How Small Businesses Can Implement DEIA Strategies
The implementation of strategies surrounding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) has been a hot topic in the past few years, mainly as many companies took a stand (and admitted to their role) in many of the systemic barriers that have negatively impacted several displaced groups within the workforce. In 2020, the number of search queries on workforce diversity insights increased by 74% compared to 2019.
While government entities and large corporations have created a blueprint for small organizations to follow, many small businesses still need help implementing DEIA processes and procedures because of capacity challenges, financial restrictions, and a lack of knowledge across their C-suite and management teams.
Let’s explore ways that small businesses can implement DEIA strategies!
What is DEIA?
The US Department of Labor asserts that “DEIA is a reimagining of diversity and is a new way of thinking about what constitutes a model workplace and…is a way to fully realize the abilities and contributions of all workers.” Each letter of the acronym recognizes an area of focus, those areas being:
- Diversity = the practice of including many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs.
- Equity = the consistent, systematic, fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals.
- Inclusion = the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds.
- Accessibility = the design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them.
How does the implementation of DEIA practices benefit small businesses?
Companies are beginning to recognize the impact of diverse teams when assessing business innovation, profitability, and team morale; in fact, companies with a highly diverse workforce reported up to 19% higher revenues than those with low diversity. Not only is a strong DEIA initiative the right thing to do, but it also enhances business growth and longevity.
How does a small business incorporate DEIA practices?
Here are a few tips on how to incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility into your business, even if you are a small business owner:
Create a redefined hiring strategy.
Approaching your hiring strategy with diversity in mind is the first step. Diversity sourcing, blind hiring processes, and AI-powered candidate screening are standard recruitment techniques that’ll help you or your small human resources department build diversified teams.
Increase educational opportunities.
Starbucks initiated anti-bias training for employees in the US and Canada to fight race and ethnicity bias. The company resorted to these measures after a notorious Philadelphia case when two African-Americans were arrested at Starbucks without reason. You can do the same on a smaller scale by distributing DEIA materials to current employees and conducting DEIA-focused surveys to gain your team’s input and perspective on the current status of your company’s diversity practices.
Hire a DEIA professional to conduct training.
When in doubt, hire a professional to do the work. Several human resources professionals are equipped with the tools and knowledge to help you cultivate a diverse workforce. They can also help you to identify pain points and blind spots that can be resolved at any level.
Every business owner and manager, at any level, is responsible for increasing awareness and implementing practices that positively impact and contribute to a larger and more equitable society.