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Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, once considered a worthy goal, now has become imperative to employee experience and organizational success. 

More than half of employers said DEI would be a high priority for them this year. Lever, a talent acquisition suite, recently surveyed 500 HR decision-makers to see how well they are accomplishing this objective. 

“Our findings point toward a promising future,” according to the survey report. “Despite competing priorities, DEI is among the top five priorities for employers we surveyed. They are committed to finding the top strategies to implement DEI measures, evident in diversity recruiting efforts, like eliminating bias in job postings and using technology to evaluate applications at scale. And when it comes to their existing employees, employers are thinking outside the 9-to-5 box — flexible policies and accommodations stood out as a significant change employers made over the past year. These changes are only the beginning.” 

Among the survey findings:

  • Companies are making changes to advance diversity. To achieve greater diversity in hiring, the most common tactic is using an online platform to evaluate applications at scale (45 percent), followed by eliminating bias in job postings (43 percent). Other approaches include posting jobs via non-traditional outlets (37 percent), replacing educational requirements with core competencies (36 percent) and standardizing interview questions (34 percent).
  • The pandemic shaped companies’ long-term approaches.  Six in 10 employers said they provided accommodations, opportunities and tools for employees to succeed based on their specific needs, and more than half said they introduced flexible policies. Fifty-two percent also worked to make sure employee pay was equal across titles or positions.
  • Inclusion efforts are becoming more formalized. More than half have formalized a DEI strategy for their organization, while 47 percent have created or reviewed their existing DEI policies and communicated them to employees. In addition, 44 percent have made actionable changes to hiring policies.
  • Employers are improving communications. To convey their ongoing DEI initiatives to employees, employers are adding descriptions of their DEI efforts to their homepage (64 percent), sharing changes across companywide channels (51 percent) and updating their employee handbooks to reflect changes (45 percent)
  • HR and managers share the responsibility of keeping employees Informed. In addition to providing proactive communication, most employers reported that managers and HR teams are sharing the burden when it comes to DEI inquiries from employees. Sixty-seven percent of organizations instruct employees to discuss questions with their direct manager, and 73 percent urge employees to reach out to the HR team.

“What’s key to remember is that DEI is not a project or a problem to solve — it’s an ongoing, ever-evolving effort that involves every individual at an organization and touches nearly every aspect of work,” the report concluded. “To see long-term change, we need to keep moving forward, measuring results, learning from past results and, of course, correcting as needed.”