The work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within organizational culture structures must be an ongoing focus. To ensure fair and equitable organizational environments that also accurately reflect and promote the diversity of our country, we can never consider this work to be done. Regardless of our well-intended plans, we cannot reverse the structural and cultural inequities that have plagued our society for centuries overnight.
Regardless of our well-intended plans, we cannot reverse the structural and cultural inequities that have plagued our society for centuries overnight.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of strategies to organize DEI efforts. Before my work with the Global Ties Network over the last two years, I developed a 7-part framework to position singular organizations for a DEI journey. A brief description of each component, followed by additional subcomponents of the structure, are listed below:
Organizational Commitment to DEI Evolution
Well-supported DEI programs have the potential for transformational, positive change within any organization. Strong commitment to DEI evolution requires executive leaders to embrace their roles as change agents.
- Building a Broad Case for Diversity
- Leadership Advocacy, Support, and Sponsorship
- Stakeholder and Target Audience Identification
Before embarking on the change initiative, it is important to understand what is driving the need for improved DEI in your organization.
Organizational Assessment and Analytics
- Audit of Current DEI Programs/Efforts
- Internal Culture Assessment: People’s Attitude and Perspectives of DEI
- Change Readiness Assessment
It is critical to lead culture change initiatives with data and metrics. Therefore, we cannot rely purely on intuition and past experience. As stewards of your change, we create a customized change roadmap to guide and benchmark your progress against objective data.
DEI Strategy Development
- Organizational Roadmap and Implementation Plan
- Establish Benchmarks
- Define/Redefine what Diversity means for this specific organization
Multiple types of interactions point to a lack of workplace DEI, ranging from simple acts of exclusion and/or microaggressions through overt harassment, discrimination, and racism in policies, culture, and hiring/promotion practices… all of which result in a non-productive, hostile environment.
- Looking Inward: Understanding Yourself, Unconscious Biases, and Your Role in Perpetuating or dismantling racism and inequality
- Looking Outward: Cultural Awareness, Understanding, and valuing others
- Looking Holistically: Understanding Your Organization’s Role in Perpetuating or Dismantling Institutionalized Racism and Inequality
The complicated nature of DEI requires a multifaceted approach to interventions. Training workshops are simply not enough to ensure behavioral change. We must use a variety of workplace techniques to help your organizational culture evolve in DEI. You must practice the behaviors that create an inclusive workplace, including using the styles of communication that support a diverse organization; offering team-building opportunities that unite the workforce; and proactively managing conflict in productive ways.
- Effective Communication
- Team Building
- Conflict Management
Throughout our focus on increasing DEI, we measure progress against both the starting baseline and the benchmark goals. This is intended to be an iterative process. When appropriate, we work with you to revise and recalibrate goals for maximum effectiveness.
- Evaluation: programmatic and organizational
- Programmatic revisions
- Transition from “program” to normalized/expected organizational culture
Cultural change is not a one-time event. You will need the tools to continue focusing on your workforce long after our interventions have ended.
- Honoring DEI as an organizational Core Value
- Encouraging Leadership Role Modeling
- Including DEI in the Performance Management Process
Just as the DEI focus requires sponsorship from organizational leaders throughout the journey, one of the strongest indicators that behavior change has been embraced by your workforce will be the presence of DEI “allies” as a result of your efforts. True allyship is exhibited when inclusive behaviors are the norm and every team member feels empowered with the responsibility to make situations more equitable for the entire workforce. Most importantly, organizations will need a plan to sustain the momentum of their DEI culture change with distinct, supportable, and measurable steps.