The research is clear that DEI activities must be connected to organizational strategy to make a real impact—and vice versa. This article provides 4 practical tips for connecting DEI to your organization’s strategic plan.
1. Tie the DEI business case to organizational strategy
First, review the main priorities of your strategic plan. Consider how creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive policies and programs can support those goals. For example, if one of your priorities is to design an innovative new program to better serve your target audience’s needs, outline how a more diverse employee base can support this initiative (i.e., by providing new perspectives and different ideas).
SHRM suggests the following considerations are key to help form a DEI business case tied to your organization’s mission, vision, and business objectives:
Internal and external stakeholders whose needs and concerns inform the business case
Business objectives that the DEI case must directly support
Changes needed in the workforce, workplace, products, and services to help ensure the organization can meet these objectives
2. Integrate DEI stakeholders and the strategic planning team
Asking internal and external DEI stakeholders to support a strategic plan after it’s drafted is too late. Instead, as is always the case for optimal buy-in, involve stakeholders early and often.
Typically, a dedicated group of people within an organization owns DEI governance. While this group can be separate from the strategic planning team, there should be some overlap or consultation between the two.
Key DEI stakeholders include:
DEI committee members
Senior leadership, including the Executive Director, CEO, and Board
Individuals from the broader community whose needs drive DEI strategy
3. Communicate goals creatively
An equitable and inclusive organization creates communications that are similarly equitable and inclusive. Consider all of the people who need to understand how your DEI activities and business strategy are informing each other. Then, craft communications that best reach these audiences. Create objectives and timelines for each communication and assign roles and responsibilities for delivering these messages.
Examples of such communications include:
An Infographic visually illustrating DEI goals alongside organizational strategy, with a printed poster created for in-person sites and a digital version emailed to staff working remotely
Short videos from DEI committee members posted to the company website explaining how DEI initiatives are helping to accomplish organizational priorities
Stories shared by leadership at the next all-staff meeting describing the reasons for marrying DEI and strategy, and intended results
4. Measure progress and outcomes
Identify metrics to track the outcomes of DEI goals. For example, these metrics may show:
Targeted efforts to increase representation at multiple levels of the organization
Training, development, and promotion opportunities for underrepresented groups
Equitable and inclusive workplace culture practices
Then, depict how progress toward these goals also helps to accomplish the organization’s strategic priorities. Use the same reporting structure to track metrics and communicate DEI and strategy achievements simultaneously.
Next steps for DEI and strategy integration
Creating organizational culture, policies, and programs that support DEI does not happen in a vacuum. Brighter Strategies believes that integrating, people, processes, and planning allows organizations to perform at their best. We take a holistic look at a nonprofit to ensure sustainable development and change. Contact us today to learn more about connecting DEI to your strategy.
Inclusive Hiring Framework
Attracting, hiring, and retaining talent are critical elements of any Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan. But having a diverse pool of candidates to choose from doesn’t just happen. Paying attention to sourcing techniques, the interview process, candidate evaluation and onboarding is necessary to developing a well-rounded workforce.