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Use Your Intranet for Good: Diversity and Inclusion in the Digital Workplace

Brad Rooke

April 19, 2021 · 4 min read
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Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind for many organizations — and for good reason. The millennial generation is 16% more diverse than baby boomers, and by 2025, the workforce is expected to account for up to 75% of the millennial generation.

To stay relevant, every organization, regardless of size or industry, should be asking themselves the same question: How do our corporate mission and values support diversity and foster an inclusive culture?

Integrating DEI activities into your digital workplace strategy not only increases employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity, but it can also enhance your service to clients. 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets. And with a higher number of markets to address can come better overall performance and profitability.

So, how can you begin (or continue to) integrate DEI into your remote workplace culture in effective and innovative ways? It might be simpler than you think, using technology you already have: Provide a dedicated online space to honor diversity and an ever-changing workforce that can grow and transform with your organization.

5 ways to promote diversity and inclusion on your intranet

1. Put it front and center

It’s important for employees to understand why the organization is embracing DEI. Start by creating clear statements about your DEI mission and goals, then elevate them in highly visible areas and encourage employees to get involved.

The best way to ensure your employees see something is to make sure they can’t miss it. Here are a few ways to do this: link to your DEI page from your intranet homepage, launch a campaign to promote new initiatives and help generate excitement, and draw attention back to DEI initiatives in relevant emails and company-wide communications.

2. Get leadership buy-in

Creating effective and lasting change within has to come from the top down. How do leaders at your company promote and encourage DEI? If your leadership team is already on board, ask them to regularly contribute to your DEI page with things like blogs, personal anecdotes, and short sentiments explaining why these causes are important to them.

If you’re still trying to get leaders to buy in, set up a meeting to educate them on DEI initiatives and encourage participation. You can also run programs such as empathy training to build out a soft skill set across upper management.

The fact is, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market, which should encourage any executive team to take DEI seriously. Another great stat to share: diverse management boosts revenue by 19%.

3. Lean on your employees

According to a recent study, 83% of all millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company stimulates a diverse and inclusive culture. So, knowing how much diversity matters to them, make a point to involve your employees in your DEI initiatives. A great place to start is by surveying employees to learn what would make them feel better heard and understood within the workplace.

You can also encourage employees to share their own personal stories of diversity and inclusion on your intranet. This can provide an opportunity for them to get to know each other and connect on different levels. There are so many stories of people taking a stand and overcoming obstacles — sharing these are a great way to create a sense of community in the remote workplace.

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4. Make it interactive

Similarly, to increase engagement, you should make your DEI initiatives as interactive as possible. Consider hosting a virtual ‘lunch and learn’ with special guests. This can provide a great learning opportunity for employees across all levels of the organization.

You could also create an event calendar with different cultural holidays and days of observance. Ask your employees to provide commentary about why these days are important to them and share other things people might not know about their culture.

Finally, create a forum area for open discussion surrounding DEI. This provides a safe space for employees to share their thoughts on different topics, ask questions, and interact with each other in ways they previously might not have had the opportunity to.

5. Use outside resources

You don’t need to start from scratch. DEI within the digital workplace continues to grow and change as society as a whole also grows and changes. You’re not expected to be the expert on all things DEI. You’re simply expected to be having these conversations and making an obvious effort towards full inclusion.

Use your intranet to provide links to outside resources that could be helpful to your employees. This include things like: what it means to be an ally, influencers to follow, shows to watch, and podcasts to listen to, etc. Some companies are even starting virtual book or movie clubs that can help deepen the conversations surrounding DEI.

Keep the conversation going

Diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t limited just to Black History Month or International Women’s Day. It’s an ongoing and developing initiative. The conversation becomes far less effective if we only acknowledge it four weeks out of the year, so make an effort to highlight these conversations all year long.

If you haven’t already, establish a DEI council or advisory board to ensure employees feel their concerns and stories are being heard. This will empower them to take matters into their own hands and initiate positive transformation with the organization.

As you discover what your employees need and respond to, you’ll find new and innovative ways of integrating DEI into all areas of the business — ensuring the organization is aligned in its goals.

Remember that a renewed and committed focus on DEI not only leads to organizational change but increases awareness among your employee base — which improves society as a whole.

To learn more about next steps, visit igloosoftware.com.