The client required consultation and facilitation surrounding conversations regarding their role in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and encouraging allyship within the leadership group of the organization. Significant efforts had previously been made into DEI at the organization through grass-root initiatives, recruitment efforts and training programs; however express commitment and focus at the senior leadership level was required.
The client’s executive team wanted to:
- Increase awareness and understanding of racism
- Build capacity for healthy debate through discussion
- Lead to commitment in examining business practices, policies and processes that possibly perpetuate structural and institutional racism and other forms of discrimination
Using an iterative approach, we built trust with the leadership team through a series of 1:1 and group conversation discussions. By embracing inevitable discomfort when we began to confront issues that make privilege invisible, we leaned into difficult conversations when needed. We built on the strengths of the organization and spent a considerable amount of time consulting with the HR team to build and integrate with existing plans in order to create an aligned approach.
The following steps represent our approach:
- Consulting, needs assessment, and review of existing materials with project sponsors and the HR team.
- Design and facilitation of conversations where leadership discussed concepts such as Power, Privilege, Racism, Allyship at the personal and organizational level, and shared lived experiences and stories about barriers to inclusion.
- 1:1 interview discussions with the senior leaders to define their role in DEI leadership as employers, leaders, and influencers in the public sector in Canada.
- Drafted a DEI Charter, Commitments, and Action Plan which incorporated outcomes and observations from the Conversations, ELT input, existing DEI strategies and programs, industry models, leadership expectations, and ongoing learning.
- Commitments were designed around a customized model to include communication, review, measurement, and ongoing learning.
- Facilitated leadership alignment workshops:
- Finalized and approved the charter, commitments, and action plan.
- Gained Executive endorsement of commitments to anti-racism and DEI.
- Identified intended outcomes and set tangible, measurable success criteria.
- Multiple personal testimonials demonstrated a shift of awareness in Anti-Racism and Privilege, along with relief and gratitude from racialized individuals around leadership’s commitment to this work.
- Communication has rolled out from the CEO to the organization expressing the commitment and action plan, with positive feedback from employees.
- Employee engagement measurement strategy will now also incorporate DEI lens.
- Recommendation for review of the role of the grassroots working groups has been actioned and steps are being taken to enhance, clarify, and strengthen their role.
- Commitment to ongoing individualized education of the executive team
- Cinga continues to be engaged in targeted solutions to address anti-racism within the organization.