Launching a Diversity and Inclusion Program

Creative team working on business project using glass board at office
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Here it is.  Your team got the green light to launch a diversity and inclusion program. Big things
are ahead. There’s a vision to be more diverse, more inclusive, resolve unconscious bias,
equality for all! It’s a big ocean, so where do you start?

Step 1: Gather Data

First things first… What does your data tell you about the current situation? What do the facts reveal? Do you even have data to analyze, or is it a gaping hole? Data is the very first tool in your toolbox to identify and craft your strategy when launching a diversity and inclusion
program. Look for workforce data including diversity lenses like gender, ethnicity, age, and
military status to ensure this data is self-identified data from employees themselves (versus
someone in the company making an educated guess that may not be accurate). Layer that
data over current workforce reports like recruitment, retention, promotion and engagement
reports to segment out the experience of communities within the company. If you have data
from the community or from the industry that you can use for comparison, this will provide a
viewpoint from your ecosystem as well. Data always tells a story, and this story will be the
foundation for your strategy when launching a diversity and inclusion program.

Step 2: Listen and Learn

Now that you have quantitative data, it’s time to gather qualitative data. Listen. Seek out small groups of employees, or individual conversations, and spend quality time listening to others. Hear their experiences, uncover areas of unconscious bias, and identify barriers that hinder diverse hiring and promotion. Ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand their perspective. Make sure to memorialize these perspectives and stories so you can revisit them later or share with others to illustrate what you have learned.

Step 3: Develop your strategy

Armed with data, your strategy can be developed by understanding your biggest themes based on data. What are the top 3 things that came through in looking at your workforce reports, and listening to employees? Don’t try to boil the ocean or you’ll never make progress and move the needle. Look into the future. In 3 years, what would you like to have accomplished? For your strategy, outline clear objectives and your strategic approach to accomplish those goals. Good thing you based everything on data, because you can use those same data points to track your progress.

Launching diversity and inclusion efforts to make meaningful change is important work.
Knowing the facts, and developing a strategy based on that data, provides the foundation you
need to drive results. You’ve got this!