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Why DEI Programs need to be revisited regularly

Updated: Nov 26, 2023


DEI Manager revisiting programs

Organizations begin their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) journeys by setting up a team, initiating relevant programs and devising a long-term strategy. They keep going with the flow, rarely taking the time to pause and take stock of what is working well and what is not, often adding but rarely pruning. As a result, these programs get sluggish over time.


DEI Programs


Taking a step back and reassessing existing programs with an objective lens can do wonders. Here is how DEI managers can go about this process of revisiting programs.


Revisit ERG Purpose and Value-Add


Program Managers should check if each program is still serving the purpose it was created for in the first place. For example, when Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are created, they have a definitive function and objective which they are expected to fulfill. In organizations with higher DEI maturity, Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are assigned goals with direct business impact. If these programs are no longer adding value to the business or contributing in any way, they might need to be shut down. Managers should check which initiatives have deviated from their path and make the tough decision whether to recalibrate them or let go of them.


Analyze ERG Data


Important insights can be derived when data is analyzed the right way. Metrics such as employee resource group membership data, event attendance, engagement, email open rates, ERG mentorship uptake, login frequency are indicators of which initiatives are thriving. For example, ERGs that have no new members for months or programs where there are more leave requests than join requests, signal a declining interest from employees and should be looked at more closely. Software with advanced analytics can get deeper insights by combining HRIS data and DEI program data to deduce the impact of the programs on employee retention, employee performance and employee satisfaction.


Conduct Surveys


A simple yet lesser-used tool is conducting surveys. DEI program managers can send out well-crafted surveys to all employees to gauge their perception of the different employee programs in place. Anonymous surveys will yield more candid results and should be utilized to gather feedback. Questions about the general awareness of existing programs, quality of events and activities, value addition followed by suggestions for new programs would reflect the voice of the majority and aid the decision making process.


Assess Effort and Expenses


While reevaluating existing DEI programs, managers should take into consideration the time and effort put in by employees who volunteer to run the programs. If the number of hours put in by the team members does not lead to a viable outcome, then it is a waste of company resources. Similarly, if the team members (like ERG leads) face burnout doing repetitive manual tasks using multiple tools, an application rationalization exercise would be the need of the hour. An all-in-one DEI program management software could be a sustainable solution. It would not only significantly decrease the hours spent on tasks but also reduce the overall cost of using multiple applications. The saved expenditure can be utilized to support successful programs or introduce new programs suggested by the employees.


DEI managers must make it a regular practice to take a step back and re-evaluate ongoing programs. Being open to suggestions and feedback will help keep up with the evolving expectations of employees. The idea is to not reinvent the wheel and lose all progress but to be open to modifying, tweaking or letting go of rigid ways and embrace the changing needs of employee communities.


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