Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in Employer Branding

The increased awareness of the inequities & injustices in the workplace has most candidates concerned with the need for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Many organizations have recognized the need for change and have started to implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives to make progress on such issues. Even though only some of the progress is helping to set the foundation for a fairer future, most projects fail to take off as they are being implemented without a good strategy. The DEI process itself is not about reaching a final point of perfection, but rather a journey that has to update itself constantly according to the status quo.

Integrating your DEI approach into your employer brand can show that diversity is important to your leaders, hence your organization. Otherwise, you will either look inauthentic or downright alienating. Implementing projects without a robust DEI strategy has the unfortunate possibility of alienating everyone -including the underrepresented groups. If communications commence without providing reasons to believe beforehand, it might come off deceptive. But we are here to make our brand promises credible, hence attractive. To attract the best diverse candidates and retain them, we have to get familiar with the concepts first. Let’s go through the meanings behind our pillars to shed light on how to reach possible DEI benefits.

 

Definitions of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Diversity

The conjectural meaning according to Oxford Languages is “the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc. The term involves ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ attributes -the former includes qualities such as disability and ethnicity; while the latter includes religion, interests, financial status, etc. Despite our differences, we do not all have equal access to life’s possibilities. We can only establish an inclusive workplace if we first practice equity. It is not possible to have a fixed definition in the context of “diverse employment” requirements as each organization is unique with its own culture.

Equity

One of the most common mistakes in the industry is confusing the principles of equality and equity; or justice and fairness. While equality is about providing the same opportunities to everyone, the diverse & unique requirements of individuals are not taken into account. Alternatively, equity is providing diverse individuals with the opportunities to professionally thrive, taking into account the societal obstacles of that minority group.

Inclusion

Recruiting the right talent from a minority group brings real results only when they are included in decision processes. And this can only come with equal opportunities and fair treatment, without marginalization being felt in any way.

BENEFITS OF DEI-INTEGRATED EMPLOYER BRAND

Employee Engagement & Satisfaction

Transforming into an inclusive & engaging business culture to one increases the feeling of belonging. That feeling of belonging to a community of course brings increased employee wellbeing. With everyone coming from diverse backgrounds and motivated to make themselves heard and make an impact, you will have the best synthesis of ideas.

Brand (and Employer brand) reputation
Being DEI-focused seems trendy because it brings results. If a brand is recognized as pro-people; it will also affect the perspectives of business partners, potential candidates, and any stakeholder overall. However, the point to bear in mind is that you have to back up your claims. An untrustworthy outlook after not being able to deliver your value propositions would deter anyone. Re-branding exhausts more resources than authentic communications.

Customer acquisition
Your employer branding has a significant impact on customer acquisition. Customers nowadays choose to acquire items from organizations with a powerful purpose. They are more likely than ever to support firms that seem more compassionate and egalitarian in their treatment of their employees. Bringing together your good reputation and how your organization will have the best diverse ideas, customers will be attracted to the product/service.

Local and global social impact

Your employees are not the only ones positively affected by how inclusive and egalitarian you are. If communicated clearly and sustainably, any stakeholder interested in your organization will be affected by the awareness and positivity you spread. The goodwill spread not only to the suppliers, and investors; but also to the family and local communities of people you make contact with.

Corporate statements do not cut it anymore in this era. Transparency, action in processes & policies, having your jargon and promoting culture via real stories of employees and candidates make a lasting difference. Reaching an authentic Employee Branding stage will make your brand- and DEI-awareness reach the widest audiences.

GROUNDWORK FOR DEI INTEGRATION

Being acknowledged for your DEI initiatives entails more than simply updating your recruitment materials or adding content to your website. Most individuals, particularly top job seekers, see right through this. Before going into any kind of initiative, you must be sure that your organization has a great foundation to carry the weight of DEI.

Authenticity and leader-branding

Many organizations propose that they have DEI values, but their external communications make it seem like they are not backed up with real initiatives or processes. This may create bad word-of-mouth despite the intention of an organization trying to do good. Each organization’s DEI values would differ as their location/country or state culture, purpose, mission & vision also differ. Overpromising diversity on branded materials may cause backlash once underrepresented groups start working with you, so make sure that your imagery represents your reality. It is also off-putting for your current employees due to its deception. As long as equity genuinely exists in each and every step of candidate and employee communications, your DEI-integrated EVP will also seem genuine. And it can only feel so when every employee acts in such a way that it represents the corporate culture.

However, in most organizations, change begins from the top down. A clear vision of strategies rooted at the C-Level brings company purpose to life -including DEI principles. If you already have leaders with backgrounds in underrepresented communities, you have inspiring content in your hands. Sharing their vision, personal stories, career paths, and more will show that your organization sees the work itself, not people’s backgrounds.

Training for employees and communication alignment

Each and every one of your employees are brand ambassadors -internally or externally. They contact diverse people both on the job and in the recruitment processes. Everyone should be aware of what makes people feel included & respected or marginalized and offended. If DEI is the core of your organization’s purpose & values, it will be felt from your social media to job ads, from employee experience to mass communications -having a consistent and coherent outlook. For example, the recruitment team must know that there are tools to measure and recommend the inclusiveness of job ads.

The education and training are critical because your team will be the ones to approve the EVP integration into performance management, recognition & rewards, onboarding handbook, and so on. Choosing the right agency would help immensely with this consistency.

Employee Experience

Here, seeing through the eyes of your new hire along their journey is the key. Starting from their first days until their last, your people should have sufficient information and communication channels for integrating into the workforce and processes. This includes both professional and social integration, especially for the bilateral feedback processes.

DEI-INTEGRATION INTO EMPLOYER BRANDING STRATEGY:

Be ready to continuously update what DEI means at your company

Workforces change with regards to the position and purpose of an organization transforms -so do the DEI approach and initiatives of each organization. The concept of “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” has itself changed immensely through time. Therefore, your organization needs to be agile in the way that all workforce is constantly ready and motivated to change with their commitment. However, some priorities will be constant in whatever stage you are at DEI initiatives:

  • Your content should reflect reality; it should not only be aspirational. You can update your messaging and visuals in each step of your DEI goals.
  • Talking about goals, why not have a living, breathing timeline to showcase your DEI goals? This transparent and honest communication will help show that you have clear goals and strategy, making your employer brand more attractive to everyone.
  • Communicate initiatives you have for DEI clearly; such as office and online accessibility, idea platforms, engagement platforms, mentorship and sponsorship programs, positive-communication workshops, and more. If people are not aware that they exist, your organization will not be able to create organic reach. Make sure to receive feedback from both candidates and employees to make a list of your current initiatives and assets.

In the meantime, you can download my free ebook creating an authentic employer brand here or you can join a free week session of Employer Brand Academy certificate courses here.



Author: Ali Ayaz
Ali Ayaz is an Employer Brand and HR Consultant with Modern Management Consulting who is well-versed in Employer Brand Development, Candidate and Employee Surveys, Recruitment and Employee Engagement. Having successfully completed Employer Brand projects with multinational blue-chip companies in Automotive, Banking, FMCG, IT, Telecom and Retail industries, he teaches employer brand management, human resources and fundamentals of management at Employer Brand Academy (online) and European School of Economics (London). He is the author of the e-book “How to Built a Robust Employer Brand Strategy” and founder of the Employer Brand Academy. He is a chartered member of CIPD - the professional body for HR and people development.

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