Gauging Your Current Landscape: Start By Listening

In the journey to foster an inclusive work environment, the starting point is often the most crucial. Before we lay down the road ahead, we must first understand where we stand. Just as a doctor needs a thorough diagnosis before suggesting a treatment, a company must gauge its current Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) landscape. However, in this business diagnosis, we’re not merely looking at numbers. We’re digging deep into the feelings and sentiments of our people.

Internal Surveys: Your Magnifying Glass

Surveys act as a magnifying glass, providing a close-up view of your organisation’s pulse on EDI. Think of them as tools that help you inspect the less-visible aspects of your company’s health.

But crafting a good survey is an art. It should cover a wide array of topics to encapsulate every facet of EDI. Ask questions about workplace comfort – is the environment conducive for everyone, irrespective of their background? Dive into representation – do employees feel that they see themselves in the company’s leadership and decision-making roles? And don’t shy away from the tough questions about experiences related to bias, discrimination, or micro-aggressions. The clearer and more comprehensive your survey, the more accurate your understanding will be.

The essence of clear objectives lies in their specifics. Generic aims like ‘we need more diversity in leadership’ might reflect good intentions but lack the precision necessary for implementation. Instead, dive deeper into understanding where the gaps are.

For instance, if a company’s leadership predominantly comprises of one gender, then a goal could be: ‘Increase the number of women in leadership roles by 20% in the next two years’. Such a clear target not only provides a benchmark for recruitment efforts but also allows for measurable progress.

Similarly, if a programming team displays limited ethnic diversity, objectives could be tied to recruiting from more diverse talent pools, partnering with diverse games organisations, or setting up internship opportunities for under-represented communities.

Feedback Mechanisms

While surveys are structured, feedback mechanisms allow for open, candid, and sometimes, unanticipated insights. The key is to provide multiple avenues, ensuring every individual feels safe and comfortable in expressing their feelings.

Anonymous suggestion boxes can be a goldmine of honest opinions, given the confidentiality they promise. Online forms tailored to gather feedback can cast a wider net, allowing even remote employees to voice their concerns. One-on-one feedback sessions, meanwhile, can foster a personal touch, building trust and emphasising that the organisation genuinely cares.

Analysis: From Gathering to Gleaning Insights

Gathering data is only the first half of the equation. The real value lies in meticulously analysing this data to glean actionable insights. When you sift through the feedback, patterns begin to emerge.

Are certain departments feeling more sidelined than others? If yes, it could indicate a deeper-rooted issue within that department’s culture or leadership. Are there common threads of concern weaving through the feedback across different teams? Such recurring issues might point to an organisational-wide gap that needs addressing.

The analysis phase can be a humbling experience, as it may unveil harsh realities. But it’s essential to approach this phase with an open heart and an eagerness to learn and grow. It is these insights that lay the groundwork for a robust EDI strategy.

Starting an EDI programme isn’t about instant solutions but about laying a strong foundation. By first listening and understanding, organisations can ensure that their ensuing actions are not just performative but deeply rooted in addressing the real concerns and needs of their employees.

Remember, at the heart of any successful EDI initiative lies genuine empathy and the willingness to evolve. So, as you embark on this transformative journey, let your first step be that of a patient listener, tuned in to the diverse voices that make your organisation unique.

Get started in your organisation

Fiona Housiaux

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