Many well-intentioned leaders want to implement activities that support issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations – but they do not know where to start.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review provides a great list of steps to consider. Depending on the size and type of organization you are a part of these may or may not specifically relate to your situation. But it is a great list to get you started:
1. Actively Listen and Learn. Get out of your office and talk with people to learn what is on their minds regarding DEI. Depending on the size of your organization, this could involve interviews, focus groups, town halls, and/or surveys. Make sure people feel you are really listening.
2. Enlist and Align Senior Leaders. Your top team needs to be on board – for real. Set very specific expectations for behaviors and actionable plans. Hold people accountable. DEI must become an important part of your organization fabric.
3. Audit the Culture. Implement a formal process to discern how your organization is perceived by key stakeholders. You can utilize a third party or do this yourself. Interviews and surveys can be helpful.
4. Document What You are Doing Now. Along with the audit, this will give you a baseline for your future work.
5. Establish Benchmarks. Based on your vision for the future and the findings of your audit and documentation work, establish specific, measurable benchmarks for the future.
6. Build Action Learning Teams. Assign a team to each of the benchmarks. The role of these teams is to learn best practices regarding their particular assignment and then to build action plans.
7. Develop an Action Plan. Assign people to carry out the action plans developed by the Action Learning Teams. Make sure that there is a chain of accountability for these that reaches the CEO. The CEO needs to hold people accountable for carrying out the plans and producing results.
Improvements in any area of an organization’s operations requires more than good intentions. Follow these steps to get organization-wide implementation of activities that will make a real difference in how you address important issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: White, J. D. “How to Build an Anti-Racist Company,” Harvard Business Review, May – June 2022.