When developing a diversity and inclusion strategy, we can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to the views of employees, leaders and other key stakeholders, particularly on organisational challenges and opportunities.
Having an independent external vendor conduct this research through a diversity diagnostic not only helps to uncover organisational biases and outdated practices that inhibit progress, but also gives the organisation a path forward to overcome them, based on best practice evidence.
Over the past decade, our team at Diversity Partners has conducted diversity diagnostics and developed strategies with more than 50 organisations, involving thousands of people through interviews and focus groups. That’s taken us to diverse places around Australia and New Zealand – from mine sites, factory floors, creative agency offices, to trading rooms and boardrooms.
The goal of the diagnostic is to deliver a clear picture of the inclusion and diversity challenges and opportunities that then inform the D & I strategy. Our diagnostics also help articulate the specific benefits of achieving greater diversity and inclusion for the business, which builds engagement and willingness to take action.
We often add a survey to the qualitative information we collect. That ensures we’re capturing the voices of as many people as possible. As part of the diagnostic, we identify any structural barriers through a thorough analysis of talent management data and policies.
It’s a robust process, conducted sensitively and confidentially. And it gives organisations the type of robust data and evidence they would typically use to approach any major strategic decision.
At the moment, our team is working with a large global resources company to help align their diversity goals with the strategic objectives of the Australian operations and recommend a way forward for the next years.
This substantive diagnostic has reminded us that it’s not only the outcome of the research that’s valuable, but the process of getting there. The people participating in interviews and focus groups have consistently said how much they value the opportunity to share their views of cultural and structural barriers, and the type of inclusive work environment they want to work in.
Approaching diversity and inclusion as a core strategic issue from the start – through a diversity diagnostic – helps set the framework for a carefully-crafted strategy with appropriate metrics and governance.
We’ve undertaken diagnostics and co-developed inclusion and diversity strategies for organisations such as Anglo American Metallurgical Coal, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, BHP, the Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth Bank, Computershare, ExxonMobil, Golder Associates, Lander & Rogers, Maddocks, ME Bank, Rio Tinto, Suncorp, Telstra Super, Transpower NZ, QSuper, Unity Water, and state government departments.
Here’s a selection of feedback on the value of that diagnostic work.