by Brad McAlister with Kate Yaughn

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) looks different for every person and every association, but every group needs an action plan to move towards better DEI. Moving toward action is often the hardest part of DEI, but today’s blog provides your association with a flexible guide to make action steps a breeze.

DEI is much more than training, textbooks, videos, and words on a page. Employers that move toward true DEI action create thriving workplaces filled with diversity and equity. 

Still not convinced that you need a DEI action plan?

Research shows that many equitable workplaces see more financial returns, higher levels of employee innovation, increased employee satisfaction, and outperformance of competitors.

You can create a DEI Action Plan in 5 steps:

  1. Begin with a DEI statement.
  2. Create a Task Force of leaders.
  3. Share your intentions with your membership.
  4. Conduct Listening Sessions, surveys, and Town Hall meetings.
  5. Refine your DEI campaign using the data collected in #4.

Begin with a DEI statement and use it to share your organization’s commitment to DEI. Enlist the participation of your Board of Directors, Strategic Planning Committee, any other appropriate committees, possibly some key members, past Board members, and more. Include representatives for the people who have traditionally been under-represented whom you want to feel welcome.

Create a Task Force of leaders within your organization who will be good spokespeople for your DEI efforts. Build this group with people from diverse backgrounds, geographical locations, and professional experience. 

After you have assembled your Task Force, ask them for help in sharing your intentions with your association’s membership. Create a thoughtful campaign to introduce and then support your DEI efforts. This shows that you are committed to following through on the statement created in step one.

Next, conduct Listening Sessions, surveys, and Town Hall meetings to gather pertinent information and opinions. This will be when you collect invaluable information that you can use to refine your DEI efforts. This step will be when those you are trying to include will feel heard, so it is very important.

Lastly, take this information and use it to compile a list of action items: Steps that can be taken towards better DEI. The task force will then take this list and decide which items should be recommended to the Board of Directors or Strategic Planning Committee for permanent implementation into the organization. 

While these steps are not the be-all end-all for DEI action, we have found that using these as a general guideline makes moving toward , Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion action much simpler and easier to tackle. 

Looking for more in-depth assistance with moving toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion action? This is just one of the Association Management services we offer to our clients.