Make DEI part of your DNA
Dr. Randal Pinkett provides a blueprint for measurable and impactful DEI initiatives
"Any effort to mitigate bias and grow inclusivity within an organisation must begin with people,” says diversity, equity and inclusion expert Dr. Randal Pinkett. “At the end of the day, organisations do not change; people change,” he emphasises.
Dr. Pinkett’s new book, DATA-DRIVEN DEI: The Tools and Metrics You Need to Measure, Analyse, and Improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Wiley, March 14, 2023), centers first and foremost on personal transformation, presenting a five-step cycle that enables individuals and their organisations to measure, organise, and improve their DEI.
“DEI represents a unique and unparalleled opportunity to break down the walls that can separate us in our personal lives, within our organisations, and throughout our society,” writes Dr. Pinkett. Co-founder and CEO of the global consulting firm BCT Partners, Dr. Pinkett has spent the past three decades helping people and organisations across the globe become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. His approach relies on using data to measure, organise and improve DEI. This entails assessing the current reality; establishing objectives and goals; developing strategies with defined measures; and using data to gauge progress, evaluate results, and demonstrate impact.
For each step of the process, Dr. Pinkett covers both the personal and organisational levels of DEI improvement, while discussing the role of “the DEI Council” – a diverse and inclusive body representing different functions, levels, roles, and responsibilities throughout the organisation.
The five steps include:
Step 1: DEI Inventory – Your DEI strategic plan will only be as good as your DEI assessment. The author details how to measure preferences – things people think, feel, or do – and competences which are a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes/attributes. He points out that preferences – developed over years due to life experiences – are also biases. “The objective when it comes to improving DEI is to shift, stretch, or expand into areas outside your preferences and mitigate blind spots,” he says.
Step 2: DEI Imperatives – Once you’ve established your starting point, the next step is to determine where you want to go (DEI objectives) and how you will know you have arrived (DEI goals). Dr. Pinkett explains how to set objectives and goals, and includes dozens of illustrative examples. DEI objectives might include “Increase my awareness of intercultural conflict styles to resolve conflicts effectively” or “Be an effective and supportive mentor to women within my division.”
Step 3: DEI Insights – Before moving on to developing strategies, the author suggests pausing to see what has worked in other contexts that might work for you and/or your organisation. “The ‘What Works’ models outlined here are all flexible and can be adapted to your unique journey,” he writes.
Step 4: DEI Initiatives – Here the author provides frameworks to guide you in turning your DEI objectives and goals into specific and effective DEI initiatives (DEI strategies) and the metrics to gauge progress (DEI measures). This step concludes with examples of both personal and organisational DEI strategic plans. Dr. Pinkett points out that people often rely on training to foster behavior change. Instead, he recommends a “Personal DEI Learning Journey” – a series of activities and experiences designed to achieve change, learning, and new performance outcomes.
Step 5: DEI Impact – The final step explores how to determine DEI impact. The author discusses data analysis and reporting using scorecards and dashboards. Re-administering the DEI assessments from Step 1 is a key component of evaluating results – and establishing new baselines as you continue to improve. He also addresses the power of “DEI storytelling” – integrating results and findings to craft and communicate compelling DEI stories. “DEI storytelling enables you to personalize the DEI journey, contextualize data, chronicle progress, synthesize findings, integrate results, and comprehensively demonstrate impact,” he writes.
“The ultimate objective,” Dr. Pinkett explains, “is to make DEI a part of your DNA. Your overarching aim is that the five-step, never-ending, continuous cycle of data-driven DEI becomes a natural part of who you are and what you do.”
Main image: Equity and inclusion expert Dr. Randal Pinkett