How To Develop a DEI Plan? Step 1: Listen to Your Employees

Leaders from three Chicago-based companies reveal how they are listening to their teams to develop their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
Written by Avery Komlofske
December 5, 2022Updated: December 5, 2022

Diversity matters to job seekers.

According to an October 2022 article on Built In’s national site, 3 out of 4 employees and job seekers prioritize diversity when choosing where to work. And as of now, they’re not quite satisfied — 50 percent of U.S. employees want their companies to invest more in diversity, equity and inclusion.

The question, of course, is: How? As befits the subject of diversity, every team and every business will have its own DEI needs and goals. If an organization puts its attention and resources toward the wrong initiatives, it will not meet employees’ expectations — no matter how robust the effort.

As such, the best way for a company to develop an effective DEI plan is to listen to its employees. They have the best idea of what the organization needs in terms of diversity and inclusion, since they are experiencing the day-to-day workplace. It is imperative that any company that wishes to make a commitment to DEI take comprehensive employee feedback and implement that feedback thoughtfully in support of that mission.

These three companies are doing just that. Built In Chicago sat down with leaders from Hyatt, Rightpoint and SteelSeries to learn how they are receiving and implementing employee feedback to improve their DEI efforts.


Ronisha Goodwin
Director of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Hyatt, the hospitality company with over a thousand hotels, adheres to its mission of care when it comes to DEI. Ronisha Goodwin shared several formal and informal initiatives for receiving and implementing DEI feedback.


How does Hyatt solicit employee feedback on DEI practices?

We lean heavily on our colleague survey results, which help us gauge the feeling of belonging within the organization and assess and adjust practices accordingly. We also believe in regular, transparent communication throughout the year and hearing from our colleagues through both formal and informal avenues. 

We have regular meetings with our stakeholders, quarterly roundtable discussions and Global Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Council meetings. This council is composed of leaders across the globe who work to embed DEI within our business practices, respond to DEI-related world events and help foster the feeling of inclusion within our hotels and offices across the globe.

From a more informal lens, we encourage leaders to champion Hyatt’s purpose of care and create a safe, empathetic and inclusive environment for colleagues — and ask that they hold their teams accountable for doing the same. Creating a culture of safety and inclusivity directly impacts the transparency of communication around team belonging and well-being and gives us a true understanding of how our colleagues feel.

Creating a culture of safety and inclusivity directly impacts the transparency of communication around team belonging and well-being.”


What have been some key takeaways from that feedback?

We’ve learned a genuine commitment to DEI is necessary to make real change — it needs to be more than a check-the-box exercise. At Hyatt, we continue to hold ourselves accountable with transparent metrics and goals. Last year we did this with Hyatt’s inaugural DEI report, which is an important step in our long history of DEI. This report, and our commitment to share this data annually, will serve as a benchmark as we continue to advance progress.

Another great learning was the enthusiasm we received from our colleagues throughout our DEI journey. Our colleagues truly embody our purpose — to care for people so they can be their best — and they have a real desire to make our organization a place where all can thrive and serve as advocates and allies in bringing DEI to life in the day-to-day.


What actions or initiatives have been taken because of employee feedback on DEI practices? 

Our colleagues are what set us apart; their feedback is crucial to us. This means ensuring our DEI efforts lead to true inclusion and that our purpose of care is not just something we say but at the core of everything we do. We care for everyone — colleagues, guests, suppliers, owners — and our supplier diversity program, which aims to expand opportunities for diverse and women-owned businesses, is a great example of this. As of Q2 2022, we are currently working with 350 Black suppliers and that number is rising each month.

Second, we look at the ways in which we keep colleagues informed through the lens of DEI. This includes building awareness around DEI observances, regular messages from our leaders and spotlighting colleagues. Last year, colleagues shared the impact of seeing people who looked like them in leadership positions, which led to an internal “See Yourself” campaign. The results and responses were inspiring. 

And finally, we recently launched our eighth Diversity Business Resource Group, focused on the Middle Eastern and North African community, which was a direct response to the vulnerability shown by members of the Hyatt community sharing their feedback.



Kelli Schaaf
Senior Manager, Internal Communications


Digital consultancy company Rightpoint uses its People Pulse Surveys to gauge its DEI needs. Through those surveys, it has learned just how important diversity, equity and inclusion are to its employees.


How does Rightpoint solicit employee feedback on DEI practices?

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is a pillar of Rightpoint strategy. We strive to foster a transparent and inclusive environment where people are empowered to use their voices to bring about meaningful and measurable changes to representation, team member experience and client engagement.

RP’s annual People Pulse Survey helps capture the collective voice of our team members and get a better understanding of the RP work experience so we can target immediate areas we can improve on, as well as develop long-term goals going forward. 

Employee resource groups are created and run by team members who share a common community, identity or allyship; these groups play a vital role in contributing to RP’s inclusive environment and capturing feedback by bringing team members together in an open and trusting environment to connect, talk about sensitive issues, listen and learn from one another. 

RP also uses an external partner, Holistic, to ensure we objectively measure engagement and goals and analyze demographic and salary data. Holistic also helps facilitate open and honest dialogue amongst our people.



    1. Survey team members annually to collect anonymous feedback.
    2. Support ERGs in fostering a transparent environment for DEI feedback and ideas.
    3. Hire an external partner to objectively measure engagement and facilitate honest discourse.


    What have been some key takeaways from that feedback?

    Results from the 2022 People Pulse survey showed us that DEI is a new key driver of engagement and retention here at RP — equally as important to our people as the work, company culture, career development and salary.

    This insight isn’t surprising, but certainly encouraging! It shows that we’re moving in the right direction when it comes to DEIB and will continue to target strategy around DEI-specific company goals to help us measure what matters most and ensure accountability and advancement.


    What actions or initiatives have been taken because of employee feedback on DEI practices?

    Team member feedback has been instrumental in helping us create a consistent and fair work environment. This feedback allows us to constantly review organizational policies and prioritize structural transformation to remove any barriers that could prevent equal workplace participation. 

    Over the past couple years, for example, we’ve implemented annual DEI-focused trainings — including Behaviors of Inclusion, Bias Awareness, Cultural Competency, and Microaggressions in the Workplace. New in 2022, we’re offering a special Mental Health at Work training to educate team members and reviewers on how mental health shows up at work and a look at some basic tools that can help create a more empathetic, inclusive space.

    These trainings, along with ERG-led education and awareness initiatives and open forums, have encouraged our people to change behaviors and make an impact not only at work among colleagues, but within our own homes and communities as well. 



    Amy Wielgos
    Talent Strategy and Inclusion Manager


    SteelSeries creates hardware and software for high-performing gamers, including in the esports scene. Through its Twitch channel, the company extends its commitment to DEI outside its work by donating the proceeds to charitable partners.


    How does SteelSeries solicit employee feedback on DEI practices?

    We use surveys as the main tool for employee feedback. We sent out a general DEI survey earlier this year and recently wrapped up an inclusion survey. We have also held open DEI meetings across our organization where everyone is invited to contribute and help us understand how we’re doing and where we can improve. Employees are encouraged to provide feedback at any time, not just when a survey is released.

    Employees are encouraged to provide feedback at any time, not just when a survey is released.”


    What have been some key takeaways from that feedback?

    We recognized we needed a dedicated resource to work on and push our DEI agenda forward. Earlier this year, my responsibilities changed to include DEI in the scope of my work; since then, I have enrolled in a course for a DEI certificate and have been attending as many seminars and trainings as I can find. 

    We have decided to focus mostly on inclusion. If we can create and maintain an inclusive working environment, it will create a more diverse and equitable environment for everyone at SteelSeries.


    What actions or initiatives have been taken because of employee feedback on DEI practices? 

    This year, we have focused on existing ERG groups and added a new one to the mix. Right now, we have Women of SteelSeries, For Pride and our Mental Health Group. The Women of SteelSeries recently hosted a fall happy hour which included a ping pong tournament, headshots and a raffle to benefit breast cancer awareness. Our For Pride group works very closely with the Trevor Project to discuss and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ allyship within our org and with our larger community. Our Mental Health Group is the newest ERG group, and they have already begun planning for next year’s Mental Health Awareness Month as well as being a safe place and resource for our employees. 

    SteelSeries partners with a new organization every month using our Twitch channel — every cent in revenue raised through our channel on Twitch is donated to a different monthly cause. Since 2020, we’ve supported over a dozen charities, organizations and GoFundMe causes including Vital Voices, The Global Food Banking Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Anita B dot Org, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Casa Ruby, Humane Society, The Red Cross and more.


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