Assessing the current scenario of diversity and inclusion is a challenging task but without specific assessment and setting goals, organizations will only be confused without a direction on what needs to change. Diversity and inclusion goals for employees can mean several things. It can be related to demographic or gender representation or related to inclusivity index.
Whatever the goal may be, setting goals would require accurate and detailed assessment of the current scenario along with willingness to change value system, hiring strategies, processes and systems and HR policies. Willingness to change, in any case, is the first step in the process.
When setting diversity and inclusion goals, the following best practices must be considered:
- Create a psychologically safe workplace where employees can bring their true self
- Start with the leadership team – they need to be made aware and empathetic
- Alignment and buy-in from all employees in the process is essential which will ensure commitment. Get the organization involved in the diagnosis and goal setting process
- Focus on the entire journey of employee life cycle; just hiring employees from diverse group is not sufficient
- Create a sustainable plan as D&I is not a one-off event; it is an ongoing process
- Motivate employees at each step and create allies at every level
- Focus on creating well-rounded teams by leveraging on the strengths of the employees rather than trying to fit them into a role
- Don’t just limit the initiative to internal employees and processes, it should reflect on the products & services and brand as well
Having understood the best practices that underlies diversity and inclusion goals, here are the steps to create Diversity and Inclusion goals for employees.
- Define the intent – Why do you want to set Diversity and Inclusion goals? What is the gap? What impact is it having now? How will it impact later? These questions are critical to answer because intent makes the process a serious and committed affair
- Conduct accurate diagnostics – Understand where the organization is as of today in terms of D&I policies, processes, systems, culture and rituals. This process takes time but at the end it is worth it. Use interviews, surveys, observation and secondary data sources as tools to gather as much data as possible to get a clear perspective of the organization. Collaborate in the process and involve employees at all levels. Even the ones who are from minority and diverse groups.
- Craft your Diversity and Inclusion goals – Based on what is identified from the diagnostics, select 3-4 areas of improvement and set goals around that. Set goals beyond just setting hiring quotas. Look at Training and Development, Compensation and Benefits, increase representation and collaboration in decision making, consider the opportunities given etc. Additionally, goals must follow the SMART principle – be Specific, make it Measurable, ensure its Attainable and Relevant and give a Time limit to it.
- Set guidelines for reviews – When setting goals, also decide how and when will you measure milestones achieved and assess progress. Decide who will be part of the review team. Prior planning of review would result in effective roll-out and planned data collection of the progress.
Often due to the challenging aspect of setting diversity and inclusion goals, we often procrastinate and delay the process. Unplanned D&I related activities continue to take place. Conscious efforts must be made to work with the teams to set the goals so that initiatives are focused with greater outcome.