WRAL Offers Primer on DEI Initiatives in the Workplace with Smith Anderson’s Chief Diversity Officer
WRAL of Raleigh reported on what companies need to know about implementing DEI initiatives in the workplace, with Smith Anderson Chief Diversity Officer and employment attorney Taylor Dewberry telling the news outlet how the Triangle’s largest business and litigation law firm is cementing its place as a leader in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the legal industry.
The article explains that the aim of DEI efforts is the creation of a supportive, inclusive and welcoming professional environment where everyone, regardless of their differences, can succeed and thrive. Smith Anderson is on the forefront helping businesses understand how to implement these efforts in an impactful way. Most recently, it achieved a milestone toward this goal after receiving Midsized Mansfield Certified Plus status for its efforts in recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse attorneys.
"DEI is a concept that informs a lot of different HR and employment policies," said Taylor, adding that industry-wide DEI initiatives have gained more traction in the past decade, especially since 2020. "A substantial part of DEI is about HR professionals being intentional in actively recruiting diverse candidates for openings and to make sure diverse employees feel included and have equal promotional opportunities. It’s also taking extra effort to think about how to retain people with diverse backgrounds and help them fully succeed at your company.”
While DEI efforts are encouraged across the board, employment law can be very nuanced and Taylor voiced to WRAL that there are many ways an organization can implement DEI efforts. Taylor said it is smart for businesses to consult with legal professionals to ensure that all practices are in accordance with state and federal laws.
"A lot of clients come to law firms and ask them to review DEI efforts to make sure that they’re promoting diversity, while being fully compliant with existing federal employment laws," Taylor said. "Law firms are big employers themselves, and we’re always thinking about ways to make sure diverse lawyers are given equal opportunities and are staffed on key matters. Clients are also demanding more and more diversity within their legal teams and challenging their firms to have actionable DEI in place.”
The article reports that not only can companies that implement a DEI strategy attract a broader base of new potential employees, but an employer who recognizes, respects and values each member of its workforce is bound to experience a boost in creativity, office morale, increased productivity and retention.