees to feel confident about raising issues. Transparency of process is also essential. Plus understanding how long response and resolution will take ensures the process is trusted.  

[Saut de retour à la ligne]When looking for signs of policy success, key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the results of a more inclusive D&I policy approach are essential. Other signs of success can be taken from levels of employee buy-in for support services offered, as well as any improvement in employee retention levels. Providing a forum where employees can talk about their issues and what support they need will help improve and evolve D&I policies.  

By creating a high level of trust in policies, companies can build the foundations for a more holistic approach to their D&I strategy that creates an environment of belonging and inclusivity for all employees.