How to Review and Reflect on Diversity and Inclusion to Impact Change
Embarking on an organizational wide effort to increase DEI, which means diversity, equity and inclusion, requires a dynamic approach. DEI in all its forms as an HR function, organizational values and culture, strategic direction, supply chain management, etc. differs from other organizational initiatives.
It is unique in that it carries the sensitive nature of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status that all impact on a personal and political level. For this reason, to ensure success of diversity and inclusion programs, it is critical to understand feelings and opinions that will impact attitudes, and ultimately engagement levels, in the workplace.
Starting a Diversity and Inclusion Program
To better understand existing perceptions, an essential step is taking the time to ask questions that will encourage individuals to reflect on the both their own personal current state, along with their organization’s current state, as it relates to diversity and inclusion.
“Perhaps the most powerful instrument we have in…navigate change is ourselves. Our ability to use ourselves potently relies in large part on the level of awareness we have about the impact we make, and our ability to make choices to direct and modify that impact.”
-- Triple-Impact Coaching, Use of Self.
Leadership and Diversity
A self-assessment at the leadership level may be warranted before deciding where to start, or next steps around diversity and inclusion program efforts. Leaders, and anyone who intends to influence others, must first assess where they sit with the issues surrounding diversity and equality. The process of self-reflection refers to an inventory of individual beliefs systems in connection with issues of race, gender, etc.
Reflection Questions for Leaders:
- How do I identify individually with issues of diversity and inclusion? How do I view others?
- How do I listen to others around topics involving issues of diversity?
- How do I define diversity?
Other relevant areas to explore with leadership prior to initiating change efforts or introducing new programs and initiatives are related to the views of the organization juxtaposed to current issues and the role of diversity and inclusion within the organization. It is important to assess wider belief systems within an organization. Questions to ask to assess the current climate towards D&I are below.
Reflection Questions for Management:
- What is the role of people leaders in D&I initiatives?
- What should inclusion look like?
- What competencies and skills do I have to contribute to diversity and equality efforts?
As part of a wider strategy reflecting on attitudes within a company or industry may help drive meaningful planning efforts and lasting change. Taking the time to focus on assessing the immediate culture in place, helps determine where to start or focus change efforts.
Reflection Questions for Organizations:
- How do we react to resistance?
- How does my organization respond to change?
- What are the immediate challenges?
In the long run, this planned and strategic approach can lay a foundation for lasting impact by enabling and organizations ability to make sound decision based on immediate needs and challenges.