Posted on 05 Mar 21byDawn Jones
Note from Nelson
Given the dramatic events of the past many months, you’ve probably recognized the imperative to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within your organization. You’ve secured initial buy-in and committed resources. You’re ready to launch (or enhance) your DEI initiative. Yet, creating a DEI plan can be overwhelming. So, where do you begin? As with many endeavors, it’s important to prepare before taking action. The following steps will help you prepare to develop an effective plan.
Step 1: Assess where you are
Assess where your organization is now on the DEI spectrum by collecting both internal and external data to gain a 360-degree perspective of where you stand.
Internal data should include analyses of internal culture, attitudes, and systems. You can gain insights by reviewing internal company information related to:
affirmative action plans
Organizational assessments are also a great way to examine your current status and gauge cultural competency.
You’ll also need to know how your company compares to other industry organizations. Labor market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticswill help you understand industry and workforce demographics.
With the internal and external data in hand, you can identify key areas of concern and needs to define goals and strategies. Be sure to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to get a clear sense of the numbers and narratives of stakeholders.
Step 2: Define the business case
Successful DEI initiatives and planning require the commitment, focus, and participation of those within each level of the organization, especially leadership. Their expressed passion to lead the charge sets the tone for the entire organization to follow.
Getting leaders on board requires the ability to translate the benefits of DEI into a program that leaders want to fund. Enter the business case for diversity, which includes highlighting the business value, humanity, and equality-based benefits to transformative change.
Step 3: Engage the right stakeholders
Make sure the right people are in the room to make an impact, including both leaders and diverse staff from various levels within the organization.
Invite decision-makers who can approve activities and resources.
Include influencers whom decision-makers listen to and who know the organization’s pulse.
And don’t forget the skeptics. Although they may not buy in initially, their perspectives and your ability to sway their reservations will help to bolster transformation.
Step 4: Identify your “why” and goals
Before and throughout the planning process, continue to ask the question Why do we need diversity within our organization now? This simple question will help keep your efforts grounded and focused. And, be sure to tie the “why” to your company’s core mission, values, and priorities to help make DEI become part of your company’s DNA.
Because DEI initiatives are plentiful, it’s key to identify SMART goals aligned to the needs identified during the assessment process in Step 1.
Strive to set meaningful goals, including those that:
show early wins
help to expedite buy-in
look beyond quotas
show a commitment to changes in internal culture and systemic biases
SMART DEI Goal Example: By 2022, implement a new recruitment system and process using clearly defined criteria, guidelines, and outreach methods targeted specifically to diverse candidates to increase diverse new hires from 10% to 30%. Step 5: Garner broader feedback
Once you’ve drafted your SMART goals, the next step is to make sure they’re collaborative by garnering broader feedback from those outside of your DEI-focused group. Getting input from people in various organizational levels who are going to be the most impacted is a great start to inclusiveness and also ensures all voices are heard and valued. This feedback will be eye-opening and help to inform goals or clarify what you should prioritize.
There’s no better time than now to start or enhance your DEI journey. With the steps outlined above, you’ll be well-prepared to start developing your plan. But, don’t stop there.
Stay tuned for the next article in our 3-part series “How to Create Your DEI Plan” as we take you through writing an effective plan and implementing/tracking your DEI initiative to ensure your efforts are positioned for ongoing success.
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