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How to Create and Leverage DEI Programs as a Business Strategy

Posted on August 1, 2022

by Punam Rogers – Attorney; Constangy

The key to effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives is creating a strategic plan designed to drive impact for your organization.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The strategy should be data-driven, aligned to your mission, and tailored to your company’s unique opportunities and challenges.  Here are 5 steps that can help you design an impactful DEI program:

  1. Aspire.  This is where you set your intention through crafting a DEI mission statement that demonstrates your company’s commitment to building diverse and inclusive workplace, where your employees feel a sense of belonging. Your mission statement should explains why DEI is a priority and serves as a guide for your DEI initiatives. For example, you may want include an aspirational language that includes the firm’s values by answering why the firm cares about DEI.  It is helpful to organize your DEI efforts into a few objectives that define what the business will focus on and the outcomes it wants to achieve.


  1. Audit and Assess. Before you can figure out where you are going, you need to figure out where your business is today against what you want to achieve.  Define your outcomes, and then audit your internal processes, systems, and data. Because I believe this to be key to a successful DEI program, we have created a comprehensive audit tool that looks at where your business is against with respect emerging state and federal laws.  For instance, you may want to assess why your mandatory harassment training is not effective in achieving the goal of litigation prevention. Or whether you are now required to report pay equity data and you assess discrepancies in key occupational categories.  Goals can be as simple as implementing a new program, or more complex like increasing the representation of certain demographic groups. DEI goals should also align to organizational business goals: for example, if your business goal is increasing hiring by 20%, set a DEI goal around creating a more inclusive hiring process.


  1. Align and Build. Use your organizational data to pinpoint the largest opportunity areas and define your goals accordingly. If you do not currently analyze data with a DEI lens, create a goal to collect more robust data and analyze that information on a regular basis. Based on the outcomes you want to achieve and where your company is at, you must align your DEI initiatives to the company’s DEI mission, which may require you to evaluate, dismantle and rebuild current systems.  The key is to build systems that are aligned with your DEI goals and commitments.  Target your top 3 priorities and build a plan that defines how you will achieve the desired outcomes.  It is important to build into the plan who is accountable, how you will measure progress and by what time frames.


  1.   Communicate. Once you have aligned your DEI plan you’re the company’s mission, it is critically important to communicate to all the stakeholders and then to the company at large.  Often businesses make a formal announcement or pledge either by presenting it to the whole organization at a companywide meeting or prominently displaying it on your website and/or internal platform.  It is important to make sure that whatever method of communication you decide on, it is crafted using careful inclusive language.


  1. Evaluate and Adjust. It is important to periodically evaluate your results against defined outcomes.  Figure out what worked and what did not work and make adjustments accordingly. This is also a good time to showcase your achievements either internally or externally.  Build on the momentum, expand your goals and make the needed adjustments so you can truly achieve the outcomes you outlined as priorities.


Whether your organization has already invested in DEI programming, or you are designing a new program, it is important to institute strategic best practices in order to implement a legally compliant DEI engagement that champions a diverse and inclusive workforce to meet today’s labor market.

Punam Rogers is an attorney at Constangy.  Punam’s practice focuses on Business Immigration law and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.  On the immigration front, Punam works with U.S. employers of all sizes, from start-up to large multi-national organizations, seeking to hire non-resident foreign professionals who need to obtain temporary or permanent immigration status in the U.S., as well as visas in countries around the world for their global workforce.  Her clients are from a wide range of industries and activities, including: health care, information technology, telecommunications, biotechnology, electronic component technology, insurance, financial and management consulting, think-tanks, hospitality, general manufacturing, non-profits and education.