We ran a DEI workshop last year, but nothing much has changed.

23rd August 2023

You’ve taken steps toward creating a more inclusive workplace, but it feels like you’re not seeing any results.

DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) initiatives are often seen as ‘quick wins’ in SMEs, but without a long-term commitment to making meaningful changes in the organisation, any progress that is made may be short-lived. It takes time and effort to make real, lasting change, and creating an inclusive culture is no different

While you can make moves to introduce some small changes quite quickly, such as running DEI workshops or introducing unconscious bias training, these measures are only a tiny part of the work that needs to be done, and research has shown that these initiatives alone make little difference. Short-term educational interventions generally have little impact. For real change to be seen in your company, commitment and consistency is necessary. Inclusion needs to be part of your SME’s overall business strategy. Only then can you hope to create an environment where inclusion is part of the fabric of the business.

Contributing to creating a culture of inclusion should be part of every employee’s job description. It’s essential to make sure that everyone in the organisation is on board with this process, from the leadership team to individual employees. At all levels of the business, people need to understand how important inclusion is to its success, and support should be provided to guide people on their journey. A good place to start is by having regular conversations with different stakeholders about your inclusion plans and how they can get involved in the process. This will help keep everyone on track and ensure that you’re able to deliver on your strategy.

It’s also important to set realistic targets. It’s easy to get disheartened if progress is slow (and it often is), so having achievable goals in place can help to keep you motivated and focused on the bigger picture.

It’s unusual to come across a company that hasn’t made any progress at all from a DEI perspective, but quite often the main problem is that there is not enough focus, or that the role has fallen to the side of someone’s desk, as an add on to their main role. This makes gaining traction extremely difficult, frustration kicks in, and then it’s left to wither.

Making inclusion a priority does require commitment, but it’s worth persevering if you want to create meaningful changes in your company. Doing so will not only help to improve employee engagement and productivity, but also demonstrate your commitment to creating an equitable and inclusive workplace, one that employees can be proud of being part of.

Take the time to look at what’s already been achieved and identify areas that could be improved. This will help you to create a roadmap for where you want your DEI initiatives to go, step by step, in order to create lasting change. By taking it one step at a time and keeping a focused, yet open mind, you can ensure that your organisation is progressing toward becoming a truly diverse and inclusive space.