In 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and others, many, many organizations announced that they were going to be much more serious about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is now 2 years later, but I don’t see a whole lot of transformation out there, despite the large amount of DE&I initiatives that were launched. If you’re one of those that is genuinely trying hard to improve in this area, but feel like the work has stalled or hasn’t progressed far enough, I may be able to explain why.
I believe that organizations are falling short or moving too slowly on the DE&I front not from lack of will or intention, but because their cultures are not developed in a way that allows the DE&I work to stick and progress.
And I don’t mean they have a culture that lacks diversity or doesn’t value inclusion—it’s much broader than that. It turns out that if you want a culture of inclusion, you’ll need to focus on parts of your culture that you didn’t think were about inclusion at all—like silos, customized employee experience, and professional development. We talked to leaders who were struggling with DE&I, where internal conversations would not progress to real change, or training would be welcomed, and then quickly forgotten. Then we dug into our culture assessment data and started connecting some dots between culture and DE&I. That’s where we saw the problem: for every new layer of depth you go in your DE&I work, you’ll need certain key elements of culture already in place to support it, otherwise the work will not stick.
Today we are launching a new online course, How to Create a Culture of Inclusion, that will help you figure out what parts of your culture might need work if you want to be successful in your DE&I efforts. It’s on-demand and has 3.5 hours of video content, plus resources, templates and assignments to help you come up with an action plan for bringing your culture in line with your DE&I goals.
Back in February, I wrote a blog post that shared the basic model. There are four levels of DE&I work, and they each require different elements of culture to be in place to be successful:
- Exploration requires a culture that is open and supportive.
- Education requires a culture of accountability, growth, and feedback
- Adaptation requires a culture with fluid hierarchy and boundary lines
- Transformation requires a culture that is truth-centric and people-centric.
In the course, we explain the specific elements of culture that need to be developed and give you examples of processes or structures you can change to move your culture in the right direction. We also have three interviews with DE&I experts who share valuable insights about how to navigate those different levels of the DE&I work.
If you want your diversity, equity, and inclusion work to be more successful, this course will help you get there.