Organizations have finally realized the importance of dedicated DEI efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are being incorporated into the overall goals, however, the focus on getting technology to aid DEI initiatives is low. This is because organizations struggle with decisions related to technology as it is a long term investment.
Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to ease the decision-making process.
Understand the why before the how: Before making technology solution choices, it is imperative to decide the long term DEI goals that they would help achieve. Define clear objectives and metrics that would help gauge their success. Once finalised, share these with the technology solution providers and ask how their tool would help your organization achieve those goals.
Do what’s right for you: There are many software solutions available for different specialized requirements such as ERG management, talent development, diversity analytics etc. Understand the problem you are trying to solve and get the suitable solution for it. Don’t onboard a partner simply because another company has opted for their services. A one-size-fits-all solution does not exist as the diversity goals of a firm depend on its unique blend of workforce dynamics and existing programs.
The proof is in the pudding: If possible, opt for a proof of concept of the software. This helps in figuring out the compatibility between existing systems and new ones. It also gives the core team, who would be using the technology on a daily basis, a comprehensive hands-on experience to gauge the ease of use and uncover many other features.
Focus on training and adoption: A common mistake made after opting for a software solution, is not focusing on training all employees on how to use it. Only the core team receives training. However, for a DEI technology solution to be successful, all employees should be well-versed with its usage to interact with one another, participate in surveys and join relevant ERGs. Awareness is key for organization-wide adoption.
Don’t delay: Opting for a software solution to manage DEI initiatives is often an afterthought. Companies usually experiment in the offline space and end up having multiple programs, events and initiatives before they realise that it is cumbersome to manage. Don’t delay investing in a software tool. Move to online systems from the get-go to maximise the potential of your efforts and track metrics better.
Don’t have a unidimensional outlook: At times, organizations focus on a single aspect of diversity such as gender or race. This does not maximize the potential offered by DEI management tools and makes the investment in them seem excessive. The intersectionality of data which can be unearthed using technology should be harnessed to develop meaningful programs.
Don’t find local solutions for global needs: Organizations opt for different local service providers for location-specific needs as and when they arise. This can pose a challenge for truly global firms. These local solutions are difficult to scale and will need to be consolidated at some point. Instead opt for location-independent global software solutions.
Don’t underestimate the power of integration: Many vendors specialise in certain aspects in the range of DEI activities available. This might mean engaging with multiple vendors at the same time. The ease of integration among technologies becomes a critical factor. With constant developments in the field of technology, flexibility in integration impacts employee experience and overall data analytics.
Technology solutions that support organizational DEI goals are long-term investments. They should be chosen wisely and in a timely manner to help the organization thrive, not just survive.