Evidence-Based Best Practices

10 DEI Practices that Work

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to executing a strong DEI strategy and approaches will differ based on industry, company size, location and other potential considerations.

Across our 5 DEI pillars, we have outlined 50+ best practices in partnership with Bain & Company that companies can adopt to drive strong DEI outcomes. Our services help companies craft and execute custom strategies comprised of unique combinations of the best practices based on their needs.

Below are the strongest research-based practices across our 5 DEI Pillars that we recommend employers prioritize implementing and expanding to drive DEI outcomes.

Our Pillars

Establish DE&I as strategic priority

  • Set organizational DEI commitments and values, visible both within and outside of the organization
  • Establish measureable DE&I goals
  • Create systems to regularly evaluate progress towards defined goals and continually improve
  • Formally connect DEI strategy to organization’s overall strategy
  • Measure the impact of DEI investments on business outcomes and embed DEI impacts into business decision-making processes

Allocate adequate resources and build accountability structures

  • Have one C-Suite leader fully dedicated to and accountable for DEI efforts and outcomes
  • Designate a DEI budget
  • Establish a cross-functional DEI ‘task force’ with responsibility for reviewing DEI data and supporting effort

Adopt a skills-first approach in talent acquisition activities including sourcing, screening and hiring

  • Eliminate degree requirements and other credentials that are not necessary for the job
  • Revise job descriptions to focus on competencies and skills required for the position
  • Remove candidate names and other identifiers from application materials
  • Conduct standard, skills-based interviews with consistent rubrics and questions for every candidate

Build diverse talent pipelines through work-based experiences

  • Ensure candidates who do not hold Bachelors of Master’s degrees are eligible for work-based experiences
  • Offer living wages to work-based experience participants
  • Leverage work-based experiences as formal strategic talent pipelines for hiring candidates without degree

Create accessible skills and professional development pathways for all employees

  • Provide consistent opportunities for upskilling (e.g. through cross-training and job shadowing) for all employees
  • Offer tuition assistance through up-front reimbursement or direct payment
  • Allocate budget for professional development opportunities for staff
  • Offer free access to internal trainings, career coaching, and other upskilling resources

Develop programs to support career advancement among all staff

  • Offer formal mentoring for underrepresented employees
  • Offer formal sponsorship for underrepresented employees
  • Proactively identify high-potential diverse/underrepresented talent and foster their development

Offer at least the living wage (as defined by the MIT Living Wage Calculator) and health insurance (at least 60% coverage) to all employees, including part-time employees.

Develop processes and practices to address pay equity 

  • Conduct race and gender pay equity analyses every 1-2 years
  • Share results of pay equity analyses internally
  • Adjust compensation as needed to achieve fair and equitable pay
  • Address root causes of pay inequities

Understand and address employee sentiment and inclusion

  • Conduct regular employee sentiment/engagement survey
  • Conduct employee focus groups and/or listening tours with specific groups of underrepresented employees
  • Deploy social listening tools to gauge employee sentiment

Equip all employees to improve their understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion

  • Offer voluntary DEI training and education sessions for all staff
  • Provide funding and resources for employee self-education
  • Ensure DEI training content is managed by a leader who is empowered to adjust based on organizational needs
  • Support individual teams and locations in creating and deploying tailored DEI content

Promote diversity within your supplier base

  • Create an official supplier diversity program
  • Set and disclose spend targets for specific diverse supplier groups
  • Actively partner with diverse supplier member organizations
  • Support diverse supplier partners in building their own internal capacity

Get the Data You Need

Understand where you stand against these best practices with our Opportunity Identifier.
Our comprehensive self-assessment tool helps companies analyze current approaches and prioritize future investments.