Through our comprehensive service offerings, we work with organizations to prepare the ground for change and ensure that it takes root.
Diversity in the workplace can take the form of several very different realities. Diversity can create everything from tension and anxiety, to misunderstanding, discomfort, and conflict. Inclusion, on the other hand, is heavily correlated with long-term business success.
A diverse workforce is a kaleidoscope of ideas and perspectives; employees are more innovative, creative, and adept at solving problems. The difference is not in how much or what type of diversity an organization has, but rather in how it is managed. The same people, the same managers, and the same organizations can achieve tangible results by managing diversity effectively.
Strategic diversity management is essential in the 21st century’s complex, rapidly shifting, and globalized business landscape. We are committed to helping organizations develop and implement sound strategy that will allow them to value and leverage the differences, and similarities, of a diverse workforce. Our focus is not on attaining greater diversity: it is on achieving world class results with the diversity that you already have and getting 100% effort from 100% of people 100% of the time.
The key to unlocking the potential of employees and realizing the “100% Rule” is in managing both diversity and performance. Managers are of critical importance: they form the on-the-ground relationships that elicit peak performance. In turn, employees are the best teachers, helping managers adapt and manage with integrity and fairness. Leaders are champions and sponsors, ensuring change is implemented and sustained. With a framework in place, each has an invaluable role to fulfill in diversity management.
It is our mission to help build and implement that strategic framework so clients can move towards diversity maturity. Approaching diversity management as a key business strategy enables organizations to reap the benefits of diverse thought that comes from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
How To Get It Done
Implementing a diversity management strategy should be approached with the same level of commitment and resources as any other organizational strategy. There must be a systematic, disciplined, and well-managed process of assuring that the objectives of the strategy are realized. You can start by facing these facts:
- Once you see the advantage of diversity management as a strategy, you have to execute. We offer a diligent, disciplined, directed approach to implementing your diversity management strategy.
- Installing a diversity management capability is a change process. Our process will help you establish the foundation for effective change.
The Implementation ProcessHere is our process at a glance, with more detailed information following:
- Pre-work: What are we trying to accomplish?
- Phase 1: Where are we now?
- Phase 2: Where are we going?
- Phase 3: How do we get there?
- Phase 4: How are we doing?
Pre-WorkWithout support from leaders, change initiatives fail. That simple premise is the basis of our pre-work. We work with executives to:
- Ensure they have a full understanding of what a diversity strategy is and how it will benefit the organization.
- Formulate a vision. Executives paint a clear picture of the target of the initiative.
- Confirm commitment.Executives need to be willing to educate themselves and take the steps necessary to realize the vision.
Phase 1: Assessment
We have an initial vision of where we want to go; but where are we now? To determine capability and capacity, we conduct:
- Culture Assessment. What elements inherent in the culture will help or hinder our efforts to create and implement a diversity strategy? If necessary, leaders will work to adjust culture to facilitate the change.
- Diversity Research. This invaluable data focuses on the experiences of people within the organization based on various dimensions of diversity and helps clarify and guide the change initiative.
- Benchmarking. The goal is to learn what has been successful under different circumstances and carefully apply that knowledge to the present needs of the organization.
- Opportunity analysis. If diversity management is implemented effectively, what benefits and potential gain can organizations realize? The analysis is a method by which clients can determine if there is a sufficient return on their investment.
Phase 2: Visioning
During this phase, we clarify the vision through:
- Strategic Focus Sessions. Rather than taking a tactical or “just do something” approach, leaders work to develop a strategic approach and tie the diversity initiative to all other strategic initiatives.
- Culture Synthesis and Action Planning. With a clear destination and assessment of culture, we can establish the specific steps necessary for successful implementation of the diversity strategy.
- Diversity Action Council. Made up of influential, capable, credible people from all levels of the organization, the diversity council is the engine driving the initiative. This team is committed to ensuring that diversity management becomes “business as usual” in the organization.
- Implementation Plan. This plan includes all the proposed activities, including schedules, responsibilities, contingencies, budgets, and guidelines, that are necessary for implementing the diversity strategy.
Phase 3: Learning
Continual learning is critical to the success of the change initiative. The Diversity Coach supports this with:
- Learning activities. These activities help build a common understanding of and language for diversity. The goal is to educate all associates of the organization in the skills and mindset required for effective diversity management.
- Communication plan. Diversity management is not a special project, nor an exclusive one. It needs to be owned by all associates and stakeholders. The communication plan keeps everyone apprised of the thinking, purpose, activities, and results of the process at all phases.
- Engagement activities. Change will not succeed unless there is ownership and involvement at all levels. These activities provide the opportunity to learn and participate in the change.
- Best practices emulation. Recognizing effective efforts and work during the process is critical. Not only does it further the objectives of the initiative, honoring the contributions of those who have been successful reinforces positive behaviors.
Phase 4: Metrics
Continually monitoring progress is essential to ensure that diversity strategy initiatives grow into sustainable components of corporate culture.
- Monitor and measure results. It is important to establish measurable goals and outcomes at the onset of the process and revisit these as the process takes hold. What results have we achieved, and do we need to make adjustments?
- Project evaluation. This evaluation reviews the implementation process and determines how projected outcomes match up to actual results.
- Mini-survey. These surveys periodically take the pulse of the organization and assess how perceptions are changing as the implementation process becomes established.
The diversity strategy, like any other key business strategy, is never “done.” The goal is to continually revisit goals, measure results, and make improvements that will create a culture of inclusion and push organizations to raise their expectations of what they can achieve – and then meet them.