Establishing effective D&I management requires a strategic approach combining analytical skills, creativity, empathy, communication skills, and business expertise.
Setting up a D&I management team: To even consider implementing D&I management, the veritable commitment and support of the board of management are required. It is advisable to position D&I management at the interface between HR, CSR, and corporate communications, with a direct reporting line to the management board.
Checking the status quo: The starting point is to analyze the diversity of the workforce, including aspects such as the gender ratio (at the management level), yet also the age structure, the number of employees with disabilities, nationality, etc..
Secondly, all relevant business processes and their underlying conditions concerning D&I need to be examined.
Thirdly, input from organizational members at all levels regarding their perceptions of D&I needs to be assessed by employing systematic “listening” practices.
Finally, it is useful to study the organizational environment.
Developing the D&I strategy: Once all the necessary preliminary work has been carried out, it is important to map out a D&I vision with the associated values and put it into writing in the form of a mission statement and D&I-related policies. This should be done with the involvement of employees at all levels and walks of life.
Besides that, the development of a corresponding communication strategy that bolsters the D&I management strategy and the corresponding measures is important.
Developing D&I measures: The next step is to develop D&I measures to achieve the defined objectives. Setting up a task force consisting of employees who represent the diversity of the whole organization can be very helpful.
In the course of guided workshops and further interviews and focus group discussions, ideas for measures are developed, refined, and checked for feasibility. At this point, the available budget for D&I management plays a significant role in ensuring that the measures can be implemented.
Rollout of D&I measures: Communication plays a significant role at this stage of implementation. By using the most suitable communication channels (interpersonal and mediated) and explaining the implementation of the respective measures in good time and in line with the expectations and accessibility of the target audiences.
“We set up a train-the-trainer program where we trained local ambassadors, inviting managers in particular who were interested in spending two, four, six, or eight hours with their teams working on the topic. Eventually, quite a few departments then took the time to address the topic within their teams. That was terrific!”
Katja Ploner, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Advisor, Siemens AG
The research project was conducted by Dr. Sabine Einwiller and Daniel Wolfgruber at the University of Vienna from 2020 to 2021: