February 3, 2022

DEI initiatives and programs, and how to generate collective action

There are many different types of DEI initiatives and programs, but they all have the same goal: to generate collective action. This can be done in a variety of ways, but it is always important to make sure that everyone affected by the issue has a voice. It is also important to ensure that the initiative or program is culturally relevant and sensitive to the needs of the community.

One way to generate collective action is to form coalitions. Coalitions are groups of people who come together to advocate for a common cause. They can be formed at the local, state, or national level, and can include individuals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Coalitions can be a powerful tool for advocacy and can help to build support for increased diversity.

However, formation of coalitions is not limited to just those supporting a particular cause. In fact, formation of coalitions is a practice that is often used during the course of developing a DEI initiative or program. When forming a coalition, participants should consider potential partners in addition to issues that they may disagree on. Focus should be on ensuring that the policy issues and goals of the partnership are aligned, and that each member is committed to the ongoing success of the team.

There are also other types of DEI initiatives and programs that do not require a coalition or committee. One might be an employee resource group (ERG) focused on neurodiversity and another might focus on gender or ethnicity.

Development, education, and engagement efforts are critical components of organizational diversity and inclusion initiatives. They aim to create an environment where employees from all backgrounds feel welcomed and valued, and can contribute to their fullest potential. However, many organizations find it difficult to generate collective action around DEI initiatives.

There are a few key things that can help encourage collective action around DEI initiatives. First, it is important to ensure that everyone involved understands the importance of the initiative and why it is necessary. Leaders must also provide clear direction and support to help employees feel empowered to take action. Second, it is helpful to create a sense of community among employees who are working on the initiative, so they can feel connected to one another. Finally, leaders should set expectations for employees, so there is no confusion about what is expected of them individually.

Generating support for a diverse work environment

All organizations want to be seen as ethical and have norms that reflect this. However, many are creating a more complex social environment in which staff must navigate a wide range of cultures and policies.

Companies must ensure that employees have the opportunities to work together in fulfilling their common purpose.

To survive in a global marketplace, companies must be willing to employ practices that are outside the ordinary. Many companies are experimenting with new training models, salaries, and structure themselves into talent clubs. With these new strategies, companies are creating non-traditional working environments and opportunities for learning and growth that challenge the ideas of what it means to be a employee.

Diverse staff have different experiences, and those differences are valued by companies. The most effective way to buy into a diverse workplace is to capitalize on these differences. 

Here are four of the top questions we see in the DE&I and collective action space to inform HR leaders below.

What is the goal of a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or program? 

The goal of a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or program is to achieve a more equitable and inclusive society by addressing the disparities that exist in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, and other dimensions of diversity. 

How can you generate collective action around diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

There are a few ways that you can generate collective action around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some methods are more effective than others, and the most effective methods often vary depending on the context or situation.

One way to generate collective action is to build alliances and coalitions. This can involve working with other organizations that share your values and goals, or it can involve working with different parts of the community to unite them around a common cause. Building alliances and coalitions can be an effective way to increase your reach and to build support for your cause.

Another way to generate collective action is to use social media to spread your message. Social media can be a powerful tool for raising awareness and for building a community of supporters.  

What are some key steps for implementing a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or program? 

There is no one answer to this question as the steps necessary for implementing a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or program will vary based on the specific organization, community, or population being served. However, some key steps that could be involved in such an effort include the following:

  • Establishing a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee or task force to develop and oversee the initiative or program.
  • Identifying and assessing the needs of the organization, community, or population being served with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Developing and implementing policies and procedures that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Educating staff, volunteers, and constituents about diversity, equity and inclusion. 

How can you measure the success of a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or program?

There is not a single, silver bullet answer to this question. However, some possible ways to measure the success of a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or program include:

  • assessing whether the initiative or program has successfully increased the diversity of the workforce 
  • tracking whether the initiative or program has resulted in more equitable access to opportunity or resources for underrepresented groups
  • measuring employee or student satisfaction with the initiative or program
  • assessing whether the initiative or program has led to a decrease in discriminatory or harassing behavior of specific groups of people

Interested in learning more? There are a ton of resources including webinars and articles on diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging under our Employee Experience category.

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