By Jeffrey L. Bowman 6 minutes Lily
After 7 years, more than 30 corporate engagements, and thousands of hours spent testing and validating a change approach and a new cultural maturity assessment tool within Fortune 500 organizations, the only thing I A view that rings true in corporate hallways is this: For organizations to sustain business, thrive, and retain top talent, they need to throw away the old DEI playbook.
This does not mean completely dismantling the practice of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Rather, it is time to enhance it with a change management approach to build a sustainable and scalable workplace of cultural inclusion.
It starts with thinking about these three questions:
Does your whole organization agree with the pursuit of cultural inclusion?
The original intent of the diversity practice in the 1960s was to move from a segregated workplace to an integrated workplace. Based on the work we have done at Cropit was necessary to redefine the statement of the problem: The workplace is culturally two to three generations behind in the new market.
This means that, both attitudinal and behavioral, leaders must now go beyond the ambition of simply integrating the workplace to changing their entire structure, segments, strategy, solutions and their systems for the new majority population.
Imagine walking into your CEO’s office and saying that the 60-year-old DEI playbook is dated and the company needs to adopt a new change management approach that’s less than 10 years old. A solid business case needs to be made as to why the old DEI playbook needs to be modernized.
Let’s start with what many already know.
The employee audience that DEI was designed for no longer believes that their employers truly support the practice of diversity, equity and inclusion. A recentstudy carried out to validate our hypothesis and the results were consistent with what we were hearing not only from employees, but also from Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) at major Fortune 500 companies.
What the conversation lacks is a tool that measures cultural maturity an organization is on the spectrum, where to find the fix and how to prioritize resource allocation. What is needed is a maturity model, a proven tool in the change management industry that measures an organization’s ability to achieve continuous improvement in a particular discipline. In this case, we measure whether or not leaders train, grow, practice, and master their organization’s structure, segments, strategy, systems, and solutions.
Today’s workplace is far more complex and dynamic than it was in the 1960s and 1970s, when DEI as a practice was first introduced to support black employees entering in companies after graduating from newly integrated universities.
After assessing a sample size of a company’s employees through one-on-one interviews, bring the leadership team together to report on the results of the cultural maturity assessment and scoring. Based on the report and findings, the leadership team then aligns with what is called an Impact Ambition Statement – a North Star for a company’s purpose and change strategy.
The Impact Ambition – a corporate change program that spans multiple functions and regions – is a game-changer to bring about lasting change in DEI. Unlike typical strategies, in which functional and regional DEI practitioners are not empowered to make changes, allocate resources, or hold stakeholders accountable for the required change, the Impact Ambition statement is signed directly by the CEO and CEO. Human Resources Director.
Does your organization provide an inclusive employee experience from onboarding to exiting?
When DEI’s performative efforts are publicly exposed, companies’ magic pill typically begins with a talent acquisition reset. Since the 1970s, companies have gone through more than four to five generations of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) employees, but failed to retain enough talent in the pipeline to result in diverse organizational leadership. To date, combined BIPOC CEOs represent less than 5% of Fortune 500 leaders.
That’s why, after achieving organizational alignment across the entire leadership team, it’s time to review the entire employee experience, from onboarding to exiting.
For most F500 companies, everything from its mission statement, vision and values was created with monocultural leaders in terms of demographics and racial and gender ideology. For more than six decades, companies have acquired BIPOC talent and inducted them into organizations that were not designed for them to thrive and be rewarded for their efforts. It was set up to fail, and as time has proven, the system is flawed.
The first point of contact for potential candidates is usually through a talent acquisition department. But for many companies, the talent acquisition department doesn’t reflect the New America. It starts internally and then reflects externally. If the objective of the talent acquisition department is to attract talent to BIPOC, it must also reflect this ambition to its staff.
Depending on where the senior leadership team lands on Ambition Impact, reassessing the employee journey is necessary to understand the challenges and opportunities for employees at each stage of the employee journey. JIt begins to uncover why employees at all levels of the organization stay and why they leave.
Beyond race and gender identity, many organizations aren’t collecting the data needed to help them personalize employee experiences. By better understanding employee attitudes and behaviors at each stage of the journey, leaders can group workers into segments to better identify their individual identities, desires and requirements. This segmentation not only builds inclusive and personalized employee experiences, but a real community.
Can your organization scale, personalize and sustain an inclusive employee experience?
When creating inclusive experiences for customers and employees through my company’s work, I found that many leaders couldn’t execute inclusive design because they lacked the systems to scale, personalize, and sustain inclusive design. Key barriers included outdated intranet platforms and an inability to build consensus across HR functions. The lack of integrated systems reflecting the employee/user journey is a recipe for failure, and the mismatch between the HR function and technology systems has paved the way for so-called single-use applications.
After COVID hit, many companies rushed to digitize their employee experience via Zoom and to enable collaboration via video. In the midst of George Floyd’s revival, two things happened: A major civil rights event was caught on digital camera as company employees worked in a 100% digital environment. These two events forced a conversation as many CEOs and their executive teams weren’t ready to digitally engage with their remote workforce. According to Korn Ferry, by 2030, this will represent an $8 trillion human capital management opportunity globally.
The digitization of the workplace has made it easier to provide an inclusive experience for employees. But Zoom is not a digital strategy; it’s a digital tactic.
Technology unlocks data at every stage of the inclusive experience, regardless of where employees and users work. When done right, Inclusive Experience Design enables the C-Suite to personalize, scale, and sustain an inclusive employee experience that provides clarity for every employee and employee journey. user, and provides the ability to balance and optimize scheduling, messaging, reward and accountability.
DEI alone is not doing enough to culturally transform companies globally, and employees know they are short. Like the great resignation roared on and companies have more competition than ever to attract and retain top talent, organizations that stick to the decades-old diversity playbook will suffer.
America’s workforce has changed, and America’s corporate approach to DEI must change with it. The way to win at DEI is to implement a change management approach that ensures systematic and sustainable cultural inclusion for all employees.
Jeffrey L. Bowman is the CEO and co-founder of Crop.