Updated: Jun 14, 2022
There is a shift in how we work together as a society. Small to large businesses and nonprofits, local governments, and other social and civic organizations are hearing the call to action and are working on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in their organizations. Organizations attempt to find the right mix of activities and change to address systemic racism by training and deep-diving into organizational culture and developing a diversity statement.
Diversity consultants are growing in number, and there still doesn't seem to be one reliable way to help businesses evolve. Perhaps the most crucial step of all is taking the first step - recognizing you need help and making the commitment to do it.
Even if you aren't quite ready to hire a consultant (a worthy investment), there are some things you can do to get started.
Recognize and accept that addressing DEI is more than a yearly awareness training - Providing token training, especially if all personnel are not involved and invested, can foster feelings of "checking off the list" actions.
Recognize and accept that addressing DEI is an emotional and challenging topic for many of, if not all, of your staff. - Regardless of the racial makeup of your organization, these conversations are difficult and necessary. Creating a safe space to have an open conversation is essential.
Review and update your policies and procedures. Are your documents inclusive? Change to gender-neutral pronouns. Update your ethics policies, harassment policies, and whistleblower policies.
Consider ongoing programs for staff. Many organizations start book clubs, ERGs, and newsletters to keep these topics fresh and staff engaged in dialogue.
Review your hiring and retention practices. Review where you post positions, the education requirements, skills requirements, and years of experience. Are they equitable and consider the varying experiences of the greater community?
Examine how the organization can be more outwardly involved in the community to support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Review the organization's contracts. Develop and include a diversity clause in your contracts to support diverse suppliers, ensure representation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses that serve as your vendors, and create standards of positive impact and good labor practices.
Most importantly, make a plan and put it into action. Hiring a consultant will provide the guidance you may need to work through these ideas. As the organization grows and evolves, there will be mistakes, hurt feelings, celebrations, and positive changes. Embrace these, and you will see a positive impact throughout your organization.
A Brief List of Resources:
Racial Equity Tools - a great site with free and paid resources
LibGuide for AntiRacism in Business - a vetted list of sites, articles, books, and more from the McQuade Library at Merrimack College.
What an Anti-Racist Business Strategy Looks Like by Laysha Ward - Harvard Business Review
Tools to Create Anti-Racist Workplaces - Penguin Random House provides discussion guides and book lists for organizations working toward continuing conversations.
Anti-Racism Resources - from the UNC University Office for Diversity and Inclusion. This list includes articles and books and recommends podcasts, tv shows, and organizations to follow.
Are you still looking for help? Schedule a time with Madrina Consulting to discuss how we can assist your organization in being more equitable and inclusive.