Building an Effective DE&I Strategy: Key Steps and Recommendations from Wheels’s DE&I Leaders
By Oliver Lindrup June 22, 2023
In today’s increasingly diverse and interconnected world, implementing a robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy is crucial for organizations seeking to foster a more inclusive work environment and promote a culture of sustainability. At the recent NAFA 2023 I&E, Wheels’s Maria Neve, Karen Henry, and Sue Germaine CBA presented a comprehensive and actionable roadmap for organizations looking to kickstart their DE&I journey.
Here are the key steps they outlined:
Conduct a Current State Assessment: To begin, evaluate your organization’s existing DE&I landscape using the myriad tools and resources available. Both free and paid options exist to suit varying levels of internal resources and expertise. An in-depth assessment will shed light on the areas requiring improvement and help define your organization’s DE&I strategy.
Determine the Purpose of DEI: Once the assessment is complete, align the feedback from employees and leadership with your organization’s broader strategy to define the purpose of DE&I. At this stage, it’s essential to establish a clear vision and mission to guide your efforts.
Determine the Governance Model & Select DEI Initiatives: With the mission, vision, and purpose in place, carefully choose the initiatives that will support your DE&I goals and develop a governance model for your team. Ensure that the CEO, President, and other C-suite members are involved in this process, lending credibility, and emphasizing the importance of DE&I across the organization. While securing leadership buy-in may be challenging, it is vital for the DE&I committee chair to persistently push for greater visibility and focus.
Plan to Launch the DEI Strategy: After completing the previous steps, you are ready to unveil your DE&I strategy to the organization. To ensure a successful launch, develop a comprehensive communication, awareness, and training plan that encompasses the meaning, importance, and implementation of your DE&I initiatives. In their first year of implementation, Wheel focused on raising awareness among frontline employees and leaders through training programs and celebratory events.
By following these steps, you will have:
Created a DE&I strategy project team.
Gathered organizational data to uncover DE&I gaps and challenges.
Conducted focus groups to uncover the employee experience.
Reviewed the organization’s broader strategic goals and priorities.
Completed the DE&I Assessment.
Gathered external data to understand the broader DE&I landscape.
Embarking on a DE&I journey is an ongoing process rather than a one-time exercise. By implementing these recommendations from Wheel’s DEI leaders, your organization will be well on its way to fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplace that benefits employees, stakeholders, and society as a whole.