Celebrate Diversity Month is a great time for us all to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other and our differences. But it’s not the only time of the year you should be thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at your organization. DEI requires an ongoing commitment and intentional effort year-round to make an impact.

Take advantage of your team members’ high engagement from your Diversity Month initiatives to revamp and level-up your DEI program.

Extend your most popular DEI activities

Did you build an engaged diversity book club or plan a fun potluck happy hour during Celebrate Diversity Month? Keep those activities going throughout the year! You can even change things up a bit to offer some variety. 

For example, your book club might choose to alternate between books that cover social issues and books on a variety of topics that are written by authors from marginalized groups. Or your company might order catering from local woman- and minority-owned restaurants and cycle through a variety of cuisines for team lunches and events.

Making your diversity month initiatives a normal fixture of your DEI program will enable them to continue making an impact year-round.

Keep asking for team member input

Your team members are your greatest asset for creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. Regularly ask them for ideas and feedback so you know where you can improve. You can do this through employee engagement or Pulse surveys, stay interviews, or an anonymous feedback box in your office. In fact, now is a great time to send a quick survey around any initiatives you launched during Diversity Month. Find out which your team members liked most, and what they want to see more of in the future.

You should also tap your DEI committee and employee resource groups for their input, and make sure they have the leadership buy-in and budget they need to accomplish their goals. These groups can be instrumental in helping you drive successful and engaging DEI initiatives throughout the year.

When you make changes based on team member input, communicate those changes to your team so they know their feedback is taken seriously. This will help build trust and encourage team members to continue providing feedback. 

Never stop improving

DEI is a journey, not a destination. There will always be ways to improve. For example, many organizations begin by focusing on gender and racial diversity. But there are many other types of diversity including age, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and veteran status.

There are also ways to make your organization more equitable and inclusive for team members who identify with these groups. For example, floating holidays for team members with different religious beliefs and remote work options for people with limited mobility.

As your team continues to diversify, stay in tune with your team members to learn more about their needs and how you can create a more inclusive work environment for them. You might also learn quite a bit from the job candidates interviewing at your company. Send a candidate feedback survey when you close out a job requisition to learn how you can improve and why a candidate would or would not apply to work at your company again. You may find that their feedback can help you attract and close more candidates from underrepresented groups.

Offer ongoing DEI learning opportunities

Every person on your team has the potential to become a better ally. Ongoing DEI learning opportunities help your team members contribute to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. For example, encourage your team members to sign up for a DEI course or attend a lunch and learn. This can work particularly well if team members gather (if even on Zoom) to discuss their learnings afterward.

If you have a culture and diversity channel on Slack, share information around holidays and encourage team members to share their own cultural and religious experiences in the channel. These microlearning opportunities can help your team members better understand unfamiliar cultural practices and help colleagues from underrepresented groups feel a stronger sense of belonging.

Measure your progress

Set and track DEI key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress and identify further areas for improvement. For example, set representation goals based on the demographics in your area (even if that area is an entire country or continent due to remote work). Then track representation of each demographic and intersectional group overall, as well as by job level, department, and location, and make a plan to address any gaps.

You might also track promotion rates, pay equity, turnover rates, and talent pipeline representation by marginalized group. This will help you measure your DEI progress and uncover further opportunities for improvement.

Final thoughts on supporting DEI initiatives year-round

A true commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion requires forethought and action every single day—not just one month out of the year. While you might ramp up your DEI initiatives during Celebrate Diversity Month, you should use those initiatives to refresh your DEI program to keep it relevant and engaging. This will keep DEI top-of-mind for your team members, managers, and company leaders so everyone continues to do their part to create a diverse team that’s inclusive and equitable for all.

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Supporting DEI Initiatives Beyond Diversity Month