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The way that most companies approach diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is wrong.

“Companies need to understand where they want to be and why they want to be there – do diversity with meaning, not just to check a box"
- Dria James
Director of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Bain & Company

In the past 3 years, no topic has been discussed more at corporate boardroom more than inclusion and diversity.

When we launched Chezie, we were solely focused on helping companies recruit diverse talent because we knew that was the top priority for every firm. It makes sense; if you know that diversity lacking at your company, your first thought is to go out and try to find more diverse talent. The issue is that, too often, companies haven’t done the work to actually keep the diverse talent that they’re spending millions of dollars to recruit. This means that even if a company is able to successfully increase its diversity recruiting numbers, that same talent won’t feel included at the firm, and is more likely to leave.

So what happens now? How can companies retain the diverse talent they are working to recruit? How can companies keep the diverse talent they already have?

The answer is to change the approach. Companies must make sure that they have set up their organizations to be inclusive first before working to recruit diverse talent.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion should not be tucked away under HR. It should be its own business function.

We see it all the time: a company wants to get started with DEI, and immediately places the work on the human resources department. This action stems from the flawed approach mentioned above – company leaders think that DEI is strictly about recruiting, so they place the ownness on the team that’s most responsible for that.

There are a few problems with this approach:

  1. It signals to your non-HR people that DEI isn’t their job.
  2. It implies that there is nothing that other business functions (eg. engineering, product, or marketing) can do to promote inclusion.
  3. It de-prioritizes DEI metrics and progress.

As a business leader, would you ask someone from sales to lead product development? Would you ask someone from engineering to come up with a new marketing campaign? Probably not.

DEI must be its own business function because it should interact with every piece of a company’s operations. While it’s true that a big part of DEI work is centered around HR-related functions (recruiting, training, compensation, etc.) so much of the work falls outside of your human resources department.

<insert diagram for HR as its own business function>

Here are some examples of company DEI work that would not fall under human resources:

  • A wearables company might need to do some testing to make sure that the product works the same way on people with darker skin.
  • A clothing company might need to design a new marketing campaign that reflects the diversity of the customers they are trying to sell to.
  • A software company based in Oakland might need to allocate finances to community-service initiatives to benefit the area.

When companies make human resources solely responsible for diversity, equity, and inclusion, they are missing opportunities to reach their full potential. If you are striving to be the most inclusive company possible, you’ll prioritize DEI and dedicate resources to it.

I touch more on why DEI needs to be its own business function in this article <insert link>.

Regardless of where your company is on its diversity, we’re here to help.

We created Chezie because we wanted to help minorities find companies that they love. We believe that the best way to do that is to allow open communication between companies and candidates on their DEI efforts.

Our philosophy is that, at its core, DEI is based on three pillars:

  1. Accountability – measuring, tracking, and reporting on progress
  2. Talent – standardizing recruiting and employee success processes
  3. Community – implementing programs to promote inclusion and collaboration

Chezie is built on these pillars. We give companies a central hub to manage their DEI efforts and share the work that they’re doing with the diverse talent that wants to know.

We’re on a mission to connect diverse employees with the best career opportunities, and that starts with helping companies be more inclusive.

Think about it: you have software for marketing, engineering, product, HR, and all of the other work your company is doing, but when it comes to DEI, you’re left high and dry.

Your DEI program doesn’t belong in a Slack channel or a Google doc. If you’re committed to being a more inclusive and diverse organization, doesn’t it make sense for you to have the right tools to achieve that goal?

We think the answer is yes.