Most organizations consider diversity and inclusion (D&I) a priority. However, the Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) reports that companies increasingly employ diversity management practices and positions, but many organizations fail to achieve meaningful results.
If you are people-oriented and committed to creating representative and inclusive workplaces, you may be interested in pursuing a career as a DEI program manager, manager of diversity and inclusion or chief people and culture officer.
You can prepare to lead successful D&I programs by earning a relevant master’s degree, such as through Avila University’s online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Management with a concentration in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging program. Students can complete their M.A. in as few as 12 months, prepared to meet the demand for D&I leaders with the talent to make an impact.
What Are the Best Practices for D&I Goal-Setting?
While business leaders must recognize the importance of D&I, they must also set goals and implement strategies to achieve meaningful progress.
Writing for Forbes, Paolo Gaudiano explains that setting meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals is a common challenge. Regarding improving representation, some companies set goals based on the general population or local demographics. Others may strive to represent their customer or client base.
One issue with such approaches is that there are many factors to consider when assessing diversity, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, veteran status, immigration status, ability, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and socioeconomic status.
Instead, Gaudiano suggests using existing employee data to analyze representation. Possible sources include data related to recruitment, hiring, onboarding, compensation, advancement and retention.
With analyzing existing representation being step one, financial services firm Quantive recommends the following additional steps for D&I goal-setting:
- Use focus groups, 1-on-1s, surveys or other methods to gather employee feedback on the company’s DE&I culture.
- Select a goal-setting framework such as SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), a practical approach to help maintain focus.
- Use the gap analysis and DE&I benchmarks to set goals that address needs and opportunities.
- Develop a DE&I program to achieve the goals. Outline responsibilities, actions, an achievable timeline, communication expectations and assessment methods.
What Are the Benefits of D&I in the Workplace?
Organizations that cultivate diverse and inclusive workplaces achieve significant benefits, particularly the well-being of their employees. Research conducted by Great Place to Work found that taking inclusion seriously is one of the best ways to improve retention. Employees who feel they and their co-workers are treated fairly, regardless of identity, are:
- 8 times more likely to be excited about going to work
- 3 times more likely to feel a sense of pride in their work
- 4 times more likely to want to keep working at their company
In addition to substantial cost-savings associated with improved retention, the mentorship management platform Together reports that D&I-focused companies are:
- 70% more likely to expand to new markets
- 40% more likely to increase market share
- 25% more likely to have above-average profitability
Why Consider an M.A. in Management – Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging?
Avila University’s online M.A. in Management with a concentration in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging program equips graduates to plan and implement D&I strategies that build diverse, inclusive workplaces and cultivate a sense of belonging.
For example, the Diversity Planning and Goal Setting course develops the knowledge and skills to provide strategic direction in developing and implementing a comprehensive diversity plan.
In Developing Inclusion Training, students learn to develop and deliver effective diversity, inclusion and belonging training. This interactive course examines potential legal issues to consider when advancing D&I efforts so companies can achieve their goals while maintaining compliance.
Organizations may be motivated by many reasons to step up their D&I efforts. Whether the goal is to improve employee engagement and retention, boost productivity and financial performance or let consumers know that the brand represents them and supports their values, D&I can be the differentiator that sets companies apart.
According to HR Dive, the D&I profession is evolving and “blossoming into an integral business function.” Avila University’s online M.A. in Management with a concentration in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging program prepares graduates to manage D&I as strategic partners in organizational success.