D&I Column: How to implement DEI in your company?

This column is a collaboration of various people and organizations working for diversity and inclusion.

How to implement Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in your company? Three sustainable approaches

The year 2022 is coming to an end and as never before, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) has been the topic at many leadership meetings. 

But why are we still “talking” about DEI?

The answer is simple: There has never been more need for it than now! 

In recent studies, it has become clear that the skills shortage in Switzerland is at its all-time high and this predominantly impacts the tech industry (Swiss Skills Shortage by Adecco Group, 2022). The skills shortage can lead to an aggregated loss of value added worth up to CHF 31.1 billion until 2030 (Digital Switzerland, 2022).

Furthermore, as less women are returning to the workforce after giving birth, there is a potential loss of 33 billion CHF, 6% of the BIP (Advance White Paper, 2022). The lack of diversity impacts innovation and subsequently the financial performance of a company of up to 25% (McKinsey, 2020).

While it becomes clear that the lack of DEI in the Swiss economy and workforce can lead to a substantial loss, measures to improve the situation are not as effective as expected and hoped for. Companies are still struggling finding an approach that can be successfully applied. 

At the same time, measures fail and cause resentment and resistance among employees as they are not implemented with the companies culture and goal in mind. 

The following does therefore provide an overview of three impactful approaches that can be implemented with sustainable goals and the corporate culture in mind.

Start within the company – your culture

Starting to increase DEI can be a difficult challenge. There are endless opportunities you can find anywhere within and outside your company. However, the easiest way is to start within the company because of all these opportunities to create a diverse and inclusive work environment.

Besides getting the facts and figures about your workforce, you can ask yourself, what kind of culture does your company have. You can start by observing your environment under different aspects, such as:

  • Who are the superstar employees?
  • What skills or expertise are predominantly present?
  • Who gets promoted, do they have something in common?

Compare the answer of these questions and ask yourself, what is the common denominator. Are there any similarity, such as the same kind of person is always talking, promoted or well known. 

At the same time, you can start asking these questions to your employee and team members. How do they perceive their environment. What makes them eager to be part of the team, what leaves them out. Do they see similarities or differences among the employees.

As a next step, you can start investigating how these can be changed. For example, you can ensure that everyone has a chance to speak up in meetings by asking everyone for their views. Or you invite someone from another team with a different experience or background to join a meeting and share their insights. 

Start with small changes rather than trying to implement drastic changes for the whole company. Be a role model and do the first step yourself. Try to stick to these changes and empower others to do the same. 

Note what worked and what didn’t as well as how these measures changed a situation or behavior. Talk about it with your leadership team to showcase how it can impact the business and inspire others to follow your example.

Implementing support programs for minorities – do it right

Many companies approach the need for DEI by implementing measures such as support programs for minorities. However, these programs can be more harmful than supporting the diversity goals of a company if not thought through. 

While these programs clearly focus on only one group of your workforce, others might feel left out or reverse discriminated.

Furthermore, there is not one program that fits all and it might not bring the expected impact.

Therefore, if you want to implement a program to increase DEI in your company, you have to first identify the overall goals of the program. These programs should not have the single goal to increase the percentage of women in your company. 

Investigate first why there is no diversity in your teams (see above). What would be required to change the situation? Talk to your employees, ask people outside your organization what would make it attractive for them to work in your company.

Based on these investigations, you can define the measures and goals of your support program. For example your companies needs more part time possibilities for ALL employees. 

Or you have to ensure equality among the potential candidates up for a promotion. You can start implement certain measures for just one team or department to see its outcome and adjust if needed before implementing it overall. 

Most importantly, make sure you involve your employees in any changes through such programs and don’t just enforce it upon them. Ask for their support and talk about the success equally as the failures of the program results.

Change the way you recruit for the long term

  • How do you recruit for talents? 
  • Are you still using the traditional post and pray approach? 
  • Or have you implemented an active sourcing specialist that helps you reaching out to talents in the market?

Once you have ensured that your company is attractive for a diverse workforce, the next step is to ensure that these diverse talents are actually aware of your company. Implement an effective employer branding strategy and think about how talents learn about your open positions. 

There are different options to reach talents such as:

  • Events that focus on diverse talents (#wetechtogether conference)
  • Connect with female tech communities and investigate opportunities to collaborate
  • Dedicated platform such as Finder by TechFace
  • Mentoring programs
  • Meetups and other events that focus on specific topics

If you want to attract different talents, you need to change your strategy of attracting talents. 

Keep in mind, changing the place your recruit for your company is just a first step that helps you increase diversity in your talent pipeline. There are more steps to review and maybe adapt to ensure diversity to the end of the recruiting process.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

(Albert Einstein)

Try and test new approaches and make sure you keep track of the result to find out, which one was the most promising approach. Be aware that not all approaches work for your company, but every one you try will bring you more insights.


These are just three of many opportunities to increase DEI in your teams with a sustainable approach. Most importantly is to be open to new approaches and ensure your employees are on board to reach diversity in their teams. 

Furthermore, your leadership has to support your approaches and enable people to take decision without lengthy approval processes. Be aware that changes are not easy, but only with bold changes you can reach your goals and beyond. Let’s not just talk about DEI, but ensure we all are working towards it.

Want to hear more about opportunities to diversify your workforce? Listen to the Beyond Podcast episode with the author where she shares more insights. 

About Priska Burkard

Priska is co-founder of TechFace (SKILLS FINDER AG), the first Swiss platform that networks female tech talents with exciting companies in the tech field and thus promotes diversity. Priska herself has had a long career in the tech field and knows the difficulties and strengths that you need and bring with you as a woman in the technology industry.


Priska Burkard

Co-Founder & Managing Director von TechFace.ch & SKILLS FINDER AG, Member Of The Board Of Advisors bei GirlsinTechSwitzerland

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Diversity & Inclusion