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The diversity and inclusion change drivers and why they are vital

Regular readers of this column will know that IDC is passionate about the importance of underpinning diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies by using change management best practice. We have extensive experience in carrying out D&I analysis in companies in the private and public sectors. They may have exemplary policies but the research invariably shows that people who are not from the historically dominant group experience exclusion on an everyday basis.

The D&I change drivers are:

Leadership message and example

  • It is critical that an organisation's leaders communicate the business case for putting effort into D&I clearly and unambiguously. Up to 90 percent of the behaviour in an organisation is influenced by that of its leaders. So, if an organisation wishes to build an inclusive culture, then its leadership must set an example in it. IDC has a unique inclusive leadership behaviour tool for this.

Communication and engagement

  • Most organisations effectively communicate their D&I strategy; but they fail to engage their employees in its implementation. This is critical because changing to an inclusive culture means that people have to behave in new ways towards each other. The best way for employees' to gain understanding and show commitment to adopting new behaviours is for them and the key influencers throughout the organisation to be involved in informing the D&I strategy and helping with its implementation. Again, IDC has a wide range of tools to enable effective employee engagement.

Education and training

  • This is a big topic and in a future viewpoint IDC will explore this more thoroughly. Most organisations support their D&I strategy with training in awareness and skills-building. However, the real benefits come when employees begin to behave inclusively. Very few D&I strategies are supported by effective training in inclusive behaviour development.


  • We guide our clients in how to adopt balanced scorecard measures for the stage they've reached in their D&I strategy implemention. It is important to avoid the trap of adopting measures that are more appropriate to a later stage in their D&I journey and thereby getting discouraging results; or choosing ones that belong to an earlier stage and limiting their ability to make real progress. For example, looking for tangible returns on investment before laying a clear foundation of awareness and culture change enables sceptics to demean the entire process. Moreover, organisations that only measure increased minority group representation, important as that is, never discover new ways to move to a culture which embraces all differences and really delivers competitive advantage.

Skilfully underpinning your D&I strategy with the change drivers described makes the difference between disappointment and success. IDC's consultants are experienced in the applying the D&I change drivers and we have developed an exceptional range of tools that assist clients in adopting them.


Related articles:

·      Leading by example - a powerful driver of culture change

·      The critical success factors for an effective diversity intervention

·      A major diversity change driver – Interactive Theatre

·      Diversity hot tips for delivering big 2009 profit sharing/efficiency gains

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