What should a DEIB Program Include?

All right, hi y’all! Welcome back. We are excited to have you. Our episode today is answering the question: What should a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) program include? We have a lot of things that we think it should include, but as always, we’re going to hit you with the ones that we think are most important, and then some action steps that you can do to actually implement those things.
Dana, what is your top thing that you think a DEIB program should include?
Dana: Yes, the top thing for me is, some of the things that I definitely like to make sure they include, and even just like just to include just the one top thing, is definitely that group of folks that is going to run how DEIB is going to exist within the organization. So, Employee Resource Group or Employee Network Group, whichever way the organization wants to call it. That is the top thing for me.
Host: Yeah, absolutely. Who’s running it is super important, kind of step one, because you can have all the programs in the world, but with nobody running them, nothing’s gonna happen.

Dana: Yeah, absolutely. The other piece that I think is super important before you start any DEIB program is how will you know it was successful? What are you looking for? How are you going to measure it in that really objective way of, “Hey, we did this thing; here was the outcome we were expecting, we achieved that outcome.” And that goes back to the thing you were talking about in one of our last episodes, and we talked about it frequently, is the feedback piece, right? So, feedback and data collection are imperative to knowing if you were successful. But you can’t know what you’re collecting until you’ve really defined what success looks like and means.
Dana: Yeah, yeah. And one of the things that I wrote here on my notes is just a SWAT analysis, right? Most HR professionals do a SWAT analysis with a company when they’re starting to get an understanding of what’s going on in the company. But taking that same method and putting it into understanding what the company needs in a DEIB standpoint is a good opportunity to see exactly what the strengths are within the company, what are some areas of opportunity, and what are the potential threats of putting this into play when it comes to running DE programs in an organization.

Host: Absolutely. And for anybody listening, he did just give the definitions of it, but it’s SWAT. S-W-O-T. Would you mind just sharing what each of those letters is again so people can go look it up if they want to?
Dana: Yeah, sure. The S is strengths, and the W is weaknesses. Then the O is opportunities, so areas of opportunities, where can we grow, where can we get better? And the T is threats. So, that’s the breakdown of a SWAT chart.
Host: Perfect, thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, I know a lot of business people know what that is, but for those of you for whom they’re not acronyms, they are a dime a dozen. There are so many. I mean, absolutely, sometimes I’d be like, “Oh my God, can we just call it what it is?” Sometimes I feel like the acronym is harder to say than just the name, which is always its own fun thing.
Dana: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The other thing about data collection and assessments is it’s super important to know your baseline so that you know if something changed, you know if something happened. It’s really hard to get executives to want to reinvest in something if they don’t know how it’s impacting, they don’t know how it’s shifting, they don’t know if it’s working. Just writing a blank check for whatever like it’s not going to happen. Are some leaders like, “Yeah, do whatever you need to do,” sure, I’m sure they exist. But most companies are going to want to know why are we using these resources for this, especially if budgets are starting to get cut or tight or there’s pressure from the economy, which we all know that right now there very much is in pretty much every industry. So, knowing what your baseline is so that you know how you’re successful is how you also can keep those investment dollars coming your way from the business itself.
Dana: And just to add to that, it essentially just paints the picture of how the programs can move forward. It’s like that yellow brick road that we can all follow to get to the end and the endgame of what this is going to look like within the organization.
Host: Yeah, and also to that point, even to be able to pivot if you need to. What isn’t working, and do we need to shift something? And sometimes just making a slight adjustment can make the whole program something super viable and sustainable and impactful to the organization and the people that the programs are attempting to support in the first place.
Dana: Yep, yep, 100%. So, the other thing, speaking of investment and resources and all those things, the leadership and governance is the other thing that I think every DEIB program needs to include: the governance. Leadership also touches on what you said first, but also who’s championing it, who’s resourcing it, and how are we monitoring, controlling, and guiding the program to ensure that it’s successful.
Host: Yes, and which leads me into my main point of Charter. So, Charters are big and very important when it comes to whomever is going to run it, whomever is going to put the things into place. Charter is pretty much the guide to hold everyone accountable, to be able to say, “This was our mission, these are our values, this is how we as a group are going to continue to say whatever we do within this organization or within these programs, we need to go back and look at what are the guidelines we put in place for ourselves to make sure we’re not breaking rules, but that we’re doing what we said we were going to do from the beginning.” And that’s what that Charter is there for and will hold essentially everybody accountable, especially when you talk about leadership buy-in, which I know you’re going to mention.
Host: Yeah, the leadership buy-in, and we’ve talked about that before, but absolutely, if you have that project Charter that you can lean on, especially when things get tight or people forget why are we doing this thing, it’s a really easy document that you can go refer back to, “Here’s the why, here’s why we started this,” and if you’re reevaluating if you’re a tech company or even a company who has adopted agile principles, maybe you’re at the end of the sprint and you’re doing a postmortem and you want to look at like, “Okay, why are we doing this? Were we successful? Did everybody do their piece? Like, what did we say we were going to do and what’s missing?” But the leadership buy-in so that they can also see what did you say you were going to do and did you do it? Because if not, then why? And that’s a question that needs to be answered, not just to leadership, but to the people within the organization that you’re trying to impact.
Dana: Absolutely.
Host: And the other thing about leadership is, and a big, big piece, especially in a world of high turnovers and people jumping ship left and right, as a retention tool, a DEIB program should include, or it can include, leadership buy-in, a commitment to creating an inclusive organization where the individuals that are in the organization can see the leadership buy-in. They can see that it is real, that it is true, that it’s an honest commitment that the organization is making.
Host: Absolutely. And I think to add to that, something that’s really important is, and a lot of us already know this, it’s like if you can’t see it at the top, then people aren’t going to really believe that it’s happening, and it’s not going to be that buy-in. If the executive or the leadership aren’t really into it, then why would everybody else in the organization think it’s important? Because obviously they don’t, so then why would you, and then we start losing people.
Host: Right. And something that is also kind of challenging is this environment we’re in, especially if you’ve been to a bunch of organizations, you’re like, “I don’t know if I want to believe them.” But if you’ve seen them actually make the commitment and the follow-through, and you see that that leadership is not just doing lip service, but that they’re actually doing the actions and everything is backing up their words, I think that can help with retention as well, so that people can see that it is real.
Dana: Yep, yep. And it’s also easier to, once you get into the mix, you can see those things because leadership will start to talk about it, leadership will start to demonstrate what they are doing for DEI in the organization. So, that’s also what can keep individuals in the organization from leaving.
Host: Yep, yep. And if leadership is doing it, then you have to do it, too. It’s that whole environment of peer pressure, or if you see someone else doing it, then you’re also more inclined to do it because the leadership is doing it. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I think you can have a positive peer pressure where you’re kind of pushing and motivating each other to do what’s best for the organization.
Dana: Yeah, it’s basically a ripple effect, and hopefully it’s a good ripple effect because it could go the other way, but hopefully it’s a positive one, and a positive one can actually change the environment of an organization. So, all of that is very important. So, if you’re in HR or any DEIB professional, or even just an employee, you should be asking, if you have questions, what does our DEIB program include and why? You should be challenging and questioning, and even, what is the Charter? That’s something to ask as well. And if you’re a leader, how are you holding yourself accountable? How are you ensuring that you’re putting DEIB programs, initiatives, and leadership buy-in into place?
Host: Absolutely. So, if anybody’s starting a DEIB program and has questions, feel free to email us at ednorgpodcast@gmail.com. That’s E-D-N-O-R-G podcast@gmail.com. And you can also follow us on Instagram at The Organizational Therapist, and if you have any questions there or want to direct message us, or if you want to set up some time to actually discuss this, feel free to reach out to us because we’re happy to help with this.
Dana: Yeah, and we will come back with part two of this one because we have plenty more things to talk about when it comes to what should a DEIB program include.
Host: Absolutely. Thanks for joining, everybody. Have a great day.
Dana: All right, everybody. Have a great day. Thank you.