Incorporating DEI into your Strategic Planning.

Incorporating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into your strategic planning is necessary for companies to remain competitive in today's business environment. Companies that focus on DEI efforts both internally and externally gain competitive advantages in revenue, innovation and talent acquisition.

Our goal in the Diversity Council is to provide readers with actionable steps in how to incorporate DEI into your business strategy. Our hope is that you will be able to have a global DEI vision based on your strategic intent, long-term and short-term objectives and priorities, an organization wide commitment to your overall DEI strategy and a governance mechanism to ensure proper implementation of your strategic vision.

The roles and responsibilities of implementing DEI into your companies' objectives do not lay with one specific department. In order to have buy in and a well-integrated plan, you must engage employees throughout the entire enterprise. Forming a team of employees from a range of departments and levels in the organization in order to spearhead this initiative will help set the governance structure as well as rollout your initiatives.

The following steps will guide your company in this process.

Before You Start

  • Develop an understanding of the demographic and cultural aspects of your operations.

  • Review any existing DEI materials your company has or had.

  • Collect any previous results from surveys on DEI, cultural surveys or other engagement studies.

Evaluate Your Current State

  • Gather quantifiable data to assess the current state of DEI at your organization.

  • Diversity representation of employees, directors, managers and executives.

  • Employee perceptions on DEI initiatives at the company.

  • Review HR and business strategies to determine if any natural alignment already exists with DEI priorities.

Determine Your DEI Objectives

  • Create a vision statement and DEI vision for your organization. Define the values and principles your strategy will incorporate.

  • Create an action plan with prioritization of initiatives to speed up outcomes and timelines.

  • Its key to engage business unit leaders in this process to help drive accountability and engagement to the new key initiatives.

  • Set up a DEI scorecard by identifying key metrics that align with your strategy and business objectives.

Governance of Your DEI Strategy

  • Set up a formal governance structure that meets on a regular cadence with accountable measurements.

  • Some organizations will use a RACI matrix to help guide their structure. A RACI matrix outlines who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. Team members or departments can play multiple roles in a RACI matrix.

Communicate and Monitor Your DEI Plan

  • Create concise materials that convey your DEI vision, how that vision impacts your organization and the business objectives you’ve set to align corporate strategy with DEI initiatives.

  • Track progress of short-term and long-term goals.

  • Benchmark your DEI strategy against industry peers.

  • Engage your employees through surveys, polls and townhall meetings.

Red Flags to Watch For

  • Misaligned business objectives and DEI strategic objectives.

  • Lack of organizational priorities. Without direction, any direction is good.

  • DEI initiatives cannot be implemented due to local constraints such as budget or management buy in.

  • Communication plans are not clear and concise. Messages are mixed and varied.

  • Ineffective governance structure lacks implementation and follow through on key strategic initiatives.

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