Getting Started on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Strategy: A Guide for SMBs

LAURIE MINOTT

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LAURIE MINOTT

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We know from research that with the right organization conditions, greater diversity leads to better financial performance, more innovation and openness to adaptation. We believe that in the highly diverse region of Asia, particularly here in Singapore, organizations that embrace diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) will be better equipped to address the challenges of the future.

We have long sought to navigate the complexity of our cultures, languages, traditions, demographics and mindsets. While this can create challenges for businesses, it also offers opportunity for those choosing to embrace the differences. Gender diversity is a clear starting point, given current market opportunities and the significantly different experiences of men and women in terms of equity and opportunity at work. We offer four key steps to get you started.

Recent events of racial injustice have heightened everyone’s awareness of the need for greater action both within our organizations and outside of it. Many clients have reached out, wanting to be more deliberate in the strategies and actions they take to support this. Their calls often sound something like this:

“We need help. My company believes in and works hard to create an inclusive, equitable and inspiring workplace – but we want to take steps to be more intentional with a diversity & inclusion strategy and plan. How do we get started?”

Building and implementing a diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEIB) strategy can seem overwhelming. It is important to remember that this is a long journey and taking a few small, well-thought-out steps can set your company on the path of meaningful progress.

These four key steps can help you effectively build a strong DEIB plan:

  1. Speaking: Being clear about your intentions
  2. Listening: Understanding the current experience/environment
  3. Learning: Using what you heard to build a plan that addresses the key gaps and needs
  4. Changing: Implementing the plan by creating conditions for meaningful change

How do you get started on DEIB?

Step 1: Speaking: Being clear about your intentions

For organizations just getting started with building a DEIB strategy, the most important step is to ensure your CEO and senior leaders take a stand and speak out about why DEIB matters to them.

They need to be vocal about their commitment to and the importance of having a diverse and inclusive work environment and explain why this is a strategic imperative to the organization’s ability to be successful.

Companies who have had great success improving DEIB in their organizations share that their CEO’s focus and attention to this has been one of most significant factors. What a CEO pays attention to is what the organization and everyone in it pays attention to. Speaking is the first key step on the path to creating meaningful change.

Example: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson addresses the Racial Tension in American Society.

Step 2: Listening: Understanding the current environment

What are your employees’ current experience at work? Do they feel heard? Do they feel included? Do they feel safe to be themselves at work? Do they see underrepresented groups involved in decisions being made, in leadership roles, and in hiring and promotion decisions?

Strong DEIB plans focus on closing the gaps that exist. This requires seeking a deep understanding of the current state by listening and gathering insights on the experience and needs of employees.

Plan to build a DEIB plan from what leaders learn through facilitating safe and honest conversations, as well as from your employee survey data around diversity demographics and employee experience, which will give you a clearer view of the key gaps to address in your DEIB plan.

Example: CEO Conversation with Cisco’s Chuck Robbins & Francine Katsoudas.

Step 3: Learning: Using what you heard to build a plan that addresses key gaps and needs

Building a plan based on what you’ve learned is the next important step to building an effective DEIB strategy. This involves shifting perspectives to understand problems and find solutions.

Your DEIB plan will have much greater credibility and can focus on the most meaningful actions when employees feel heard and the underlying causes of problems become more clear.

Bringing people together to determine key focus areas, develop inclusive solutions and outline a measurable plan of action will accelerate improvement within your organization.

Example: Nellie Peshkov, VP of People & Culture at Reddit: Work In Progress: How Reddit Creates a Culture of Belonging.

Step 4: Changing: Implementing the plan by creating conditions for meaningful change

Changing is about taking action. It’s about choosing one or two meaningful steps to take and doing them well. All too often, organizations commit to more than they can realistically accomplish, which undermines your efforts and diminishes credibility.

A client with 225 employees who started on their DEIB journey 9 months ago recently shared this:

“When we first started, I was anxious. We are a small company with limited resources and I didn’t know how we could do this. But our CEO spoke up about the critical nature of creating a ‘For All’ workplace and we were transparent with the gaps we had and our intention to address them. After holding listening sessions, we put together a plan with a few goals and measures that we shared broadly. We asked everyone to help us on this journey. A couple of frontline managers recommended a few recruitment sources to broaden our pool of candidates. Another had recommended an unconscious bias program that we brought in. Small steps, but just by raising awareness we have seen progress.”

Essential ingredients for change include:

•  Communicating your plan of action to all employees using all-hands or town hall meetings as well as department meetings, videos and other forms of communication.

•  Conducting pulse surveys, like our Trust Index™, every 90 days to understand perceptions of progress.

•  Providing regular, company-wide reporting on metrics/progress.

Examples of DEIB actions in the workplace

It’s important to focus your first DEIB plan on one or two actions.

Diversity: Representation of under-represented groups

•  Provide unconscious bias training to all leaders and employees

•  Design recruitment processes using a diverse hiring panel and ensuring a diverse slate of candidates

•  Set a target for greater representation of underrepresented groups in leadership roles (e.g. increase the number of black or women leaders by 10%)

•  Expand recruitment sources to include those focused on underrepresented groups

Equity: Ensuring fairness across groups

•  Conduct a pay equity assessment by looking at pay by role and by underrepresented groups to ensure fairness and make adjustments as necessary

•  Look at turnover to determine if a greater proportion of underrepresented groups are leaving the organization and evaluate programs and practices to address the needs of these groups.

•  Evaluate promotion practices and development opportunities to ensure underrepresented groups are reflected in decisions and actions

Inclusion & Belonging: The degree to which employees feel included, psychologically safe and able to bring their full, authentic selves to work

•  Implement Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for underrepresented groups

•  Provide leadership development on inclusion and psychological safety

Inclusion & Belonging: The degree to which employees feel included, psychologically safe and able to bring their full, authentic selves to work

Collaborative Solutions (#1 Best Small & Medium Workplaces™ 2020 winner)Diversity and Inclusion | Collaborative Solutions

PwC: PwC Diversity and Inclusion: PwC and CEO Conversation with PwC’s Tim Ryan | Great Place to Work®

Dow Chemical: Shine Report 2019 (dow.com)

Measure and improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your workplace

The first step is listening. Our employee survey, the Trust Index will give you anonymous survey feedback and shine a light on your gaps. It’s the same tool the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® use to create great place to work. For help getting started on your journey, contact us about how we can help you reach your DEIB goals today.

LAURIE MINOTT

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place to Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. 85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do.

Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category