Every effective diversity and inclusion program should account for organisational context.
Unless we fully comprehend and appreciate this context, we cannot ensure that diversity and inclusion programs cover the most important aspects that must be addressed to promote equity and inclusivity.
When we come to terms with context, we will also see the vital links that support an organisation’s existence by allowing diversity partners to craft diversity and inclusion programs that are meaningful and effective to the organisation.
To see the context, however, we need to expand our field of vision before creating and committing to appropriate diversity and inclusion training programs. The best way to go about this is to ensure we have the right expertise to help us.
Gather information on the organisation
Collecting information is a critical part of understanding the context within an organisation.
Information gathered through quantitative and qualitative methods, along with feedback from competent advisors, helps us create an accurate profile covering the basics and unique challenges of an organisation.
To accomplish this level of intelligence gathering, we need to make sure that partners need to be detached and objective.
However, it is important to keep in mind the aim and purpose of this information gathering. The aim is to secure best in class-tested solutions that are suitable for us and support our potential for progress.
Understand the concept of “integration”
Diversity and inclusion programs need to be supported by all policies, procedures, and guidelines within the organisation.
Therefore, it is important to put integration under the spotlight and ask the following questions – Do all aspects of an organisation’s life work in harmony? Where is the disconnect?
To find the answers, all forms of communication must be scrutinised, including the language used and the information shared, to ensure they are properly connected to the organisation’s diversity and inclusion mission and strategy.
Context and integration are built up over time.
Be prepared to make changes
It is never a good idea to embark upon a journey ill-prepared for the terrain that must be covered.
Seasoned professionals who have experience in this uncharted territory provide insights and build understanding that allows us to choose the right approach for our organisation.
However, our diversity and inclusion consultants and partners cannot be held accountable for the program’s success.
If we see the organisational context, what shaped it and continues to shape it, we will better understand the stakes and the inherent challenges.
This understanding allows us to set goals and milestones that help us navigate the necessary journey responsibly and realistically.
Training should account for personnel of all ranks, ranging from leadership skills training courses to online diversity and inclusion eLearning, for new people.
In addition, we need to ensure that all programs are customised and speak directly to an organisation’s aspirational culture and required standards and values.
Prepare diversity and inclusion learning program that last
We need to build a fort, brick by brick, that withstands scrutiny. The main one is whether our diversity and inclusion programs have genuine intent associated with integrity.
When organisations treat all aspects of context and integration synergistically, with the thread of equality and justice running through them, people will begin to trust that progress is possible.
It will take time before diversity and inclusion programs fully impact an organisation’s concerted efforts. However, consistency is key – it breeds trust, respect and belief.
These are the hallmarks of any diversity and inclusion program that propels sustainable change.