Writing a diversity strategy is a daunting task, and knowing where to start can seem like the hardest part. Tribal Chief Emma Scott is here to help you get your strategy off the ground.
I was asked a question a few months back that, in all honesty, I couldn’t answer – the question was ‘what is your diversity strategy?' I answered with my thoughts on diversity and how it translates to the way that we make decisions at Tribe, but I realised we didn’t have a company-wide strategy that people had created together, with actions to measure our goals.
Although we intentionally create an environment where everybody has a voice, having some sort of tangible process around this with definitions, roles, and actions, makes it real for people. So, I started trying to understand where we were currently at Tribe and work out where to go from there. But as with a lot of things, getting started was one of the hardest parts, and I recognised that we needed help. That’s where the good folk down at Diversity Works NZ came in, with their amazing source of education and inspiration to help workplaces like Tribe develop diverse and inclusive environments.
I went along to one of their strategy sessions and the workshop gave practical information about developing a diversity and inclusion plan for us here. The participants were from a huge variety of different businesses of varying sizes, complexities and industries. It felt good to be in a room full of people with a common goal and all excited to start developing their D and I strategy. We were all at very different stages in our journeys and it was great to hear that we were not alone.
The process of creating a D & I Strategy was practical and relatively simple to do – starting with an assessment of where you currently are, understanding why you need one, understanding roles and responsibilities, what are your broad focus areas and goals, and how to measure and decide on your actions.
The starting point was asking the ‘why’ questions of ourselves and our organisations, like what is diversity and inclusion, why is it important at your work and what does it mean to you? These questions can’t be answered by one person on behalf of an organisation, although many people will have a view on it, but they are a good starting point to build a foundation and develop your strategy around it.
Two messages that I heard loud and clear were:
- Get people involved in the ‘now’ part. Your diversity strategy is something that should be done as a team and not just presented to your people when it’s finished.
- Make sure you have champions around your business to help you achieve your D and I goals.
I loved hearing stories from organisations about how they did this and the common theme in many was communication as an inclusion tool. We talk about storytelling here at Tribe and listening to these stories at the workshop made me realise how vital this is – telling your people where we have been, where we are now, and where we are heading.
Going to the session was a valuable reminder of why writing a diversity strategy shouldn’t be side swiped and put to the bottom of the to do list. The benefits are, well, endless - the more diverse a business is, the more it unlocks innovation and therefore better performance and outcomes giving you a competitive edge. Not to mention the impact it has on engagement – it can be huge! We’ve seen it ourselves and recognise the effect it's had to our partners who have somewhat formalised their thoughts on diversity and set a clear strategy around it.
So, I’m off to talk to my Tribe and see who wants to be involved in this process of writing our D & I Strategy and setting our goals. Thank you Diversity Works NZ for helping us on this journey!