13 Ways To Maintain Long-Term Momentum With DEI Initiatives

Companywide activities and events can be great ways to get everyone involved in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. While these events do spread awareness and can be helpful catalysts for change, as time goes by, employees can easily forget how to implement everything they learned.

It’s a leader’s responsibility to ensure that their company’s DEI goals are prioritized throughout the daily operations of the business. Below, 13 members of Forbes Coaches Council share various ways for senior leaders and executives to ensure that DEI efforts maintain momentum long after companywide activities and events. 

1. Remember That DEI Is A Continuous Process

DEI is a continuous process, not a set of activities or events. To succeed, it must become a part of the organizational culture. Senior leaders need to stay on message, model expected behavior and make sure HR leaders in the organization have the knowledge and tools to support DEI, starting from recruitment and onboarding. – Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, Responsible Leadership Academy

2. Remember That DEI Is A Reflection Of Leadership

DEI is not about events and activities, it’s a clear reflection of your leadership. A great way to measure your organization’s DEI temperature is to monitor the network of your leaders. You can easily do that via social media and email to get a clear sense of who actually walks the talk. Then, move into action and plan training interventions accordingly to effectively change the culture. – Lital Marom, UNFOLD Media Group

3. Track Metrics And Hold Leaders Accountable

The key word is “momentum.” Launching an initiative and staging companywide events will make a statement. To ensure those efforts do not become stand-alone one-offs, clearly and consistently communicating the companywide action plan—including the metrics that are being tracked and how leaders are being held accountable for meeting them—makes all the difference. DEI then needs to be on the ongoing quarterly review agenda. – David Yudis, Potential Selves


4. Continuously Question Unconscious Biases

Continuously questioning unconscious biases is crucial. To truly embed DEI into the company culture, leaders need to be aware of their unconscious biases and how they might inadvertently be excluding some employees. From the wording of job ads and descriptions to team-building events and rewards, what you think is a great idea may not be appropriate for everyone, so be mindful every day. – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Innovation Academy

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Follow The Engagement Plan

To sustain DEI initiatives, employees need to see concrete actions being taken, and these efforts need to be regular and communicated effectively. A virtuous cycle is created when the initiatives begin to bear fruit, increasing confidence and thereby maintaining momentum for the longer term. – Thomas Lim, Singapore Public Service, SportSG

6. Get Participants’ Buy-In During The Event

Focusing on this after the event is too late! Ask the participants during the event or activity how they want to bring this forward, maintain momentum and measure the impact and effectiveness. Get them to create the structure and get their buy-in. Plan with them; don’t try and be prescriptive after the fact. – David Taylor-Klaus, DTK Coaching, LLC

7. Establish Benchmarks, KPIs And Measurements

Companies know how to establish benchmarks, key performance indicators and measurements. Treat DEI as a vital business unit with accountability. Create a net promoter score for employees, similar to your customer satisfaction measures. Businesses have the tools; they just have to have the mindset and will to do it, and then be accountable. – Jodie Charlop, Exceleration Partners

8. Create A Sense Of Belonging And Psychological Safety

Creating and sustaining a sense of belonging and psychological safety for all members of an organization requires leaders to be intentional in implementing a change management strategy to embed and thread the DEI philosophy into the company’s mission, vision, values and goals. Managing the process through communication of expected behaviors will help to uphold and thread DEI into the norms of a company’s culture. – Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting

9. Implement A System, Not Just Motivational Talk

You need a system, not just a motivational speech or talk to tie DEI to some sensible metrics. My go-to DEI coach does not hesitate to suggest how important it is to remove emotion and insert sensible, smart metrics into the mix. That way, neither the fashion of the moment nor the rage of the day will rule what should come first: what is best for your business and your stakeholders. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

10. Examine Career Development Processes For Bias

Examine your organization’s career development processes, which can be susceptible to bias. How are highly-coveted projects distributed? When two people are up for the same promotion, what questions do you ask? Do your managers develop individual relationships with all staff to minimize affinity bias? Make sure that everyone is trained on and uses objective data to support and sustain DEI goals. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

11. Be Transparent About The Results

As with any business initiative, for DEI initiatives to be successful, they need to be promoted and communicated with a clear level of transparency. Employees will not buy into the initiatives if there is no regular communication. Sharing the transparent results of DEI initiatives being implemented will help build momentum as people see the buzz and change happening within the organization. – Kevin Kan, Break Out Consulting Asia

12. Sponsor DEI Initiatives From The Top

To take it beyond a poster or a project, DEI has to be embedded in the company and team culture, from how we hire, select future talent, do performance reviews and make decisions every day. Appreciate and learn from people with different views. Accept that people are different and are motivated by different factors. Reward and celebrate exemplary DEI behaviors. – John Nielsen, The Nielsen & Co Coaching and Leadership Consulting

13. Have Advocates And Champions Across The Organization

As with any initiative, companies need to ensure there are advocates and champions across the organization that will carry the mantle and continue to organize activities and events. Culture change is not a one-time event, it’s a process, and as such, it needs to be measured on a regular basis through polls and feedback. – Rakish Rana, The Clear Coach

The Tycoon Herald