Smart move

In the wake of the Great Resignation, leaders must refocus on delivering diversity and inclusion.

Business has invested billions in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, yet the evidence of impact is sadly lacklustre. Consultant Heidi Andersen pins that on ineffective implementation at an organizational level – something she wants to change with Diversity Intelligence, which offers leaders a four-stage roadmap.

It starts with truly understanding why you want to change. Too often, leaders rely on platitudes, saying DEI is vital to the business without ever really explaining why. For fairness reasons? Profit? And to whom is it important? The next step is a gap analysis – key to any change initiative, but often skipped. Establish who feels included and who does not. “Instead of trying to fix everything,” writes Andersen, “this data allows you to understand what it is that actually needs to be fixed.”

Next, create a strategy for change. Andersen highlights 13 distinct initiatives with a positive impact on DEI. She warns that the easiest initiatives, such as unconscious bias training, have the least impact – but there is still some low-hanging fruit. Yearly data monitoring, synchronization of senior management and anchoring DEI strategy at the top of the organization are relatively simple but have a big impact. The fourth step is implementing the strategy. This is not a one-off: it has to be an ongoing process of planning, doing, checking, and acting.

Leaders increasingly recognize the scale of change that’s needed, but they need to take their organizations with them. After all, writes Andersen, “your business may not exist five years from now if this does not happen.” Fall short on DEI and it will be impossible to retain the talent you need. In the wake of the Great Resignation, leaders cannot afford to fail.

Adi Gaskell is an innovation consultant and a writer. Follow him on Twitter @AdiGaskell