Ian Dodds Consulting (IDC) July 2010 Diversity & Inclusion Best Practice
Diversity diagnostics are vital for determining where to prioritise effort
A client in India wanted a powerful diversity and inclusion (D&I) diagnostic. They wished to understand the barriers to inclusion that exist in their present culture and working environment for their employees, customers and suppliers from their different, diverse backgrounds. This would inform, they rightly believed, the priorities for change for it to become a truly inclusive employer and trader. It aspired, in effect, to be both an employer of choice and a supplier of choice. Ian Dodds Consulting (IDC) helps clients do this by asking their workforces what helps and hinders them from:
- feeling included;
- performing to their best;
- advancing to their full potential.
IDC has developed a range of powerful face-to-face and online diagnostic tools to do this:-
1. Affinity Focus Groups: made up of employees from particular diverse backgrounds, such as women, race and minority ethnic, disabled, younger or older, gay, lesbian and transgender people. Each focus group is led by expert consultants, who are of the same identity as the participants. For example, women's focus groups have women facilitators; Asian groups have Asian facilitators; etc. The mirroring of the facilitators with the focus group participants' affinity grouping means they can empathise with their issues and struggles. This connection encourages participants to be open and honest with their feedback. It also helps if participants are confident that their comments will be treated confidentially and will not be individually attributed. This is why our clients ask IDC, as experienced, global, diversity practitioners, to facilitate these focus groups.
2. Executive and senior manager interviews: IDC’s unique senior manager interview tool enables us to draw outExecutive and senior manager views on: the business drivers for putting effort into D&I; the experiences of inclusion and exclusion for the different affinity groups; the D&I strategic priorities; the main factors that will both help and hinder delivery. This enables the client to understand senior manager views on the priorities and the way forward and assess their level of commitment to putting effort into the changes needed to build a more inclusive culture – vital information for formulating their D&I Action Plan.
3. Online Surveys: the outputs from the affinity focus groups and the senior interviews inform the questions for IDC’s online D&I surveys. These enable the client to engage their entire workforce in the diagnostic. Thereby, gaining widespread workforce commitment to the need for action and change. It can be conducted on a country, regional or multinational basis. One client required it to be run across 21 countries and in local languages!
4. Key opinion former interviews: as regular readers know, to make an emotional impact on senior managers to generate the will for action, IDC is a leader in the production of interactive theatre scenarios, usually with 2 actors and of 5 – 10 minutes in duration. These are unrivalled in illustrating how inclusion and exclusion plays out in the client’s organisation. IDC’s theatre producer has perfected a highly effective interview tool. Usually, interviews with12 – 15 key opinion formers across the different affinity groups are sufficient to inform the scripting of extremely impactful theatre scenarios.
Some clients use all of the above tools; but others select the tools they consider best for them. The output is an IDC presentation illustrating what the different affinity groups see as the vital inclusion issues and their recommendations for the priority actions, together with our best practice recommendations. We would be pleased to discuss these highly successful diagnostic tools with you so that you can ensure you target D&I effort on the key priorities, clearly very important in the current economic climate.
Dr Ian Dodds
27 June 2010