Having a diverse hiring strategy is an essential piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only piece. Not only is it important to focus on bringing in diverse talent, but it’s two-fold. Employers must also equip current employees with the skills necessary for success in their roles, while fostering a culture of equity and inclusion.

During our latest Employment Law DEI webinar, April Simpkins of Totalhr and Brandi Parrish Ellison of WREN joined us to discuss women in the workplace in honor of Women’s History Month. The conversation centered around leadership roles, the pandemic’s impact on women and unique issues impacting Women of Color in the workplace.

We polled our audience to learn more about DEI efforts in the workplace. According to the poll, our audience indicated:

  • 60.4% of their workplaces have a diverse hiring strategy in place,
  • 43.4% of their employers train them on how to have difficult conversations, and
  • 75.5% have worked in a place where employers avoid topics of race, gender, LGBTQ+ and other differences due to the long-held belief that those topics are off-limits.

We also reviewed the 2021 Report on Women in the Workplace, based on research by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company, and WREN’s 2021 Women in the Workforce Report during the webinar. Both reports show that there is still work to be done toward equity and inclusion in the workplace. Based on those findings, here are five actionable items employers can start implementing today as we all continue to pave the way for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

  1. Track Diversity Metrics

Start today by tracking diversity metrics by gender, ethnicity and the intersection of the two. This will show where your workplace currently stands and help you understand the active effort needed to grow and learn along the way.

  1. Hold Senior Leaders Accountable

DEI efforts are not one person’s job or responsibility. This commitment needs to be started and implemented by firm leadership. Hold senior leaders accountable for progress on diversity goals with financial incentives and penalties.

  1. Minimize Gender Bias

Find ways to minimize gender bias when hiring, during performance reviews and when considering promotions

  1. Provide Mentorship and Sponsorship

Provide mentorship and sponsorship – meaning new opportunities – for Women of Color. Identify effective mentors based on individual roles and needs.

  1. Enhance a Sustainable Workplace Culture

Focus on employee well-being and creating a culture of belonging by adjusting workplace policies, systems and norms. Provide training and help guide difficult conversations around what used to be considered off-limit topics.

For a deeper dive into the conversation, click here to watch a recording of this webinar.

If you have questions about this topic or other employment law matters, please contact Chris or the HSB Employment Law practice team.

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