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RfH Workshop Recap: HR Leaders Share Their Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices

June 1, 2020
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Global pandemics can’t diminish the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I). From combating unconscious bias to supporting ERGs, HR teams are still busy ensuring employees can bring their authentic selves to work — even if “work” is just in their living room.

Resources for Humans is a Slack community of over 8,000 HR leaders. Lattice recently hosted a virtual working session for members to share their D&I best practices, ask questions, and help brainstorm new initiatives. Whether your program is in its infancy or needs a boost, here are some of the key takeaways shared.

Getting Started With D&I 

There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank slate. HR leaders recommended looking at employee surveys before doing anything else. From there, you’ll get the baseline data you need to get started. While it’s tempting to invite several stakeholders to participate in these early stages, some warned against it. Keeping your D&I task force small — and then expanding once you have a draft plan — could give your program the focus it needs early on.

“We run two surveys. One is around diversity, so just to kind of get metrics about race, ethnicity, and gender — kind of like an EEO survey, but internal. Then the second one is focused on inclusion, so how employees have been feeling...My counterpart on the People side looks into that and sees what themes are occurring there and then targets them with internal programs and initiatives.”
- Karina Macias Sandoval, Recruiting and Talent Operations at NovaCredit

“At the start, there's a big shift that happens when you insert too many opinions into a conversation. I think it really does need to be honed and specialized by a specialist and maybe one or two individuals from the HR team. Then you can bring in leadership, external partners, or employees to start building out ERGs.”
- Deanna DeVivo, Talent Acquisition Manager at Downtown Music Holdings

“I talked to my manager about the plan that I wanted to develop, then from within our larger people team, picked two partners to help me champion it. And then from there, we looked at questions like, ‘What does the philosophy of D&I mean at our organization? What are some of the things that we actually want to achieve in the short-term and long-term?’”
- Ashley Blackmon-Hynson, People Operations Generalist at Plenty

Recruiting and Onboarding

While D&I is about more than recruiting, talent acquisition does play a major role in the conversation. From adjusting your sourcing strategy to being aware of unconscious bias during the interview process, there are a few high-impact changes you can make. Leaders shared how they were able to attract talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences and even make D&I part of their onboarding process.

“One area that we've focused on is sourcing. Since a good portion of our candidates come through our sourcing efforts, we've looked at ways that we can make sure that we have, if not a diverse inbound pipeline, at least a diverse outbound pipeline. This is really important when looking for leadership team members.”
- Tammy Truong, Recruiting Coordinator and Sourcer at NoRedInk

“We're looking to have all of our ERGs build out a more robust page on Google Pages, so that way new hires can have a resource hub. I'm also proactively and gently pushing all of our ERGs to create training programs that relate to their identification. Our women's ERG put together something on gendered language in the workplace.”
- Jes Osrow, Head of Learning and Development at Quartet Health

“When we have a group training, I take the initiative to have them understand what the purpose of having a diverse group is and why we should go ahead and keep pushing for diversity. That includes understanding the importance of diversity and how it can benefit us not only in financials but in every aspect.”
- Daphney Addotta, Recruiting and Culture Coordinator at Mediacurrent 

Additional Resources

Need to give your initiative some direction? Read our article on setting D&I goals.

Driving Awareness and Engagement

Launching a diversity and inclusion initiative isn’t a “set it and forget it” proposition. It takes continued effort, from both HR teams and ERG leaders, to make an impact. That means keeping employees updated through a variety of means, including all-hands meetings, Slack updates, and internal newsletters. Here are just some of the creative ways teams were keeping D&I front and center.

“Once a month I have the ERG leaders come to one of our inclusion task force meetings and give us highlights and updates on how things are going and what we can do to support them. We have a calendar with all the different holidays because we are a very international company — and we kind of let employees sign up for which ones they want to recognize, and then if there is an ERG that focuses on one of those, they lead that.”
- Jessica Schiff, People Operations at NovaCredit

“We always announce our different initiatives and events in Slack. I also present at all-hands about our culture and everything that's going on. I typically have a slide and then include our affinity group co-chairs and our culture committee to directly message their teams and remind them of these different events or initiatives.”
- Brittany Pierini, Head of Employee Experience and DI&B at Bread

“One thing that we've been doing that seems to be generating a positive reaction is a weekly newsletter that goes out to the company and highlights the different activities going on. Then I have a whole slot dedicated to our ERGs. So it's keeping people aware of what's happening.”
- Anastasia Demopoulos, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Button 

ERGs and Allies

HR teams can’t make a difference simply on their own — that’s where ERG or affinity groups come in. Empowering employees to organize and raise awareness around issues specific to their ethnicity, gender, or shared characteristic extends the reach of your D&I program. Resources for Humans members shared some of the ways they’re facilitating these conversations and elevating allies and ERGs.

“We have these channels that anybody can join and be a part of the group, from an ally perspective, and know what's going on and see our events. Then we split events between just ‘Ladies of Bread’ or the affinity group and then the affinity group plus their allies. Every group said, ‘We really want the private aspect of this group, but then we also want allies,’ and this seemed to work for them in terms of their comfort level.”
- Brittany Pierini, Head of Employee Experience and DI&B at Bread

“One of the things all of the ERG leads have been doing is asking ‘questions of the week’ in our Slack channels. So having these lighter conversation topics. It gets people talking about things and engaged.”
- Jes Osrow, Head of Learning and Development at Quartet Health

“We have a book club, and some of our ERG leaders will post books that they think would be good for anyone to read. This goes back to allyship. Each leader took a different book, and then they joined those respective book clubs to talk about the book. It was just a very vulnerable conversation that I think was very powerful and something that can happen over video.
- Jessica Schiff, People Operations at NovaCredit 

Involving Leadership 

While HR is sometimes tasked with “owning” diversity and inclusion, it takes a company-wide effort to make a difference. And like any major people initiative, you can only go so far without leadership modeling the right behavior. That’s where executive-level allyship comes into play. Community members shared some of the ways their leaders were helping drive awareness of D&I issues and empowering ERGs to do the same.

“If you have your president or your CEO show your company that they're dedicated to diversity and inclusion, it'll trickle down. Then the executive team will start holding each other accountable. Everyone has to have a D&I goal and that's part of their performance review for 2020.”
- Martinique Brown, HR Specialist at Environmental Defense Fund

“I'm a firm believer that diversity and inclusion initiatives will fail if you don't have buy-in from the CEO or the executive team. They are the ones who answer for the disparities or gaps between the consumer base or the customer base, or the market overall versus your employees and teams.”
- Cody Bess, CEO and founder of Poprouser

“Each of our ERGs has to have a C-suite sponsor. It’s the small involvements that matter, so if a leader posts their favorite book with a queer character, for example, that goes so much further than anything else.”
- Jes Osrow, Head of Learning and Development at Quartet Health


Those are just some of the insights shared during a recent Resources for Humans virtual meetup. If you haven’t already, join the 8,000+ HR leaders that make up our Slack community. You can also talk shop via Zoom by registering for one of our upcoming virtual meetups.