Evidence-Based Best Practices

A Holistic Approach to DEI

We believe companies have the power to drive positive impacts for their employees, their businesses and society. To effectively channel this power, companies must take a data-driven approach to DEI. Through industry-leading research, engagements with some of the nation’s top employers, and a strategic partnership with Bain & Company, we have evaluated all DEI practices known to drive outcomes and outlined 50+ best practices across five DEI pillars.

Our consultants help companies craft and execute custom strategies, using unique combinations of these best practices to meet clients’ talent needs and goals.

Our pillars below represent the core areas of business operations into which DEI should be incorporated, and serve as a backbone for all of our services.

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 to Reach Your Goals

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.