It takes an entire team: Diversity, inclusion and belonging

This article kicks off a four-part series on diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs). Join us as we look at starting and building out your DIBs plan, plus accountability, and implementation and evaluation.

The modern workforce is multi-generational. It’s multicultural. It’s made up of people from a wide range of ethnicities, nationalities, gender identities, abilities…the list goes on. But the HR conventions of many companies haven’t evolved quite as quickly as their workforces have. 

This is especially true when it comes to diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs). Today’s company leaders realize that an in-depth understanding of their teams isn’t just a nice-to-have but a fundamental need. But they might not know all the steps they need to take to get there. 

And even if you’re ready to start working on a proper DIBs plan, you need to get buy-in from your key stakeholders, a.k.a. every single member of your team before you can put your ideas into action. 

From experience, I know all this work is much easier said than done. So, I’ve put together this four-part series that breaks down the process of building an effective DIBs plan into clear, actionable steps. 

Ready to get started? Great! Let’s begin with getting your whole team on board with you creating a DIBs plan. 

Start with leadership

Since you will need to get buy-in across the organization, you need to start with those who set your strategic priorities. Once you garner support from the leaders in your organization, it’ll be easier to get the rest of the organization on board. Your leadership team provides significant resources, influence and adds credibility to your work. Often, DIBs plans are treated as an initiative owned and managed solely by the HR team. This is a mistake. Though HR teams may recognize the gap and need for a DIBs plan in the first place, for your efforts to be successful your leaders are needed to help make your plan thrive.

Team buy-in

Now it’s time to discuss your plan with the rest of the organization. To prepare, make sure you can clearly communicate how each and every goal is meant to embrace diversity and address the concerns of all team members.

In other words, you need to help your team understand why DIBs will support their success, as well as that of the company. Once you understand each member’s challenges and concerns, and give them an open space to offer feedback, they’ll be more inclined to support your goals. 

How to approach your team?

It might seem counterintuitive, but you should focus more on listening to your team than on pitching them your idea. Ask open-ended questions and be empathetic to their responses. It can also be helpful to collect employees’ quotes, comments, stories, and personal experiences. Be sure to ask their permission to share these across the organization as you build out your communications.

By involving your team in thoughtful and engaging conversations, you will make them feel valued and included which you can then use to build positive momentum with the company at large.

It takes a village to bring a DIBs plan to fruition but making this work a part of every team’s goals and processes can be a powerful force in building an optimistic organizational culture.

Read more in this series: