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DEI Questions to Ask Your DMC

If you’re looking for a DMC that can plan inclusivity-first events and programs, you need to start from the inside out. Without a foundation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) built into their organization, your DMC may not fully understand the nuances of celebrating diversity and embracing equity. Here at 360DG, we believe in practicing what we preach. That’s why we’re putting ourselves and our peers to the test!

Keep reading for the essential DEI questions to ask prospective destination partners in order to gauge their ability to execute on your inclusive initiatives. Bonus points will be awarded for taking any of these tips back to your company!

Putting the Heart in HR: Implementing Inclusive Hiring Practices

One key way to incorporate equity into a DMC is to start every relationship off right. Here are some DEI questions you can ask your partner to learn if they are prioritizing DEI throughout the hiring process.

1. How do you ensure your job descriptions appeal to a diverse audience?

When looking to engage diverse candidates, DMCs should use inclusive language that encourages candidates from varied backgrounds to apply. Instead of requiring a college degree, list that you prefer candidates with equivalent on-the-job experience or additional educational achievements, such as certifications or courses. Removing the requirement of a college degree will appeal to a broader spectrum of individuals who may otherwise be discouraged from applying if they do not have a degree.

Engage a more diverse audience by being extra transparent about roles, responsibilities, experience levels, and salary expectations as opposed to offering a vague list or range. Sharing this information transparently demonstrates the organization’s dedication to equitable pay practices, reducing disparities, and helping potential employees feel valued. Applying for a role only to discover that it’s not actually a good fit for you never feels good, so it’s important to eliminate any potential barriers ahead of time. Ensure that job posting language is written simply and concisely without too much fluff or buzzwords so that no one feels like they’re not in the know.

#Pro-Tip: Writing your descriptions in the second person using “you” makes it easier to use gender-neutral language versus ascribing “he” or “she” to the role. It also helps candidates imagine themselves doing the job before they even apply!

2. What steps do you take to attract and hire the best candidates from diverse backgrounds?

The best way to get a real feel for a person is to talk to their network! Encourage candidates to include notes from references who can speak to their unique skills and perspectives or cultural passions, like community service. But don’t stop there, use your own network as well! Encourage current employees to offer diverse referrals.

3. How do you ensure your interview process is inclusive and free from bias?
It is crucial to include multiple perspectives in the interview process to remove potential bias. At 360DG, we bring a minimum of three current employees into the panel process to provide a range of opinions. In the screening interview, be sure to discuss your company’s dedication to diversity and inclusion and the role it plays in your corporate culture.

Inside 360DG: The Human Resources Committee

Every member of our HR team completes diversity and anti-bias training to better understand how to ensure an inclusive recruiting and hiring process. However, we also have a dedicated HR committee that is responsible for continually fine-tuning our hiring process, focusing on diversifying where job advertisements are posted, and viewing every step of the hiring lifecycle through a DEI lens.

Committing to DEI
Building and maintaining an inclusive corporate community isn’t about checking boxes; it’s about always striving to do better. When inquiring about your DMC’s DEI action plan, be sure to focus on how they’re fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

1. Do you have a DEI committee and who is on it?
While everyone is responsible for embracing DEI, setting objectives and achieving them effectively and efficiently requires structure and planning. Even in a smaller DMC, tasking HR alone with these initiatives isn’t enough. One way to spread the love is to create subcommittees with particular areas of focus. By involving subject matter experts across departments, inclusive strategies can be holistically integrated into their teams every day. At 360DG, we have the following subcommittees that report back to leadership (best of all: everyone who expresses interest is welcome to join!):

    • Human Resources Committee – Responsible for building and evolving inclusive hiring practices.
    • Education/Training Committee – Tasked with educating and training the broader 360DG community on cultivating a culture of belonging.
    • Design & Development Committee – Focused on looking beyond stereotypes when designing events and ensuring décor elements have purpose and celebrate cultural diversity.
    • Operations Committee – Accountable for field staff diversity and inclusion as well as prioritizing the use of minority and woman-owned vendors.

2. How do you measure the impact of your DEI efforts?
It’s all about the data! Implementing DEI strategies in a DMC is a great first step, but measuring the success of these initiatives is just as important. At 360DG we have a bi-annual pulse survey to check in with our employees and get their feedback on our progress. The results are a gold mine of good ideas! In fact, it’s due to this initiative that we now recognize both Veterans Day and Juneteenth as corporate holidays.

Celebrating a Destination’s Diversity Through Vendor Relationships
Every location is a tapestry woven with unique cultural threads and histories that are a joy to honor. Authentically representing the communities that make their destinations special is one of the most crucial roles a DMC can play. Ask these DEI questions to see how your potential partner prioritizes diversity.

1. How do you identify and build relationships with diverse vendors?
Authentic representation starts with deep understanding. DMCs should know the history, team, ownership, and story behind each of their preferred vendors as well as the role they play in the larger community. At 360DG, we like to include these details in our proposals to give our clients a taste of the local flavor while showing these businesses that they have our support.

2. Can you provide examples of diverse vendors you’ve partnered with and the impact they’ve had?
Entertainment is one of the most impactful ways to embrace and showcase diversity. Bands, dance groups, and costume characters can all take unique cultural attributes and make them shared experiences. It’s always a joy to watch attendees see themselves and their history represented at an event and be able to share that with others. There’s nothing more engaging than personal connection!

Ask for Examples
When evaluating your DMC’s commitment to DEI, don’t be afraid to ask for examples! Your prospective partner should be ready to wow you with their latest and greatest inclusive activations.

We recently planned an event that was out of this world for a client’s annual awards banquet at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. In addition to wowing their guests, our client wanted to ensure that everyone had a stellar experience. We decided to keep the event on a single floor so that guests in wheelchairs wouldn’t have to struggle waiting for elevators or navigating stairs. We needed to plan appropriately to allow for unobstructed wheelchair access throughout the space, while also ensuring an easy flow for attendees during the event. In a space this unique, it took some creative planning to set the event elements in an ideal layout for a successful event. To put Chi-town’s unique culture and community front and center, all of our vendors for this event were minority-owned.

Do you feel ready to learn more about your DMC’s perspective on DEI? We hope so! Want to learn more about 360DG’s initiatives and efforts to spearhead equitable and inclusive events? Have an idea of something we could do to improve? Please reach out and keep the conversation going!

 

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