Several years ago I developed a six-session series to help internal staff develop their own customized diversity strategy. The series was titled, One Size Does NOT Fit all, because I couldn’t imagine any two companies having the exact same strategy.
What about your company? Are you using a “cookie cutter” diversity strategy hobbled together based on an article of the 10 things “every diversity program” should include? Are you spending most of your energy on EEO compliance instead of activities that support your organization’s primary business goals?
One of the first questions I ask when organizations invite me to come in to do training is, “Do you have a diversity strategy?” Here are some of the most common responses to that question:
- “Well, our diversity strategy isn’t written down, but we have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and everyone know it.”
- “We have a diversity strategy but it hasn’t been updated in 7-8 years.”
- “Yes, we update our Affirmative Action Plan every year, just like we’re supposed to.”
- “No, we don’t have a separate strategy because diversity is just part of our overall HR strategy.”
Some of the best answers I’ve received to the question include:
- “Of course, we have a diversity strategy and that’s why we are interested in you coming in to do training. We want the training to reinforce what we’ve been saying and help employees be ready for the next phase of our strategy.”
- Yes, we have a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion that we update every 2-3 years based on changes to our marketing strategy and business plan.”
- No we don’t have a separate diversity strategy but diversity business objectives are included in every element of our operational strategic plan.
One company we worked with recently needed to develop a strategy that involved and engaged people from many different departments throughout the organization. For their strategy they needed to focus heavily on how diversity affects team work and ways inclusion could help them serve their customers better. As a result, we introduced employee and customer surveys for real-time feedback and developed employee champions for diversity as key elements in their plan.
But a different client was in a rapid growth mode as a result of signing 3 really large manufacturing contracts. Their diversity strategy was heavily influenced by (a) their need to recruit a large number of blue collar and technical employees in a relatively short period of time and (b) the fact that the majority of their employees rarely had contact with their end user customer. They involved existing employees in recruitment events in communities they had previously ignored and created a small-group peer development system to develop a stronger sense of teamwork and inclusion throughout their organization.
Creating a diversity and inclusion strategy from scratch can be time consuming and challenging. Even updating a strategy that has been successful can be difficult. But we help organizations easily create or update their strategies using our Diversity Strategy Made Easy™ or Eight Essential Elements™ models. We provide coaching to your staff members responsible for the strategy and guide them through a process designed to ensure they consider all key aspect of an effective strategy.
Your strategy provides the guide for decisions made and actions taken throughout your organization. Be sure leaders throughout your organization understand what is expected of them and ways they can utilize diversity as a resource for achieving their goals. Use your diversity and inclusion strategy as a business tool to drive business results.
Let us help you do this. http://www.Diversity-Strategy.com