If you want to launch a successful Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) program within your organization, you’ll need to do more than create a PowerPoint presentation or webinar series. You will need to generate strong backing from different areas—leadership, HR, and your fellow employees. In this post, we’ll suggest three areas of support that you can focus on amplifying the impact of your DEIA initiatives and programs.

Solidify and amplify leadership support

As we previously mentioned in our post “Developing an Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Program”, your newly implemented Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) program has little chance of getting off the ground if there’s no buy-in from the boss. Make sure the key leaders in your organization are on board and fully supportive of the initiative. They need to communicate that Diversity and Inclusion is valued in the workplace. They’re not just paying lip service or using it as a “check the box” exercise. When employees see that those at the top are fully committed to D&I, they will start to realize that positive change is possible. The right tone and messaging from leadership really sets the foundation for developing, improving and supporting DEIA across organizations.

If you’re a leader, here are a few ways you can show your commitment to fostering D&I within your organization:

  • Develop and execute a DEIA Strategy. This will send the message that the organization is being transparent in its efforts to focus on and improve DEIA.
  • Have honest and genuine conversations with your employees. Detail areas in which the organization is falling short and set goals for improvement. Emphasize your commitment to meet those goals.
  • Set and model clear expectations for inclusive behaviors. Establish and publicize a no tolerance policy outlining behaviors that will not be accepted and the consequences for individuals exhibiting non-inclusive behaviors.
  • Consider linking DEIA support to performance assessments. This will drive home the point that DEIA is everyone’s responsibility.

Establish a DEIA Committee or Council

Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Even the most passionate advocate of Diversity and Inclusion will need a hand getting a truly impactful program off the ground. By establishing a DEIA Council or Committee, you will generate the help you need to execute initiatives, programs, and strategies. A mission-oriented Council can be the driving force needed to keep the organization focused on achieving its stated goals. To successfully serve the workplace, council members should:

  • Engage with the workforce. What are their needs? Then communicate those needs to the leadership.
  • Contribute to developing the DEIA strategy and support the implementation of initiatives.
  • Take part in all workforce awareness and training activities to develop a universal understanding of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Monitor and report the current situation and any improvements that are being made.

A cohesive, collaborative DEIA council should include the following:

  • Representation from across the workforce. Five to 10 members (depending on the size of your organization) that represent employees from across the workforce.
  • An Executive Champion that has authority to make decisions and has HR support
  • Volunteer members, also known as “DEIA Change Agents” or “Champions”
  • A charter that guides the role and purpose of the Council outlines its support of DEIA, and details its reporting relationship to organizational leadership.

Identify your DEIA Champions

DEIA Champions are people who actively support implementing the tenets of Diversity and Inclusion into the workplace. They are important allies who will be instrumental in setting expectations and modeling what a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization should look like. How do you identify them? Look for people who have:

  • Participated in past workplace initiatives
  • Shown support for employee resource groups
  • Expressed interest in learning more about DEIA
  • Eager to share knowledge about DEIA
  • Focus on inclusion and putting others first
  • Listen to others with an attitude of understanding, not judgment

It will take time to identify and recruit the right people to your cause, but once you get passionate stakeholders organized and in your corner, the vital support they will provide will be a catalyst to generate long-lasting DEIA changes within your organization.

If you need assistance in creating a more diverse workforce and inclusive environment, visit www.cidisconsulting.com and click on Resources for a host of articles and videos on a variety of D&I topics. We also offer expertise in People Management, Data Analytics and Research, Strategic Planning, and Leadership Coaching. To learn more, contact us at info@cidisconsulting.com.

About CIDIS: CIDIS is an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business that focuses on working in collaboration with clients to create high-performing diverse and inclusive organizations through the transformation of their business operations, organizational culture, and human capital management practices.