A recent study by Crescendo reflected that although 92% of HR professionals believe a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy is important, only 33% of them have a formal strategy at their company. The biggest reasons for this disparity is getting internal buy-in and just knowing where and how to start. The first step is to start a conversation.
The team at Crescendo has created an open source D&I Guide that they’ve shared with the Post’d People Group. Below we provide 5 Focus Areas to get started. You can view Crescendo’s complete guide here.
D&I involves the whole organization but can grow organically, which means you can focus on the five foundational items that make the most impact.
1. Identify Core D&I Challenges in Your Organization – While research points to common issues across the board, this area is about finding what in your organization is bottlenecking progress towards a more inclusive workplace. It’s important to note this step is about knowledge collection, not judging or pointing fingers.
2. Getting Senior Leadership Buy-In for Your D&I Strategy – When building a business case, remember executives are humans, too. Some will immediately be on board, but others may be skeptical and not believe it’s an issue until they hear feedback from employees. You may also face executives who believe D&I is not important; that’s where cold, hard facts come in.
3. Creating Conversations & Awareness of Workplace Inclusion Initiatives – After getting executive buy-in, the real work begins to create conversations and awareness about inclusion challenges and solutions. Awareness can come in many forms, whether a large event, one on one chats, or technological solutions.
4. Equipping Middle Management & HR for Long-Term Success – Middle managers and HR need the same buy-in work as executives, but with another step after. Make sure you explain how they play a role in each of the planned initiatives, offering education, resources, or access to you along the way so they are “just-in-time” prepared. If you face resistance from middle management, show them the facts about inclusion helping team dynamics: one study from Forbes found teams that follow inclusive processes make decisions 2x faster with 1/2 as many meetings.
5. Building Structures & Policies for Scaling Inclusion – Policies and procedures help to create lasting, scalable inclusive practices. There’s no standard course of action for which policy change should come first, so this is a good time to go back to the Problem Identification research and see what employees asked for. Be sure to also check best practice research for data-driven insights. In all policies and procedures, offer frameworks that guide action so people can make their own decisions. You’re not there to tell everyone what to do in every situation, so policies and procedures need to give a pathway for people to walk down with appropriate escalation as needed.