Do Something! Tips on where to start your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan
Updated: Nov 21, 2021
We find ourselves amidst a pivotal and revolutionary time in our country’s history. Many organizations are wondering what steps are necessary and to how best support the dialogue their employees desire.
Over the past four months, I had the opportunity to witness the behind the scenes work of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) instructor. Government agencies, not for profits, businesses, educational institutions, and even international agencies, were all reaching out for help. They all shared the common desire of needing/wanting to doing “something”. However, they all struggled with identifying what that “something” was, and how to create achievable goals around this work.
If you find yourself in this space, here are a couple of tips and ideas I picked up:
Before sharing a statement or implementing policy changes, take a deep look inward. It was not uncommon for the agencies we spoke with to have had strong public statements and mission statements. However, they often felt management did not align their actions to their words. Public statements ring hollow when organizations’ words don’t align with their actions. Think critically about the racial makeup of your organization and who is in leadership positions. Identify your own biases. Start by reflecting on your culture. Where did you grow up? Are you exposed to other cultures? When do you feel the most uncomfortable?
2. Be Courageous
One simple change you can commit to is speaking up for others when you see or hear something inappropriate. Question it. Seek to understand. Test your assumptions and learn. Have the courage to explore the impacts you have had on others. A frequent question asked, which do you control – intent or impact? You control both!
3. Make a commitment
Standing up for racial justice in the workplace goes beyond implementing a DEI plan. It requires an active, and ongoing commitment. Think about it as your favorite Netflix series. You do not watch a single episode, and say “okay I have had enough”, do you? No, you complete the series and hope for more. DEI should be considered a series or a process, and not a single episode. To do so, you need to work on normalizing the conversation. When people hear DEI, you do not want their first response to be “Uh, oh, what did someone do now?” Be proactive and stay ahead of the conversation. Commit to reviewing your hiring practices. Navigate how to engage your team. Set metrics, goals, and allocate a budget.
I mention budget because that helps establish a commitment to the work.
4. Be Accountable
This work is a marathon, not a sprint, so you must train accordingly. Recognize change is not going to happen overnight. For the majority of us, we have sustained the same culture and belief systems for much, if not all, of our lives. It took you time to learn how to write your name, and now you can do it without thinking or even seeing the document. This work takes time and repetition.
To get there, it requires time, commitment, and the reality you will likely goof up once or twice along the way. Learn to lean into your relationships, build allies and help hold each other accountable.
I will leave you with a quote by James Baldwin. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
For more information about creating your own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, or How to be an Anti-Racist, reach out to Taryn M Consulting.
We would also love to hear what you are doing to address this pivotal time in our history.
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