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How Leaders Can Cultivate a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been a huge topic within organizations across the globe within the past year or two. Many organizations question how they can effectively discuss DEI and how they can implement effective DEI initiatives. Below are three ways you can take action to incorporate culture and leadership to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion:

Alter the conversation.

The inability to have meaningful conversations contributes significantly to the unproductive relationships that can sometimes develop across diverse divides. It’s vital to communicate clearly to work with those whose backgrounds and perspectives are vastly different or whose roles or leadership styles are at odds. People at every organizational level need to be able to have productive conversations. Below are steps to help plan for effective DEI conversations:

  • Set goals – setting goals will assist with organizing your time and resources to guide you in making the most of your DEI meetings

  • Write the questions – keep track of DEI-related questions that are brought to your attention from staff within your organization

  • Focus on the conversation – when discussing DEI with staff and leadership, focus on what the concerns are, and pay attention to what is being asked of the organization.

Connecting across boundaries.

Network analysis is a powerful tool to help people understand how they inadvertently create inequity or prevent the inclusion of diverse people and perspectives. Consider conducting a network analysis, beginning with data collection through a customized survey or other mechanisms such as email traffic, and then use those inputs to map patterns of relationships and interactions that are often hidden.

An organizational network analysis (ONA) is created to visualize and analyze the formal and informal relationships within an organization. Utilizing an ONA is a great way to visualize how communication flows through your organization, how information is gathered, and how decisions are made.

Improve coaching and mentoring.

Organizations can counter subtle bias by implementing a coaching culture and developing the coaching skills of employees. One way that this culture can be supported is by creating a network of champions to enable the development, contributions, and career growth of all employees:

  • Managers should ensure their direct reports are heard, give feedback, provide support, and offer opportunities.

  • Mentors should provide guidance, feedback, and support, whether around a specific need or ongoing development.

Talent Management & HR should communicate expectations around the above to help managers, mentors, and sponsors understand the critical role they play in making organizational DEI initiatives successful and provide access to DEI training, resources, and tools.

Discussing DEI can be challenging. It is important to approach it with an open mind, a willingness to learn and understand what is being asked of the organization. DEI is a topic that takes time. Leaders must be open to learning as well as educating. Utilize the tools you’ve learned about today to get the conversation started in your organization. Contact Kiwi Partners' HR Services if you need assistance with developing your organization's DEI initiatives.


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