Improve your supplier sourcing strategy: putting DE&I in the spotlight

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Improve your supplier sourcing strategy: putting DE&I in the spotlight

By Yanell Guillen, Marketing Consultant, Traveler Engagement

As companies seek to boost the wellbeing and safety of their employees, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) have become an important focus.

We are seeing a growing priority for companies to align their commitment to DE&I with suppliers with similar values. Here are some questions to consider asking during the RFP process to identify qualified suppliers that align not only with your business goals but also your organization’s wider DE&I goals.

Do their company-wide policies prioritize DE&I?

When evaluating suppliers, you will want to know how much they value DE&I. One indication is whether they include provisions in their policies, such as their branding and marketing guidelines and their company’s mission, vision and values statement. Visit their company website and read about their mission, vision, and values. Companies that prioritize DE&I often mention it explicitly to showcase their commitment.

What communities do they serve or support?

One way to identify a supplier’s commitment to DE&I values is to evaluate their support of DE&I-specific philanthropic causes. Are there communities, causes or initiatives they support, like minority-owned businesses, or human rights organizations? What third-party affiliations or charitable causes are they connected with? The answers to these questions will indicate if your suppliers’ values are in alignment.

Is their leadership diverse?

As part of assessing suppliers’ commitment to DE&I, it’s important to look at diversity in their leadership. Does their senior leadership team, C-suite and Board include people from historically marginalized groups? What are the percentages? Are those people staying around over the years? The answers to these questions will be a useful guide to suppliers’ success in achieving DE&I goals.

Are there internal groups established for their employees?

If DE&I is critically important to a company, they will have internal groups for employees to have a space where they can feel comfortable, collaborative and empowered to make meaningful connections. These may be in the form of DE&I councils or employee resource groups. Effective councils and employee resource groups are key to inclusion within a supplier’s workforce.

Do they have a WCAG Compliance Score?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a standard for online and mobile accessibility so that anyone can access web content. The standards call for content to be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. Web content is rated according to conformance with the guidelines, from A (the minimum) to AA (which many companies have) to AAA (the highest level). If your suppliers comply with any of these standards, rest assured that individuals with access needs will likely be able to use their digital communications with minimal difficulty, depending on their specific score.

What provisions have they made for physical accessibility?

A recent IATA survey revealed that more travelers than ever are requesting physical assistance when traveling. When it comes to travel specifically, hotels, air and car suppliers have an incredible opportunity and duty to support inclusive travel. It’s worth looking into suppliers’ commitments to make their services accessible to all. Some initial questions to consider are wheelchair ramps, ADA-compliant rooms, hearing-accessible rooms (with lights in place of sounds for doorbells and fire alarms), wheelchair lifts, gender-inclusive restrooms, Braille menus, and other areas of physical accessibility based on the specific needs of the travelers. Ideally, suppliers will be able to adapt easily to different access needs.

How easy is it to communicate on DE&I?

It’s also worth assessing if there is an open line of internal communication on their commitment to DE&I. Sometimes, policies can exist, but the actual employee/traveler experience is very different. Making space for others to give feedback on accessibility and other DE&I topics will help to bring transparency, so you can hold suppliers to account if necessary. Providing travel accessibility guides for different cities and countries is also useful, and it’s something Advito can help with as part of our traveler engagement service.

Remember that a company’s commitment to DE&I can vary widely, so it is essential to evaluate the sincerity and effectiveness of their initiatives. Look for organizations that not only talk about DE&I but also take tangible actions to create an inclusive and diverse workplace. Utilize the traveler engagement team to develop a robust communication strategy around the prioritization of DE&I and help enrich travelers’ experiences.

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