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5 Tips to become an Effective DEI Leader

Imagine you received an offer to be the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at a Fortune 500 company.

You've built an amazing online presence, have a track record of people management and you want to create within the first couple of days an impactful first step towards driving a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.

Here are the five tips to become an effective diversity, equity and inclusion leader.

1. Line on Diversity and Inclusion Values

A diversity and inclusion strategy has to have high leadership buy-in. Within your first 30 days, ensure that leadership understands the scope of the problem, can implement tools to measure data, and ensure that the entire leadership team can train supervisors so that those supervisors feel comfortable sharing this information. This is a low hanging fruit that will allow you within the 30 days to hit the ground running.

First, set up a meeting with all stakeholders and leadership within the company. Take the time to address them, learn them by first name basis, and establish a decorum so that they know when diversity, equity, and inclusion is being enacted; you are the person that's leading the charge.

This process involves assessing the company culture. Looking at past turnover, Glassdoor ratings, bringing in outside consultants, and using DEI tools like MindStand will help you create a perfect snapshot of where the company is which will help you create a roadmap towards where your company needs to go.

It's key to create impact within the first 30 days. Creating opportunities for key stakeholders, leaders, and trainers to be in a room to talk through where your company is growing. What are some pin points? What are some opportunities growth? How can you implement training so that within the first 30 days you have a definitive roadmap for how you can grow within this DEI space.

2.  Ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in your DEI journey

Often companies are looking for leaders to take the responsibility in this DEI journey. Now that it is your responsibility, ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in this mission.

Taking the steps towards writing out a roadmap, understanding where the company can get better, and including all stakeholders. They often say there's no such thing as great companies, only great managers. It is key to pinpoint the managers and supervisors so that they can better implement DEI strategies. Never underestimate the power of having great managers.

When having leadership in the room, ensure that you're sharing this information so that those leaders can bring that information down to supervisors. When you create a funnel where leadership is bought in and managers how to educate employees, you're creating a way for everyone in the organization to feel comfortable and accepted.

It is crucial to have leadership bought into your DEI strategy as they will 100% account for the amount of time and resources the company will allocate towards achieving these goals.

3. Allocate a team and resources to get the job done

Improving diversity and inclusion should not be the responsibility of a single person within the organization. Instead, create a team, allocate resources, and think through how you can involve key stakeholders across the organization.

Creating a list of who is going to be the leader of your employee resource groups. How are you going to engage with consultants to better train employees? What tools will you use to create a more inclusive environment?

When you focus on the processes and time that you put in towards DEI, you're able to better create and execute on inclusive work strategies.

4. Create a budget

Chief Marketing Officers have budgets to describe their marketing initiatives. CFOs have budgets to talk through the endeavors and projects a company will take. As a chief diversity and inclusion officer, creating a budget is key towards implementing a successful DEI strategy. Areas of the budget should include external employee support, important partnerships, staffing costs, employee resource groups, and the necessary opportunities for Out of Office (OOO) trainings. When you create a budget that aligns the company with the roadmap of DEI, your putting together a definitive way of leadership and stakeholders to know how they're moving the needle on DEI.

At the end of the day, you should ensure that you're creating sufficient amount of resources to implement your diversity and inclusion strategy. A great example of team and resource allocation is Discord. Over the past 18 months, they've created important employee resource groups that extend across different communities. Mothers working remotely, LGBTQ members and allies, black and brown members of the community, women, and other groups who often feel marginalized are given an opportunity and a group so that they can feel comfortable speaking up and creating a voice for the employees and leadership to understand. Spending time to sufficiently create a plan for team and budgets allows to cut costs and risk when you think of implementing projects within the company.

5. Identify Pain Points within the company

With the vision set and the team and resources in place, the next thing is to identify pain points within your company.

Pain points are described as events, obstacles, or situations that create a mental blocks in how people look at the company. Addressing pain points are key in understanding how your DEI roadmap will result in more effective and inclusive communities.

This is often what happens after the 60 day mark. Thinking past day 60, how can you understand and create a vision so that all employees know where their company is growing from. Creating use cases, bringing in employees to have focus groups to talk through their discussions and lifestyles within the office. When you're able to synthesize the pain point, don't forget it! Write it down, make it very visual to leadership because without understanding where we need to go, we won't be able to understand how we can get better.

To identify and address pain points, it will require you to take a deep dive within the company. What are the key metrics that organizations and internal leaders account for? What are opportunities to ensure that there is a revenue based metric for when employees of all different colors hit certain goals. The opportunity to identify pain points within the company gives you the leverage to grow and identify how your company is going to scale.

Part of this deep dive is collecting measurements on important DEI information. Things like race, gender, age, and pay-rate are all key metrics to understand how and where things may be falling off within the company. MindStand Technologies is a perfect tool to allow you to circumvent that problem and allow to do it in a blink of an eye. We integrate within Slack, Microsoft Teams, G-Suite, and more to help you identify what does company culture look like through the data that makes companies them; how they communicate with one another.

If you'd like to learn more about MindStand, please click here and schedule a demo!

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