Determine key needs

An effective D&I strategy is focused on people. A strategy that is representative of the culture it seeks to assist will see higher levels of adoption and engagement – these are the best indicators of success. Lou Gerstner and IBM’s diversity turnaround is an industry-leading example of an effective D&I strategy1 which focused on people (customers and employees, alike). To establish key needs, consider the following steps:

  1. Map communities in your company
  2. Determine community needs, and assign D&I Task Forces
  3. Open a channel of communication
  4. Define specific objectives and purpose (define common needs)
  5. Review and compare: How does the mission statement compare with community needs?
  6. Determine key objectives
  7. Output: Outline key objective and action-specific strategies

”At Series Q, we provide a space where people can meet, and express their views or concerns. An inclusive environment means fostering a safe space for discussions to happen.”

John Down

Founding member of Series Q (the UK’s first LGBTQ+ network) and COO/CFO The Dots

Map Communities in Your Company

It’s easy to group employees by department, seniority or job title, but a D&I strategy looks to expand a company’s cultural awareness and support underrepresented groups. With the approval of your co-founders or leadership team, consider traditional categories and think outside the box to identify a balance of diverse communities at the organisation. Here are four examples of workplace communities, and their potential needs which would benefit from D&I initiatives:

Community in Your Company

Example one

Community: Parents
Definition: Employees who balance work life with raising a family.
Examples of requirements: Parental Leave Policy, flexible work agendas, childcare support.

Example two

Community: HR Team
Definition: Employees who work together due to their shared profession in Human Resources
Examples of requirements: Tools to mitigate bias before and during recruitment.

Example three

Community: Physically Disabled Workers (PDW)
Definition: Employees who have physical, mobility or dexterity limitations.
Examples of requirements: Improved access to building facilities, flexible workplace arrangements.

Example four

Community: Underrepresented Employees
Definition: A group of minority individuals
Examples of requirements: Greater awareness of cultural differences, Equal Opportunity Policy

Define Diversity and Inclusion Task Forces to Help Define Community Needs

To determine community needs and requirements, set up Diversity and Inclusion Task Forces. How many task forces you establish depends on the size and variety of communities at your firm.

A task force’s responsibility is to determine the needs of their communities (by means of surveys and focus groups) and to share their findings with you and other task force leaders. Ultimately, the goal is to identify key concerns and the best method of implementing a strategy which appeals to the broadest set of employees.

  • Mid-size company (30-100 people): You probably only need one task force comprising one or more member from each community.
  • Large-size company (100+ people): You may choose to have one task force per community.
  1. Thomas, David A. Diversity As Strategy. Harvard Business Review, (September 2004), accessed on October 01, 2018.