The Romans used the word “Strategia” to refer to “a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty.” The contemporary English thought leader in innovation strategy, leadership and culture, Max McKeown, says “strategy is about shaping the future.” When you think in these terms, it becomes clear that  to succeed in building a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, you need to start with developing a DEI strategy.

DEI Strategy defined.

Your DEI Strategy shapes your future workplace to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive by creating organizational alignment towards a few key objectives over a certain period of time. It should be broad enough to serve as a guide for the whole team, and yet specific enough to drive key actions and decisions.

The eight key characteristics of a good DEI Strategy.   

An effective DEI strategy often has the following key characteristics:

  • Is sponsored by top leadership 
  • Flows from the organizational strategy 
  • Is based on an assessment of DEI gaps and opportunities
  • Considers voices of all key stakeholders, including leadership, employees, customers, suppliers, partners
  • Drives key DEI initiatives and actions across the organization
  • Takes external factors, potential drivers and barriers into consideration
  • Applies to a specific defined period of time
  • Is adequately resourced and supported with implementation tools

Implementing the DEI Strategy.

Once a good DEI Strategy is developed, the task remains to implement it effectively. According to the OurOffice Inc.’s survey of small and medium organizations, over 60% of them have a documented DEI strategy, but only about 50% have an allocated DEI budget for DEI, and even fewer (less than 40%) currently task and measure progress of executives and managers towards the goals in their DEI Plan. It’s important to include implementation approaches and resource needs in the planning process. In early 2022, a study published by Traliant and World Business Research showed that 79% of organizations across various industries were planning to increase their budget for DEI efforts. This is a good indication that there may be improvement in effective implementation of the DEI Strategy across these organizations. 

Check Out: Ultimate Guide to DEI