Implementation and evaluation: Diversity, inclusion and belonging

This series discusses diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) in the workplace. Join us as we look at starting and building out your DIBs plan, plus accountability, as well as implementing and evaluating your plan.

Cheers! You’ve made it to the last part of this series on diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs): implementation and evaluation. (For earlier articles in this series, see “Read more in this series” below.)

Now that you understand what goals you’re looking to achieve, have the support of your organization and know who will be handling what, it’s time to break down your strategy into clear, actionable steps. 

This is not a simple undertaking. In fact, many businesses often underestimate the time and effort required to implement such a plan. Rather than working toward integrating DIBs into the organization’s strategy, companies often see it as just another “stand-alone project” for HR. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Embracing DIBs takes an entire team. And of course, when you’re managing a project that involves so many different stakeholders, you need to make the process as straightforward as possible. This means breaking up that big-picture plan into clear milestones for each member of your team. The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to implement. 

Here are four essential methods that have worked well for me.

1. Create a formal plan 

Before you get to work, you need to make a project timeline that will not only show you how all the pieces of your plan fit together but also ensure you and your team are on the same page. You can start by preparing a project brief that outlines the purpose, goals and vision of the overall project. Your brief should answer questions like: 

  • What are your goals for the project, both internally and externally?
  • Which internal and external stakeholders are part of the project? What are their roles?
  • What is the time frame for the project?

From there, you’ll need to list all the steps you require to complete your project, estimate how much time each step will take and map out the dependencies and sequence of steps. Some tasks can be worked on independently, but some may be based on the work of others, so you’ll need to factor this into your timeline. 

2. Keep the DIBs plan simple 

Your DIBs plan should be focused and easily understood. It doesn’t have to be a massive project that takes months to implement. If, after drafting your project timeline, you realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, think about how you can turn that big, hairy, audacious plan into a couple of smaller mini projects. 

For example, creating a series of small programs, such as an online training course or a luncheon that focuses solely on DIBs topics, can be much more effective than executing a plan that takes months to complete. 

3. Communicate your DIBs initiatives on a continual basis 

Building trust is a huge part of executing a successful DIBs initiative, and it starts with regular and continual communication. After all, if you want your internal and external stakeholders to support and amplify your DIBs efforts, then they need to know what you’re doing and how it affects them. 

Communicators should use a variety of channels to inform your team about new initiatives and milestones. For example, you could employ digital tools, such as internal email, your intranet, social media, and internal blogs, as well as more traditional methods, like posters, seminars and meetings. Who should communicate this message? Often, it’s your HR teams who will be responsible for consistent messaging and monitoring the success of this work. I also advocate for partnering with your company leaders to be at the forefront of this communications. This means not just providing leaders with talking points to cascade out to the team, but instead asking them to personalize their commitment to building an inclusive workplace.

4. Assess and adjust 

Measuring the success of a DIBs program can be both sensitive and tricky. What can we ask? What should we ask? How do we ask it? After all, you need to understand how your plan impacts organizational development, as well as the company’s bottom line.

There are many different metrics you can use as a barometer. For instance, you could look at employee satisfaction surveys and feedback, and employee retention, or simply keep track of how many DIBs events you’ve held or supported. It’s sometimes difficult to put these evaluation methods in place, so you could start with something easy, like counting the number of employee resource groups you’ve established over the course of a year.

Once you decide what you’ll be measuring, you also need to figure out how to maintain success or adjust your strategy if needed. To do this, make sure you’re having regular check-ins and debriefs with your team to investigate what’s working and what’s not, and what insights you’ve gained along the way. 

Having clear data collection practices for your DIBs program will not only allow for a better overall assessment but also ensure more buy-in as your plan continues to develop.

Read more in this series: