Torin Ellis's 5 Strategies for Moving the Needle on DEI

It’s 2022, and the language we use to talk about DEI continues to expand and evolve, empowering us to speak on the issues that exist. But…is it all talk and no action? Are these just becoming buzzwords? Companies are still struggling to move the needle on building diverse teams.

To help define what organizations can do to actually make movement on their DEI programs, we sat down with DEI expert, Torin Ellis, during our August webinar. Moderated by Edisa Rodriguez, Pillar’s Head of Growth & DEI, Torin provided insight into the five things that companies must get right to bolster their DEI efforts. 

Check out the full 1-hour webinar below or read on for a brief synopsis of each strategy.

Before diving into Torin’s five high-level strategies, Edisa asked him what motivates him to do the work he does today…his answer? HUMANITY! More specifically, how do we do a better job of taking care of the people that we say are a part of our organization because after all, the ROI of DEI is humanity.

1.) DEI & the Interview Process

Even before the interview, Torin mentions that messaging is key. Companies need to do an incredible job of messaging their DEI commitment to prospective candidates…on the website, within job descriptions, at company-sponsored events, etc. And keeping the messaging “real” is just as important.

When it comes to the interview itself, the thing that makes the biggest difference is replication and consistency inside of the interview process. How can we repeat what we’re doing in every single engagement? Far too many organizations are still struggling with consistency and may ask one candidate five questions while they ask another candidate ten totally different questions, and this makes it difficult to assess whether or not someone is the right fit for a role.

2.) Team Accountability

In order to spread accountability throughout an organization, the one thing we can do is ask every single person one question…”what did you do to support our DEI efforts?”. This is an EVERYBODY question…not just for the executive team, Hiring Managers, etc. When you feel the response from every single employee, you’ll see a different frequency within your organization. And the best part…it costs absolutely nothing to ask this question.

3.) Leadership Commitment

Torin wants to see a few things to confirm leadership commitment:

1.) A declarative statement from the highest level of leadership (at minimum, internally, but externally is even better)
2.) Reallocate resources from both a headcount and dollars perspective
3.) Hold people accountable 

Doing DEI right is hard work, but it’s not rocket science. When you have leaders that focus on these three things, you will see a monumental shift inside of your organization. People will be more engaged, attrition will drop, and productivity will rise.

4.) Inclusion & Belonging

One of the biggest things that companies are doing right these days when it comes to inclusion and belonging is actually having leaders that listen. It’s imperative that we don’t minimize the power of listening and allow everyone within our organizations (and the communities in which we live in) to speak their truth.

5.) DEI Core Values

Torin’s 4 core values related to DEI are:

1.) Empathy
2.) Intentionality
3.) Proximity
4.) Transparency

All of us need to be transparent and vulnerable so we can better understand the things that we may not understand. The only way we can do this is to have empathy and intentionality while getting closer to the communities that we are less familiar with. We are far too quick to “cancel” an individual because they are attempting to be transparent, but what we have to remember is that it takes courage to be honest. 

Let’s conclude with our favorite quote from Torin during the session: “DEI is an effort, not an initiative…and it’s a FOREVER journey.” 

Check out how Pillar promotes fair, unbiased interviewing, providing advocacy and transparency into diverse hiring decisions by scheduling a demo today. Be on the lookout for our September webinar topic and guest announcement soon. See you then!

Related Posts