Many executives tell me they want to “do something about diversity and inclusion” in their companies, but don’t know where to begin. The steps are similar to those of any other major strategic initiative. But leaders tend to put off this work. Maybe their fear of doing the wrong thing keeps them from doing anything. Or maybe they think they can avoid the work altogether, just as they have always done. If you are a leader who has shied away from creating an inclusive workplace, it’s time to find your courage. Your workers can’t wait another minute to feel valued in your organization.
Getting Started with Diversity & Inclusion:
Lead at Any Level’s Blueprint for Belonging™
Step 1: Assess
How do you know which direction to go, if you don’t know where you are? Measuring diversity and inclusion may sound strange at first. Diversity is easy to measure with demographic data. Comparing community, employee, and leadership demographics is a good place to start.
But how do you measure inclusion? That depends on whether you want quantitative data, qualitative data, or both. First, you must realize that every organization’s culture is inclusive for someone. But no culture is inclusive for everyone. You need to know who feels included, who doesn’t, and why.
Step 2: Target
Executives may react to assessment results in a variety of ways: surprised, angry, defensive, or reassured. Whatever the results, now is a good time for executives to reconnect to their organization’s mission. Align the “why” of your business with the “why” of this initiative. In doing so, you’ll find the opportunities for improvement—and know how to communicate the changes to your employees.
Once you know where you stand and what you stand for, it’s time to set goals and identify priorities. Answer questions like these:
- What do diversity and inclusion mean for your company?
- How will you know if you’ve accomplished your goal? Or if you’re even on the right track?
Step 3: Plan
By this step, you know where you are and where you’re headed. Now you can create your plan to get there. Identify some quick wins and execute them right away. Your employees will see that you’re taking their feedback seriously. And you can’t stop there. Choose long-term strategies carefully, always keeping your “why” in mind. Be sure to include interim milestones so you can celebrate victories along the way!
Step 4: Do
In this step, you have to move your feet consistently and determinedly toward your goal. You’ll have a lot of options here for interventions. Be sure you’re focused on both systemic changes and personnel development. Expect to see improvements in morale, employee engagement, and employee retention. You can also expect resistance, frustration, and missteps. The growth is all part of the journey.
Need Some Help?
If you “want to do something about diversity and inclusion” in your organization, but you don’t know where to begin, Lead at Any Level® can help! Schedule your free consultation, where we’ll discuss what kind of culture you want to create, what you’ve tried so far, and what’s gotten in your way. You’ll leave this conversation with one practical step you can take toward your diversity and inclusion goals.