The decision to “implementing DEI practices” is often seen as a quick and definitive response to an organization’s needs. Implementing DEI as a “solution” in many organizations requires leadership support and a planned approach based on a collective effort.
The primary responsibility for championing and supporting DEI work should never rest on a single person or team inside an organization. Instead, taking a step back and objectively assessing where your organization is on its DEI journey is the first step in implementing DEI.
Get Started: “Implementing DEI” is much more than ticking off a box of what your organisation has done or who you have employed; it also consists of creating a long-term plan and evaluating the impact both internally and externally. Understanding the current situation, managing expectations, and asking key questions is a good way to start.
Determine the Most Important Factors: There are several important factors to consider while implementing DEI.
Clarity: It refers to a shared organisational understanding of what DEI is, how important it is based on current and historical factors, and what it means in your organization’s context. Is everyone on the same page when it comes to the definition? Is there a common terminology understanding? Are there any common expectations for the approach? These often-overlooked areas can actually impact the organization’s ability to communicate consistently and clearly about needs, choices, and actions.
Alignment: What is the connection between this work and your organization’s mission, vision, culture, and expectations? What are the chances of achieving effective short-term “wins”? Which areas necessitate a longer-term strategy? Creating a comprehensive DEI strategy that includes these points creates an anchor to revisit periodically as competing priorities arise and new opportunities present themselves.
Measurability: In addition to quantitative data, what qualitative data will need to be captured in order to measure true impact? What outputs are required, and what outcomes are expected? How will your company define and measure progress?
Sustainability: The inability to sustain key actions or resources dedicated to the work can be detrimental to the overall health of the organization. An organization should consider the critical factors discussed here as well as determine whether it can maintain a demonstrated commitment to initiating new relationships and cultivating new avenues for recruitment.
Look for Friction: By avoiding friction organizations may be running away from the very keys to their innovation. It allows organizations to anticipate and plan for necessary actions such as DEI interventions, creating guidelines for respectful conversations, creating access to opportunities, or revising policies, procedures, and practices that hinder progress or that may even be punitive in nature.
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