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16 Steps To Incorporate Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Into Daily Operations

Submitted by on August 25, 2020 – 2:31 pmNo Comment | 1,635 views

DC_News_Heading_BelongingFor a company to reach its full potential, it needs to have as many different voices in the room as possible. Diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives (DEI) are an important part of achieving this goal, but it can be difficult to know where to start and how to get it done right. This can be especially tricky for nonprofit organizations with limited resources.

To help, we asked the members of Forbes Nonprofit Council what steps nonprofit leaders can take to cultivate diversity, equity and inclusion into the daily operations of their organizations. Their best answers are below.

1. Practice What You Preach

Make sure that your talk matches your walk. Get into the weeds and review not just your company policies for equitable treatment, but view your daily operational practices with a racial equity lens. Showing diversity on company web pages and in advertisements is one thing, but demonstrating diversity, equity and inclusion through what you do every day speaks volumes. – Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.

2. Audit Your Organization And Its Leadership

To accelerate DEI, conduct an audit, scrutinizing yourself and the organization’s leadership. How have staff and board volunteers advanced? How accountable is leadership for DEI initiatives? Beyond just checking boxes on age, ethnicity and gender, create recruitment and retention strategies that promote impartiality, fairness and justice. Enrich your organization with a wide range of traits. – Thomas Bognanno, Community Health Charities

3. Target Specific Outcomes

Nonprofit leaders must target real, specific and tangible outcomes in order to see real progress in their organization’s DEI initiatives. It’s helpful to initially gain staff perspectives of what “success” looks like, and then unapologetically put focus and leverage where necessary to bring those outcomes to life. – Arthur Mills IV, New Teacher Center

4. Focus On The Three P’s

Focus on the three P’s: people, purchasing and philanthropy. Hiring diverse staff and asking key partners about their hiring track record will help diverse candidates get and retain jobs. Focusing your purchasing on companies led by diverse owners will ensure that local businesses grow and thrive. Focusing philanthropy on helping communities in need will provide support to those most in need. – Peter Taylor, ECMC Foundation

5. Encourage Team Members To Share Experiences

Encourage honest sharing of microaggressions that happen everyday of which most people are unaware. Provide regular reminders that language is important. Regularly review recognition of employee values that address diversity and inclusion. – Cari Cho, Cornerstone Montgomery

6. Ask Your Staff For Feedback

Nonprofit leaders should solicit suggestions directly from their staff. Employees typically talk amongst themselves about the things they wish leadership would do to make the organization more equitable and inclusive, but often feel intimidated about offering their insights. Proactively soliciting employees’ feedback will go a long way toward modeling inclusion while also improving operations. – Yolanda Watson Spiva, Complete College America, Inc.

7. Make Space For Employee Voices

Make space for the voices of employees. Start by acknowledging that your company needs to do better and that it will likely involve a great deal of unlearning. Then, invite members of your team to share their own stories and make time for everyone to listen. Once employees realize how some of their coworkers have been personally impacted, they will begin to understand the systemic nature of racism. – Tammy McLeod, Flinn Foundation

8. Check Your Blind Spots

Before you act, check your unconscious biases and blind spots. We all have them and are very unaware. Consider culture beyond the often quick definition of geography, race or gender. There are many other facets of diversity. Be curious and always listen for innovation and creativity. As a leader, model that curiosity. And finally, act! – Magdalena Nowicka Mook, ICF (International Coach Federation)

9. Engage Leaders Across The Organization

An important step to take would be to engage leaders. Across the organization, leaders should create a collective DEI strategy that will be used organization-wide. – Charles A. Archer, One Hope United

10. Be Consistent In Your Efforts

Consistency creates credibility all the time, not just when topics are in the headlines. Make communication of pathways to engagement and opportunity a consistent part of public, stakeholder and sponsor communication. Have committees and volunteers who can engage this topic and provide critical feedback. The largest room in the world is room for improvement. – Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation

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Source: Forbes, Nonprofit Forbes Council – Experts Panelt


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