4 Ways to Prioritize DEI in Your Organization in 2022

February 3, 2022



By Lindsay Spann, Employee Engagement Specialist

Corporate social responsibility has taken on a whole new meaning in the last two years. It’s more important to businesses, their employees and their business partners. 

Companies often want to include DEI initiatives in their core operations but aren’t sure how to roll it out practically. As we head into another year impacted by the pandemic, building community and creating safe spaces for employees remains a top priority for companies seeking to retain and attract top talent. 

52314496_lHere are four ways organizations can prioritize DEI in 2022: 

1. Give everyone a voice.

One of the most important components of DEI is recognizing individual experiences, most often impacted by ethnicity, gender and culture. Each person’s experiences equip them with the knowledge, skill and ability to take on challenges and do their work. By acknowledging these experiences, employers can provide the right support to help employees succeed. 

In the Spring of 2020 as our employees individually processed and reacted to the tragedy of George Floyd’s murder, we created IAT Community Forums which consisted of small groups of 10 to 15 employees each, to share and connect. Bringing our workforce together in a small group capacity has provided employees with a space to share their experience with injustice in America while other colleagues listen and offer support.

Since its launch, IAT has hosted 40 sessions via Community Forum, bringing together more than 345 participants in small discussion groups led by trained facilitators, with session topics extending well beyond the initial topics of that moment to book clubs and employee feedback on other company initiatives. This platform has become such a positive resource within the organization that there is consistently a waitlist for the sessions.

Initiatives such as the IAT Community Forum provide employees with an outlet and safe space to share their experiences, and supply your organization with insight into gaps that exist within your company culture. These programs also help identify where bridges need to be built to foster better inclusivity. 

2. Don’t just recognize, celebrate!

In recent years, many organizations have used social media to recognize people during months that highlight specific areas of DEI, such as Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Pride Month and International Women’s Day (to name a few). However, employees and potential employees are yearning for something more than simply awareness. They want appreciation and celebration. 

One way to celebrate diversity is by inviting employees who resonate with specific months to share their stories. Putting them on stage (like on your intranet) not only helps those specific employees feel seen within their workplace, but it also builds a real community and culture of appreciation around difference.

3. Invest for Success.

You cannot fake your way through DEI. Employees recognize how much organizations value diversity, equity and inclusion by the resources they invest in. This investment can come in the form of staff hires to spearhead DEI efforts, DEI training sessions and extra resources to foster inclusivity. 

IAT has invested additional resources to encourage inclusivity and mindfulness among its employees. This includes paid individual memberships to the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA), employee training on recognizing unconscious bias, and a Fitness and Mindfulness Wellness Reimbursement  which reimburses employees for DEI reading materials.

4. Partner with other organizations. 

Partnering with other organizations in the industry and beyond can expand your resources, broaden your reach and enhance your DEI efforts. New perspectives and lessons learned from other organizations are often extremely helpful when launching or furthering your DEI efforts. 

In 2020, IAT became a Level I partner with NAAIA which opened the door to several opportunities for constructive dialogue about industry challenges and growth. That year, IAT CEO Bill Cunningham participated in a panel titled A Conversation About Race and another in 2021 titled Making Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a Reality - the Move from Dialogue to Action. In addition, IAT recently formed partnerships with Prospanica and the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW) to provide more opportunities for employee development.

No matter how organizations approach DEI in 2022, the key is to listen to employee voices. If organizations create a culture that respects and values open and honest dialogue, employees will easily become your partners in DEI. We believe providing the outlets by which they can share their stories and their lives allows them to pick up the baton where we leave off.

To learn more about IAT’s commitment to Inclusion and Diversity, click here. If you’re looking for a workplace committed to a more dynamic, collaborative and innovative future, view our current openings.