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Moving Beyond Lip Service - How to Truly Foster Diversity in Your Tax Department


diversity in corporate tax

Too many organizations pay lip service to diversity without taking meaningful action. Having a diversity statement or training is not enough. To build a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, it requires an ongoing commitment from leadership and a comprehensive strategy with systems in place that will ensure the strategy gets reviewed and updated regularly. I can't tell you how many corporations haven't updated their DEI strategies since it got the long overdue spotlight it got during covid.


Here are some key ways to foster an authentic environment of diversity:


Lead by Example

Diversity needs to be embraced at the highest levels. The leadership team should be diverse itself in order to set the right tone. Leaders must go beyond words to actions by prioritizing diversity initiatives, allocating sufficient resources, and holding themselves and others accountable.


Rethink Recruiting

To build a diverse workforce, you need to reevaluate how you identify, attract, and hire talent. Diverse talent is tired of being the "lonely only" where they easily become tokenized, or the "teach me how to be an ally" person in their workroom. It is exhausting to be that person. If you have a person who is the only ___ person on your tax team, find ways for them to connect with other departments so that they can interact with people who look like them. As recruiters we are constantly asking hiring managers to expand the scope of the candidate pool to reach underrepresented groups. Implement training for recognizing unconscious biases in the hiring process. Effective recruiting is the first and best (in our opinion) way to identify, attract, hire and retain diverse employees.


Cultivate an Inclusive Culture

It's not enough to simply have diversity, you need to make all people feel welcomed, valued and empowered. Implement training to build cultural competence. Give employees a voice through resource groups, mentorship programs, and open forums. Call out and address micro-aggressions and instances of bias. Celebrate cultural holidays and traditions.


Prioritize Equitable Advancement

Ensure there are fair and equal opportunities for growth, leadership roles, promotions and advancement. Analyze representation at all levels to identify potential inequities in the pipeline. Implement structured evaluation criteria, skill development and sponsorship programs to facilitate employee growth.


Incentivize and Measure Progress

What gets measured gets managed. Monitor demographic data and set quantifiable diversity goals at all levels. Incentivize or tie compensation to meeting those goals. Conduct regular pay audits to analyze and address potential inequities. Get regular feedback from employees through engagement surveys.


True diversity is an ongoing journey that requires consistent effort, accountability and perseverance. It's about creating a culture of inclusion where people feel respected, supported and empowered to succeed and speak up when something goes wrong. Only then can organizations unlock the immense innovative potential that diversity provides.

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