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2022 presented a variety of challenges for those leading diversity, equity, and inclusion across different industries. While some companies have looked to elevate their DEI strategies in response to civil unrest over the past couple of years, others are looking to further support employees and establish inclusive workplaces to create a sense of belonging.

Leading DEI is no easy task. From social pressure to address gender equity to investing in diverse hiring and promotions, plus the evolving landscape of virtual workplaces, many DEI leaders are looking for actionable advice to advance their strategies.

Here are five DEI initiatives that helped make an impact in 2022 to inspire your 2023 roadmap.

1. Establishing diverse virtual workplaces

DEI leaders across industries are looking to establish diverse virtual workplaces as many companies have integrated hybrid and remote policies. At Meta, Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams explained how they’ve leveraged virtual environments to boost employee diversity in a World Economic Forum article.

“For the first time, we’re hiring individuals who are fully remote and working from locations where we don’t have offices, increasing the diversity of our candidate pool and workforce.”

Maxine Williams, Chief Diversity Officer at Meta

Meta is one of the companies benefiting from investing into making remote work diverse, as they’ve increased their total number of underrepresented employees. This was key in establishing diversity goals as McKinsey & Company reported Black employees and those who identified as LGBTQ+ were more likely to leave jobs if remote work was not offered.

2. Implementing inclusive employee benefits

The evolving workplace settings have also pressured companies to reevaluate their benefits packages, and DEI leaders are looking to better support employees.

One example at Yelp is how Chief Diversity Officer Miriam Warren explained how leaders are looking for guidance to help cover costs for employees who must travel out of state to access abortion care.

“Many companies, like ours, are thinking about abortion care, and thinking really hard about it — not just how to safeguard employees’ right to health care, but what it means as a brand to stand up for this right.”

Miriam Warren, Chief Diversity Officer at Yelp

Elias Reyna, Chief People and Diversity Officer at Papa Johns, discussed their further commitment to focus on providing LGBTQ+-inclusive benefits.

“We have a great opportunity to build upon the commitments we have made in recent years that have helped transform our business and chart our path for future growth.”

Elias Reyna, Chief People and Diversity Officer at Papa Johns

3. Providing transparency in DEI reporting

DEI Board Members Jason Clark, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Charles Schwab, and Jackie Hardt, Senior DEI Analytics Manager at M&T, shared the importance of collecting and sharing DEI data to advance strategies during a leadership panel discussion.

Sharing the DEI metrics across your organization can help shed light on how your strategies are moving the needle and creating equitable workplaces for employees. Reporting out your data also creates accountability across all business lines and with executive leadership to prioritize specific initiatives.

“We’ve had a lot of engagement about what that different experience is. What do we see in the data? How do we narrow any gaps that we see in terms of our rates across the key employee lifecycle processes?”

Jackie Hardt, Senior DEI Analytics Manager at M&T

Jason also noted why DEI leaders should encourage executives for more and frequent reporting.

“We realize we have an opportunity to share some of the great progress we’re making. But the people won’t know that if we’re not sharing it. So we know we need to share some stories both internally and externally.”

Jason Clark, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Charles Schwab

4. Creating safe spaces for employees

DEI leaders have taken initiatives over the past year to implement safe spaces for employees across their organizations to support mental health and wellness.

Pfizer Executive Vice President and Chief People Experience Officer Payal Sahni shared how they’ve created opportunities for employees to bring their whole selves to work through safe spaces. Payal explained in a LinkedIn article how they launched “Safe Space Listening Sessions” to further support employees.

“These sessions are not intended to solve the world’s problems, but instead are used to connect and be there for each other. We talk about how we can help, if there are opportunities to donate, what resources does Pfizer offer, or even learn how to talk to our kids when these types of tragedies occur.”

Payal Sahni, Executive Vice President and Chief People Experience Officer at Pfizer

5. Managing and addressing DEI crises

Over the past couple of years, events such as the global pandemic, the overturn of Roe v. Wade, multiple mass shootings, and refugee crises have created civil unrest, causing people to pay more and more attention to how companies respond to these social issues.

Having a crisis management plan in place can make or break your ability to move quickly, assess risk, and be the expert advisor your executives need in a quickly shifting situation.

DEI Board Members Dr. Monica Curry, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Subaru, Randy Irving, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Nutrien, and Darice Brown, Senior Director of DEI Strategic Partnerships, Community, and Brand Impact at ServiceNow, led a panel discussion on developing a crisis management plan.

“Right after the shootings in Jersey and Buffalo, I was personally feeling helpless in that situation. I just felt really bad about it. And I was like, I think we need to look at communicating about this.”

Randy Irving, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Nutrien

Monica explained how she collaborated with business partners to address the outcome of Roe v. Wade to support employees.

“We needed to make sure that we are making sure that our employees understand the benefits that are already out there,” Monica said. “But we are also reassessing our benefits to ensure that they are inclusive or as inclusive as we possibly can as it relates to this most recent verdict. So I think all that to say is we’re starting to engage different areas because the social unrest is looking like we’ve never seen before.”

“We’re starting to engage different areas because the social unrest is looking like we’ve never seen before.”

Dr. Monica Curry, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Subaru

Darice noted how it’s important to include all necessary stakeholders in implementing strategies to address DEI crises as they arise.

“Especially when you start thinking about the sensitivity of the social issues that are coming forth, there needs to be something said. The way in which this world is moving right now, you need to make sure that you balance the voice with a leader along with someone from that population.”

Darice Brown, Senior Director of DEI Strategic Partnerships, Community, and Brand Impact at ServiceNow

Looking ahead to 2023

Are you building upon your 2022 accomplishments and lessons learned as you set your DEI strategy for the upcoming year? DEI Board members recently shared how they’re planning for their top priorities for 2023 in our confidential, vendor-free community.

Members shared how embedding DEI throughout businesses and making it less of an HR function is a high priority for next year. Other priorities leaders benchmarked included: protecting team wellness and preventing burnout, talent acquisition and retention, performance management, improving data collection and analysis, and restructuring ERGs for a hybrid model.

If you lead DEI at a large organization, you can apply to the DEI Board to learn how your peers are strategizing for your top priorities in 2023.

Interested in learning more?

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