Written by terrahomme.global
Published in strategy

the d&i buy-in part 1

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making a decision to buy a train ticket does not require a great deal of consideration, does it? well, unless you have to travel for business purposes and a travel policy made by someone somewhere dictates otherwise.

making a decision to design, implement and manage a diversity & inclusion policy is another matter altogether. depending on the size of the organisation you are working for, there should be processes and committees in place to first of all decide whether or not such a policy has any merits and secondly who will be responsible for the activities associated with having such a policy in place. the complexity of the policy is one thing to consider, the second is to get the buy-in from the right people higher up the line of command.

if you are in a position where you are already part of managing governance of numerous policies, guidelines and ordinances, guess what? you are already one step ahead, of those who work in a department, which has nothing to do with human resources, policies or guidelines.

personally i believe the first crucial step for any person wishing to establish a diversity & inclusion policy is research into the topic.

it's no use to anyone to reinvent the wheel. your organisation may already have such a policy somewhere in its digital archives or a printed copy filed somewhere in the document library of human resources documents. in other words, find out where the responsibility of diversity & inclusion within the organisation lies and then enquire about whether or not you could contribute, serve on some committee or participate in a diversity group in the organisation.

if however, you discover that your organisation does not have a policy, much less someone responsible for diversity & inclusion within the organisation, then you have your job cut out for you!

5-step approach getting the buy-in for diversity & inclusion

once you have done the research within your organisation and you want to start the ball rolling getting a diversity & inclusion policy in place and managed, there are just so many ways to go about it, but we suggest the following five steps with individual activities:

1. networking

start off by talking with your human resource responsible person. normally, diversity & inclusion is a company initiative - and relates to human resources - and not just a policy document allowed in one particular department. the human resources person will be able to identify a contact person to start a discussion. since you've already done your homework, have some internal research documents in your hands and now have a contact person, you should be able to 'get a feel' for your initiative. you will also be told (if you asked) how policy changes or new policies are processed within the organisation.
make contact with a few names on your list, explain your initiative and determine whether or not they would be interested in joining 'your cause'. don't take out the rainbow-coloured flag and give the image that you want to change the whole organisation and have everyone wear little pin-on rainbows. keep the initial discussion short, to the point and focused. identify people representing a mixture of opinions, responsibilities and who actually care about equality within the workplace. you don't want to start a 'union' of sorts, you merely want to have the right people at the table when decisions are to be made.

2. boilerplate documents
as mentioned before, you don't want to reinvent the wheel. you just want to introduce the idea of equality - in this case diversity & inclusion as an organisational initiative. during your research you would have come across many examples of policy documents, templates, what to include (and what not), who would be responsible for the topic diversity & inclusion and many other considerations. not having to start from scratch, select a boilerplate template that would suit the organisational structure of your business, prepare it in such a way that the wording would be easy to understand, interpret and would address the needs of the organisation.
there is nothing as rewarding as personal interaction with someone - instead of sending thousands of emails - and in our honest opinion, a bit of focused communication at the right time, works wonders - so arrange an informal discussion with the decision makers, team members and don't forget the human resources person! it's time for step three.

More in this category: the d&i buy-in part 2 »
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