Updated: May 12
Is diversity and inclusion an under-performing area within your organisation? D&I initiatives can under-perform in an business, or at best, obtains mixed results.
Maybe you are considering starting your very first initiative and need a starting point. You can achieve better outcomes by trying these 3 best practice steps to help you achieve better diversity and inclusion outcomes:
1 What Diversity and Inclusion Outcomes You Want?
Strategic planning for diversity and inclusion will deliver better results for your organisation. Identify the scope of your organisations vision for diversity and inclusion. This will entail analysing all the aspects of diversity as it encompasses a broad area. Try to define why it is important to your business. Identify your business vision for diversity and inclusion.
Is there a need for more diverse talent? Is there a need to increase cultural competency to enable a more inclusive environment or to adjust to changing demographics? Are you seeking to build more diverse products and services to meet customer needs?
Your vision for diversity should be supported by diversity goals, objectives, initiatives and governance. There are several areas to consider. Perhaps you are thinking of expanding your business internationally, and need to increase understanding of different cultural values to support global operations.
Maybe, your scope will include the need to position competitively, to support long term growth. Perhaps your aim is to attract and retain the best talent from a diverse candidate base.
Your vision for diversity will depend on many, if not all of these factors, and will be individual to your business. Once you have defined your vision for diversity, the next step is to develop a strategic plan.
2 Plan for Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Outcomes
It's now time to devise a strategic plan. Your diversity plan will support your vision. If you have not designed a diversity plan before, this is where you need to start! If you do have a plan but it has not delivered the results you envisaged, or it has under performed, it is time to review your plan.
It is important to understand, at this stage, that you plan should not be quota driven. This is not what diversity is about! It is important to consider quality over quantity, as the goal is to develop a plan that has a beneficial effect on your workforce population in terns of qualitative outcomes. This will not be the case, if for example you simply hire more diverse people without paying attention to changes that must be made within the workplace environment to support and include them.
Your diversity plan, or strategy, should include goals, linked to specific business and people focused objectives. In other words, your goals must comprise of specific interventions, that deliver and maintain specific organisational value around inclusion.
Include both long and short term goals, as some of your plan should be actionable immediately and some will take months, or even years, to be effectively accomplished.
Your plan is not simply a schedule of events and activities or a one time, one off process. Your diversity plan is a strategic document, that grows with your business. It is an ever evolving road map, that will ultimately lead to successful outcomes.
Make sure that your plan is realistic as there is no point starting on your journey, only to find that you have not developed the appropriate levels of commitment and organisational resources to support your plan. Aim to secure those first!
If you have a goals and a plan and you are not accomplishing the goals you have set, then it is time to revisit your plan. There is no point having a plan that is ineffectively scoped or is otherwise unrealistic.
3 Implement Actions for Enhanced Outcomes
Action your Diversity Strategy
Put your plan to work! Establish a team to manage strategy and all aspects of the processes associated with it. It is helpful to have expert subject matter knowledge in diversity and inclusion within your team.
This will allow you to action a strategic plan that really works and takes into account all the nuances associated with diversity and inclusion. You may consider establishing a staff diversity network to help build knowledge around diversity and inclusion, as it impacts your particular workplace environment..
Embed diversity into your learning and development process and engage with diverse groups of employees internally, and externally if you can. These may include your clients, customers or communities that you otherwise engage with.
Put your diversity plan into action to generate better results. Ensure you have effective review process in place and an appropriate governance for the strategy has been agreed.
Complete responsibility to developing diversity and inclusion in your business, cannot be left to a single diversity role. This presents several issues for a business, not least, it demonstrates a lack of commitment and is ineffective.
Diversity and inclusion is about getting everyone on board, including the leadership. It is the only effective way of building diversity into your business and reaping the business and people benefits of diversity.
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Kenroi Consulting is a bespoke diversity consultancy providing tailor made solutions for businesses.
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