PPAI is initiating an ongoing series of diversity, equity and inclusion-related outputs consisting of practical resources to help promotional products industry companies contemplate and implement their DEI initiatives. According to PPAI’s DEI Playbook, there are three main assessments available to assist an organization in determining their DEI-based goals. The first evaluation, being introduced now, is the Current Employee Diversity Mix Assessment, which effectively provides a broad census study for an organization.

One critical point to remember is that diversity is not limited to demographics. As described in PPAI’s DEI Playbook, there are three categories of diversity:

  • Demographic diversity: a person’s gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Experiential diversity: a person’s skills, expertise, education, affinities, hobbies and abilities.
  • Cognitive diversity: a person’s approach to thinking about things and solving problems.

According to PPAI Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris, it is important for companies to assess their current employee mix to ascertain all three types of diversity that exist within the company. Contingent on the organization’s size, an individual may want to work with the human resources department or management team to complete this assessment. It may also be helpful to complete this assessment in smaller units, for example by individual divisions, teams or functions.

He further explains that the purpose of this assessment is to “take a pulse” of the organization, not to categorize employees or make any of them feel they are encountering judgement or discrimination. Completing this assessment will give the user a sense of the areas where the organization could elevate its diversity mix. Users might also find there is a team that could benefit from an increase in experiential diversity to be more innovative or solve problems more creatively, or another team that could use some fresh perspective to gain efficiency or streamline processes.

Norris notes that this is not a recommendation to send out a survey to collect data on employees. Even with the best of intentions, a survey may cause employees to be skeptical or threatened that their identity and qualifications are being evaluated. Instead, use the data available through human resources or management teams to produce a general census of the talent employed by the company.

Looking at the demographic, experiential and cognitive diversity of the team, complete the Current Employee Diversity Mix Assessment and answer the following questions:

  • What groups are represented?
  • What groups are not represented?
  • Is there a majority group?'
  • Is there a minority group?

There are several questions industry professionals reviewing the results of their assessment should ask themselves, Norris says. What do you observe? Do you like what you see? In which areas of diversity would you like to see growth? The answers to these question provide a valuable perspective as they progress through PPAI’s DEI playbook and their own process. This assessment is a precursor to the two other. The results of the Current Employee Diversity Mix Assessment, the precursor to the other two assessments in PPAI’s DEI Playbook, will help participants determine a strategy to achieve their goals.

For further resources, PPAI has an ongoing DEI Roundtable series, which creates a community for industry professionals interested in DEI-related topics. Instead of lectures, these roundtables provide safe spaces to share experiences and ask questions some may be hesitant to ask elsewhere. Also, click here for previous and future PPAI education sessions focusing on various DEI-based concepts. For questions about any of the available resources, contact diversity@PPAI.org.