The second stage of the Learn, Plan, Act and Realise Model is ‘Plan’. Now that you have learned about your organisation in Stage One and identified any gaps or weaknesses you have with equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDIB), it’s time to plan how you are going to make the necessary changes you need to progress on your EDIB journey.
You should know now how your employees perceive your organisation and now it’s time to really think of where you want to be and what your goals are. Ask yourself, ‘What does success look like for us as a company?’ With that, you must plan how to get there and how you aim to close any gaps that currently exist.
The planning stage for EDIB
It’s crucial to set out a clear strategy and overarching vision for equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging at your company. Having a straightforward statement that defines what kind of employer you want to be in regard to EDIB will help ensure that you and your employees all speak the same language. And it will drive your culture to the same place.
An EDIB strategy should be broken down into three clear elements:
- EDIB Vision (and supporting communication points)
Your vision should be unique to your company and should resonate with all employees due to its simplicity and purpose.
- EDIB Strategic pillars
These are three to five key topics which are linked to your wider business plan and should focus on overcoming the main EDIB challenges you face.
- EDIB Activity with clear, measurable objectives underneath each pillar
You can track the progress you are making as a company against the activity you have mapped out under each strategic pillar.
Your EDIB pillars shouldn’t draw away from your business goals and objectives, but instead be the powerful part that reinforces them. Start by looking at what your business is trying to achieve and aligning your EDIB activity to those goals.
It’s often quite clear what the symptoms are when it comes to a company struggling with EDIB, but your plan will need to address the route of the problem and why it exists in order to tackle them. It’s no good placing sticking plasters over bigger issues. To give you an example of this, let’s look at, say, ensuring there is representation at leadership level…
If your leadership team isn’t representative of the workforce, you could quickly promote or hire someone that fills that role – giving the unrepresented a leader like them to look up to – but that’s just a sticking plaster.
Instead, you need to get to the root or roots of the issue and ask, ‘Why haven’t we already got a representative leadership team?’, ‘Where are we hiring from?’, ‘Is everyone able to progress and be themselves at work?’, and ‘Are the same opportunities for development open to all?’ By addressing a problem at its root and working our why it’s happening, you can then address it through actions to improve those root causes to ensure a pipeline of talent succession for the future.
Of course, if you haven’t already, you will need some hygiene factors in place – the basic elements of EDIB practices begin with ensuring policies, handbooks, communities, forums, and communications channels are ready to support your wider EDIB activity.
By completing the learning phase, you’ll be clear on which gaps are most important for you to overcome within your organisation. Your employees will have shared which elements of their experience matter the most to make them feel more supported. Some examples include flexible working, celebrating cultural events, hiring and attracting key talent, more transparent promotion processes, and improved access to learning and development opportunities.
By asking your employees what matters to them, you’ll swiftly unearth activity that will shift the culture at your company to feeling, and therefore becoming, more inclusive. Take time to use these best practices, but always rely on your internal learning and employee feedback when it comes to what will work for your organisation before including it in your EDIB strategy.
Most importantly – communicate, communicate, communicate! An EDIB strategy should begin with top leadership working hand-in-hand with EDIB leaders within a company, and the messages should always include endorsement, support and, ideally, shared experiences from the top tiers of your organisation.
One thing to remember is that, whatever your EDIB challenges, there is always bountiful research or networks you can find to help you know where to start.
If you don’t want to wait for our next two articles featuring steps three and four of the Learn, Plan, Act and Realise Model, you can download our ‘Four steps to create a more inclusive culture’ eBook right away to access this information and much more.