Thursday, September 21, 2023

Leading a DEI initiative? 15 recommendations for success

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Shreya Christina
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In recent years alone, the number of companies committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion a business priority has grown. The old ways of doing business are no longer enough to attract and retain both employees and customers today, which means that leaders now need to look closely at their current DEI processes within their company and either start new initiatives or make the necessary changes. implement.

While this reprioritisation is a great way to make room for others, organizations must ensure that any change that is made is carefully executed to create something sustainable. And if these initiatives are run by someone who isn’t used to this kind of work, there’s even more room for things to go wrong.

To help those new to leading DEI initiatives, members of Business Council share advice on how to successfully implement new business policies and processes.

1. Align new initiatives with core values

DEI is not just a policy or practice; it must be deeply embedded in the ethos of the organization. To make any initiative work for the first time, it is important to integrate and align DEI with its mission, culture and overall strategy. The first step is to define the ‘why’ along with the ‘how’. Also keep in mind that DEI goes way beyond just the hiring phase. Break down your plan into quarterly goals and key outcomes (OKRs). – George Alifragis, analytic

2. Be realistic about the process

I think anyone taking on a new DEI initiative should realize that these issues have been around for a long time. Once you have made a general diagnosis of the initiative, be realistic. Try to take small, noticeable and achievable steps. With DEI initiatives, you need to realize that the most important thing is the ability to listen to understand and an approach of kindness and gentleness. – Roxanne Derhodge, Roxanne Derhodge Consulting Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

3. Conduct a thorough analysis

Rely on data to understand the diversity status and makeup of your organization before making recommendations and decisions. Incorporate measurable diversity and inclusion elements into your performance plan to measure the results and impact of initiatives. – Marilisa Barbieric

4. Get support from senior leadership

An innate focus on DEI should be an existential must-have for any growing business. This level of focus must be championed by the senior leaders, especially the CEO. Getting that rallying cry from the CEO and senior leaders is the biggest need for a viable DEI mindset. – Karthik Ganesha, EmpiRx Health

5. Be as inclusive as possible

I would advise those leading DEI initiatives to try to be as inclusive as possible in their planning to ensure that everyone feels represented, whether they have a personal interest in the initiative or not. In addition, I would like to encourage those who lead DEI initiatives to be transparent about their plans and what they hope to achieve. – Matthew Ramirez, reformulate

6. Ask questions

When leading DEI initiatives, the one major pitfall to avoid is judging the experiences of others. Instead of saying things like, “I don’t see such incidents,” “Are you sure you’re not overreacting?” or “I’m sure it didn’t mean anything,” ask questions instead of offering advice. do you feel uncomfortable with that conversation?”, “What actions were offensive?” and “What does a solution look like for you?” – Sudha Chandrasekharan, Trelleborg

7. Be an active listener

Enter the initiative as an active listener. Listen more than you talk, and spend more time asking questions than preaching. This may mean shifting your calendar to the initiative’s calendar. – Rocky Romanella, 3SIXTY Management Services, LLC

8. Promote open communication

Open communication is critical, especially when it comes to the reasons for and goals of DEI for the organization. If the initiative is simply to announce that the organization has DEI, then that will be a real challenge. But if the organization is really invested in DEI, then open and honest communication will go a long way in making the task manageable. – Matthew Davis, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.

9. Offer flexible work options

Understand that everyone has different needs to succeed in any work environment. Enabling employees to work the way they feel most comfortable and promoting a healthy work-life balance can create a more equitable and inclusive workplace that meets everyone’s needs. – Keith Goldstein, Verify Me, Inc.

10. Make connections between colleagues

Improve lives when people connect through authentic moments. When you launch a DEI initiative, you help your team focus on creating opportunities for people to experience moments of authenticity with their peers. The mutual support and relationships that will emerge from these experiences will be inspiring. Then celebrate these moments throughout your organization. – Nick Runyon, PFL

11. Make use of personal stories

We ran a large two-year story-led DEI project in Japan where we collected stories to understand exactly what was going on. The story data gave us exactly where DEI broke and why it happened. Listen and find before repairing. Be obsessed with finding insightful stories. – Anjali Sharma, Narrative: The Business of Stories

12. Set realistic goals

If an organization has identified and accepted the need for DEI initiatives, that in itself is an important step. However, it does not guarantee that proposed initiatives will be implemented. Analyze organizational inclusiveness and set realistic goals for success. It is a slow and continuous process to make positive change and build DEI into the DNA of the organization. – Saravana Kumara,

13. Break down changes into manageable steps

Don’t try to revise your organization in one go. Break the process down into manageable steps. Start by assessing your current DEI practices and create achievable benchmarks and milestones to achieve. Start building a plan from there and, if your budget allows, engage experts to help you understand best practices and how to implement them for the first time. – John Swigart, Cake insurance

14. Be an example

Set an example for everyone else. The key to diversity is listening to others, being open-minded and having a willingness to share, which can yield great results. So mixing with other cultures with different experiences and values ​​can create a resounding perspective that can fuel the creativity and innovation of each team member. – Lane Kawaoka,

15. Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Diversity, equity and inclusion: what does this phrase actually mean? In the real world, DEI means listening to your audience and addressing their concerns now, not later. Think of your equality and inclusion initiative as a mission to be aware, remedy action-oriented items, and support different ideologies. In addition, your diversity initiative serves as your unspoken language of cultural perspective and awareness. – Daniel Merin, Daniel of Fifth Avenue

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