In stages one, two, and three of the Learn, Plan, Act and Realise Model, you should have learned more about yourself as a business when it comes to equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB), identified the key areas you need to work on, created a plan to combat those problem areas, and started to carry out that plan to start seeing your culture gradually shift. Now it’s time to start realising the EDIB changes that you have implemented in your organisation with step four: ‘Realise’.
Step four is where, in essence, you celebrate the positive EDIB changes you have made as a business and gather feedback from your employees to confirm your journey and… start it all over again (to be explained)!
If you have been completing your EDIB pillars and delivering them against your strategy, you should now be realising and experiencing the cultural shifts happening in your organisation. This could be from how people talk about EDIB to how open they are to learning about other experiences and sharing their own. In time, you should see the cultural understanding across your workforce lift. This movement will allow your people to become more open, honest, and ultimately be themselves at work – which is what an inclusive culture is all about
The Realise stage is where you identify the improvements you have made as a company and share these successes with your people, whilst also taking note of any setbacks or adjustments that need to be made. These updates and/or adjustments need to be shared with your employees and it’s important to explain your reasons for any reprioritising of tasks, too. As you hold yourself accountable to results, you will gain confidence in becoming an ally and advocate who can bring others along. If employees feel they are valued, respected, included, and belong at an organisation, it creates a more positive culture which will support your business in achieving its goals.
This openness to learning is a critical part of the Learn, Plan, Act and Realise Model. More inclusive cultures can only be built when you understand and start realising that there will always be more people with new differences and areas of diversity that we have not yet learned about or experienced. We must keep learning and reinventing our own selves, our organisations, and cultures to push for inclusivity as societal culture continues to progress.
This is why the Learn, Plan, Act and Realise Model is a continuous improvement model. Once you have completed step four of realising your EDIB journey, your EDIB journey doesn’t end there – there is no ‘final state’ to aim for. Your company will continue to grow and change as we’ve mentioned above and so the model becomes loop. What’s great, is that once you have completed the cycle once, it becomes much easier the next time around because you know what to expect.
You should now know that to be successful in EDIB as a company, it’s not just about creating a strategy or ERPs to fill gaps that you know other organisations will have in place. It’s all about starting conversations with your people – sharing and learning about views on what is happening in the world right now, what role you want to play as an employer, and having clear buy-in from leadership – giving everyone permission to jump in the conversation.
If you’ve reached the Realise stage of your EDIB journey for the first time, we’d love to hear about the progress you’ve made and if the Learn, Plan, Act, and Realise cycle has helped you on your way. There are so many companies who haven’t yet begun their equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging journey – those who may have positive intent but do not know where to place that energy – so if you ever go through a difficult or more challenging patch, it’s important to remember this and the difference you are making to your employees’ working lives by progressing yours. Simply email: firstname.lastname@example.org to share and celebrate the improvements you’ve made with us.
Although not to be cloned – for each organisation is unique – one great tip we will leave you with for building a more inclusive culture is discovering other people’s journeys. If you would like to hear about the EDIB journey at IT security company Mimecast and how they’ve created a more inclusive culture and been recognised as an exceptional workplace, download our ‘Four steps to create a more inclusive culture’ eBook. The eBook covers all four steps of the journey in more detail, and you can hear from other leaders in the EDIB space, too.