CoAdvantage-The principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are popular in the workplace. More than half (57%) of employers are making efforts in their hiring practices to meet their DEI goals. Plus, Glassdoor reports that the same percentage of employees (57%) believe their companies should be more diverse, too.
But diversity programs are notoriously challenging to implement in practice. We’ve previously written about the complexities involved in diversity training and why diversity programs don’t always work. In short, poorly implemented initiatives often produce mixed results where benefits and problems end up cancelling each other out.
But there may be a relatively straightforward explanation for why many diversity programs struggle: time.
One study found that 41% of managers cite their busy schedules as something that prevents them from successfully implementing DEI initiatives. In some cases, they might just be using time as an excuse, but it’s reasonable to expect that busy-ness could actually be a diversity inhibitor if the diversity initiatives require change and effort.
So how can employers solve this problem?
1: Diversity initiatives need to be seen as core to the business
If a busy manager or employee sees diversity initiatives as something extracurricular to their primary job responsibilities, why would they prioritize it? Many workers might view diversity as good but mentally categorize it as “nice to have” rather than “critical to have.”
This may suggest the company should reconsider how it positions its diversity initiatives, perhaps even re-thinking the strategy altogether. It’s true that a lot of companies treat diversity efforts as a sort of “add-on” on top of everything else, rather than deeply integrating it into how the company functions on an operational level. Workers will pick up on the difference, and it will affect how they prioritize and value these efforts.
2: Check if there are other underlying issues at the company
If time is an issue that legitimately constrains diversity efforts, it’s also going to constrain other strategic initiatives.
If existing workers have no slack whatsoever to accommodate new efforts, the organization may be risking burnout and turnover; and there may be underlying operational, labor, or management issues that need to be addressed. If the company and its people don’t have the time to take steps to improve the workplace with greater diversity, that may be a sign of even deeper cultural problems.
3: It may mean that some workers may not understand or see a reason why it’s worth their time
As we explained in our article, “How to make diversity work for you,” not all employees experience diversity initiatives the same way, and different approaches can play out differently depending on the work environment. It’s possible that poorly tailored strategies can seem unimpactful or inconsequential and thus fail to merit attention and time.
Thus, some persuasion and education may be needed. Instead of assuming managers and employees understand the business value of diversity, help them better understand the how, why, and what of the diversity initiative.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.