DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) has been all the buzz recently. Although it is in all the headlines, there remains a sort of vagueness to it. Many acknowledge diversity, equity, and inclusion as important and morally the correct thing to do. However, organizations and leaders struggle in moving from DEI awareness to action.
Navigating the DEI space can feel overwhelming and complex. But like other goals, DEI simply requires orchestrated efforts, a clear plan, and a timeline.
Before action, you need awareness to build the grounds for change. The more people know and talk about these topics, the more pressure builds up to address these issues. This added consciousness allows for making far more informed decisions and thus driving change in an efficient manner.
- Start by raising awareness across the organization, especially among the leadership team, on why these topics are important. By having an open dialogue, leaders can become motivated to take that first step in tackling current shortcomings.
- Coaching & training: Start with coaching and training the leaders, managers, and employees.
- Learn the basics of DEI, so you can build a strong foundation for the upcoming activities. The fundamentals include unconscious biases, DEI terminology, microaggressions, and psychological safety. Sometimes external support is needed to help comprehend these complex topics.
Awareness on its own does not result in change; real action is needed. However, DEI has a plethora of touchpoints, thus organizations should first figure out their key priorities. What aspects in your organization need improvement? The only way to know is through data and employee feedback.
An organization itself cannot self-proclaim to be inclusive. Inclusion is a subjective experience, and therefore it is crucial to truly understand how different employees perceive the working environment. Thus, organizations must have sufficient resources, leadership commitment, and processes in place to gather these insights.
- A D&I survey carried out by a third party is an ideal way to measure the state of DEI. A neutral entity ensures data protection and the collection of honest information.
- Review policies and processes: Building an inclusive culture needs proactive efforts from all different organizational functions (comms & marketing, HR, products and services, strategy, leadership).
- Concrete actions: Start by reviewing existing policies and processes e.g. company values, the code of conduct, and comms representation. Examine whether processes like recruitment and promotions are inclusive and whether reporting inappropriate behaviour is safe. Evaluate what data an organization has to measure employee demographics and experiences of inclusion.
DEI is a journey that needs constant iteration and commitment across the whole organization. DEI needs to be embedded deep into the corporate strategy. Thus it is worthwhile building a DEI roadmap that identifies short and long-term goals along with the related tasks forces and ownership areas for each target.
Building DEI strategies and roadmaps can be challenging. There is no shame in reaching out to DEI experts to lend a helping hand. Inklusiiv and our experts offer a variety of services to support your DEI goals.
Moving from DEI awareness to action is indeed possible with direction, dedication, and patience.