Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is one of the fastest evolving themes within organizations. There is more and more recognition that organizations need to be strategic about DEI. And that’s where a DEI roadmap comes in. A DEI roadmap is crucial especially when trying to define goals and create a plan on how to achieve them.
What is a DEI roadmap and why do you need to have one?
A DEI roadmap outlines the required steps to advance DEI in an organization. It’s a plan that clarifies priorities and it serves as a tool to communicate a clear strategic order for the tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the identified goals.
Having a DEI roadmap makes it easier for organizations to plan DEI efforts well in advance and to allocate the appropriate resources. It will also be a great way to inform people in the team what the concrete DEI actions the organization is taking. For the DEI working group or people in charge of achieving the identified goals, it is a tool to keep visibility of the progress. Ultimately, the roadmap guides and holds the organization accountable for achieving the defined goals.
What are the 5 core elements of a DEI roadmap?
DEI goals are the aspirational outcomes that the organizaton has defined. Having a clear definition of goals is the make or break of a successful roadmap. Identifying them will help in the definition of the major steps and milestones that follow. When creating DEI goals consider that they need to be achievable, measurable and transparent to the whole team.
The timeline serves three strategic purposes. It communicates the planned strategic order of actions to ensure the organizational goals can be met. It communicates critical deadlines for when the activities need to be completed. This helps the people in charge of the required activities to plan their time accordingly. Lastly, it keeps the team accountable for DEI progress.
KPIs stand for key performance indicators; they serve as a quantifiable measure of performance. Having KPIs for a roadmap is crucial to convert the DEI goals into strategic organizational outcomes. Defining adequate metrics that will determine the success of your roadmap. The most successful KPIs are SMART: Specific, Measurable Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
4. Resources and responsibilities
It is imperative to allocate the sufficient resources both in terms of financial investment but also in terms of team members and time. If there aren’t clear allocated responsibilities, there’s no accountability and the roadmap is prone to fail.
The very first step of a roadmap is determining the goals. But in order to reach an educated decision of what are the most relevant areas to focus on, make sure there is organizational data that will help in determining the priorities. This is also crucial when setting measurable and relevant KPIs. Before embarking on the creation of the DEI roadmap, gather the relevant data and if it doesn’t exist consider first running a D&I survey.
Beware of the pitfalls!
- Successful and realistic DEI roadmaps are not created in isolation. They are the result of various people working together to identify priorities and courses of action. Avoid leaving the task of creating it solely to an assigned person or organizational function.
- Make sure the leadership team is on board with the plan. Ideally also involve them in the creation of the DEI goals. This will increase the chances of getting the needed resources allocated for the plan to succeed.
- Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Don’t forget to do a risk assessment and consider how to mitigate the identified risks.
- Share the roadmap with the full team. While the success of the roadmap lies in the responsibility of a few team members, avoid keeping it for the eyes of only a few people, as others can have excellent insights and perspectives to share. When it comes to DEI change, the more, the merrier.
- Remember that DEI roadmaps are living documents. They may need iterations over time, and that’s ok. However, this flexibility doesn’t mean diminishing the priority of the established desired outcome.
- Don’t forget data. Sometimes the eagerness to advance DEI might result in trying to move forward without having all the needed elements in place. Not having enough data or not taking it into consideration in your roadmap, can guide your organization into the wrong direction.
You might be wondering, when is a good time to start building a DEI roadmap? The answer is, start today. Don’t wait for perfection. Don’t know where to start? Let us help you. Find out more about Inklusiiv’s services here! Ready to jump straight in? Reach out to: consulting @ inklusiiv.com.