Help Center

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Winning DEI Strategy

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Winning DEI Strategy May 31, 2024

In today's inclusive workplace, a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy is essential for businesses that want to stay competitive. Companies that prioritize DEI are better positioned to attract top talent, drive innovation, improve decision-making, and ultimately boost their bottom line.

However, many organizations struggle to develop and execute an effective DEI strategy. A 2021 study by HR Dive found that about 76% of companies have no diversity and inclusion goals.

This comprehensive article will walk you through the process of creating a robust DEI strategy in six stages while sharing seven tips to avoid common pitfalls. By the end, you'll have a clear roadmap to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture that aligns with your business strategy.

Six Steps to Create a Powerful DEI Strategy

The following six steps will help create a powerful DEI strategy:

Six Steps to Create a Powerful DEI Strategy
Step 1: Identify Your Unique DEI Vision

Before you can make meaningful progress, it's crucial to take stock of your current processes and understand where you stand. Ask yourself: "Where do I stand now on DEI initiatives?" and "What would my ideal hiring and workplace culture look like if there were no limitations?"

Next, consider your company's specific objectives and challenges regarding DEI and talent management. This self-reflection will help you establish an accurate benchmark and set the foundation for your DEI vision.

Step 2: Partner with the Right DEI Experts

Turning your DEI vision into reality requires a flexible system and an experienced partner to guide you through the process. Look for a vendor that not only provides robust technology but also offers expertise, best practices, and a deep understanding of your business challenges and cultural context.

A true partnership with your technology vendor allows you to leverage their knowledge and experience while ensuring your DEI strategy aligns with regional regulations and your organizational needs.

Step 3: Adopt a Skills-based Approach

One of the latest recruiting and talent management trends is focusing on skills rather than traditional indicators like work experience and academic achievements. This skills-based approach naturally diversifies your talent pool by reducing unconscious biases and leveling the playing field for candidates from broader backgrounds.

Implementing a skills-based approach at scale requires the right technology. For example, AI-powered tools can help sourcers discover hidden gems within your database or on the open web-based on specific skill sets. Recruiters can also promote diverse hiring by leveraging skill-powered candidate recommendations, broadening the range of talent for each requisition.

Step 4: Ensure Transparency, Agency, and Equity

While skills and AI are powerful tools, an inclusive hiring process should also prioritize transparency, agency, and equity. Provide external applicants with a one-stop-shop career marketplace that highlights your DEI initiatives and offers personalized job recommendations based on their skills and experience.

For existing employees, create a bustling talent marketplace with tailored learning recommendations, upskilling opportunities, and internal job opportunities. Encourage collaboration and mentorship programs to support career growth and skill development.

Step 5: Gather Stakeholder Feedback

Collecting honest, unfiltered feedback from candidates, employees, recruiters, and hiring managers is crucial to optimizing your DEI efforts. Use automated, branded surveys to gain insights into how your initiatives are performing in practice and identify areas for improvement.

Engaging with talent in this way, regardless of their application outcome, shows your commitment to continuous improvement and keeps your organization top-of-mind for future career opportunities.

Step 6: Report, Iterate, and Improve

Analyze the data collected throughout the process and assess the impact of your DEI initiatives against the established KPIs and goals. A powerful, flexible platform should allow stakeholders to create custom reports and dashboards, providing real-time insights to drive evidence-based actions.

Treat DEI as an ongoing journey, continually iterating and improving your strategy based on data-driven insights and stakeholder feedback.

Seven Tips for Building an Effective DEI Strategy

Here are 7 tips:

  • 1. Align DEI with your company's mission and values
    Take the time to reflect on how DEI can support and enhance your company's goals and values. For example, if innovation is a core value, emphasize how diversity of thought and background can lead to more creative solutions. By connecting DEI to your company's broader objectives, you'll gain buy-in from employees.
  • 2. Conduct a thorough assessment of your current state
    Before you can make a good DEI strategy, you need to know where your organization stands in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This means doing a thorough assessment that looks at both numbers and feedback. Start by checking who works in your organization, including their roles and departments. See if there are any trends where certain groups are not represented well or if there are differences in how people are hired, promoted, or kept in their jobs. Also, ask your employees for their thoughts through surveys, group discussions, and one-on-one talks to understand how they feel about inclusion and fairness in the organization.
  • 3. Set clear, measurable goals and objectives
    Once you understand where you are now, it's time to create clear, measurable goals and objectives for your DEI strategy. These goals should match your overall business strategy and focus on dealing with the specific challenges and opportunities you found during your assessment. For example, you might set a goal to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in leadership positions by a certain percentage within a specific timeframe. Or, you could aim to improve employee engagement scores among diverse populations. By setting clear, measurable targets, you can track progress and hold your organization accountable for results.
  • 4. Engage employees at all levels
    A successful DEI strategy requires the involvement and commitment of employees at all levels of the organization. It's not enough to have leadership buy-in; you need to engage and empower employees to be active participants in creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Consider establishing employee resource groups (ERGs) or diversity councils that can provide input and feedback on DEI initiatives. Encourage open dialogue and create safe spaces for employees to share their experiences and ideas. By involving employees in the process, you'll foster a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for DEI outcomes.
  • 5. Embed DEI into all aspects of the employee lifecycle
    To integrate DEI into your organization, it needs to be woven into every stage of the employee lifecycle, from recruitment and hiring to development and advancement. For example, you might implement blind resume screening to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in hiring decisions. Or, you could provide targeted development programs for underrepresented groups to support their career growth and advancement. By embedding DEI into all aspects of the employee experience, you'll create a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture.
  • 6. Provide ongoing education and training
    Creating a truly inclusive and equitable workplace requires ongoing education and training for all employees. This includes training on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive leadership. But it's not just about one-time training sessions. Effective DEI education should be an ongoing process that is integrated into all aspects of the employee experience, from onboarding to performance management.
  • 7. Measure progress and hold leaders accountable
    Finally, to ensure the success of your DEI strategy, you need to measure progress and hold leaders accountable for results. This means establishing clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are tied to your DEI goals and objectives. Regularly track and report on these metrics, and use the data to inform decision-making and course-correct as needed. Hold leaders accountable for meeting DEI targets by incorporating them into performance evaluations and compensation decisions.

Creating an impactful DEI strategy is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey that requires commitment, effort, and continuous improvement. By following these seven essential tips, you'll be well on your way to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace that drives business success and creates a better future for all.


Building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is an ongoing journey that requires a strategic and comprehensive approach. By following the six steps and seven tips outlined in this guide, you'll be well on your way to creating a winning DEI strategy that aligns with your business objectives and drives real impact.

Remember, an effective DEI strategy starts with a clear vision, leverages the expertise of the right partners, and adopts a skills-based approach to reduce unconscious biases. It also prioritizes transparency, agency, and equity throughout the entire employee lifecycle, from attracting diverse talent to supporting their growth and development within the organization.

Continuously gathering feedback from stakeholders and using data-driven insights to iterate and improve your strategy is crucial for long-term success. And by connecting your DEI initiatives to your company's core values and mission, you'll foster a culture of inclusion that permeates every aspect of your business.

While the journey may seem daunting, the rewards of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace are immense. From attracting top talent and driving innovation to improving decision-making and boosting your bottom line, a well-executed DEI strategy can give your organization a competitive edge.

So, take the first step today and start building a DEI strategy that not only aligns with your business goals but also reflects your commitment to creating a better, more inclusive world for all.

The Strategy Institute

CredBadge™ is a proprietary, secure, digital badging platform that provides for seamless authentication and verification of credentials across digital media worldwide.

CredBadge™ powered credentials ensure that professionals can showcase and verify their qualifications and credentials across all digital platforms, and at any time, across the planet.

The Strategy Institute

Verify A Credential

Please enter the License Number/Unique Credential Code of the certificant. Results will be displayed if the person holds an active credential from TSI.

Stay Informed!

Keep yourself informed on the latest updates and information about business strategy by subscribing to our newsletter.