A 2-Phase Strategy to Improve Diversity and Inclusion Practices

Mark Bridges
4 min readNov 23, 2022

Diversity refers to the representation of races, ethnicities, and other minority groups inside an organization. Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to the extent to which the contributions, presence, and viewpoints of other groups of people are appreciated, as well as their level of integration within a setting.

McKinsey’s examination of the companies it has evaluated since 2014 confirms the Business Case for gender and ethnic/cultural diversity in executive teams.

Despite evidence of a solid case for D&I, the majority of companies fail to adopt D&I in some manner. This is true regardless of the type of company in question — whether Leaders, Fast Movers, Moderate Movers, Resting on Their Laurels, or Laggards.

Despite the rising strength and clarity of the case for diversity, a number of organizations appear incapable of overcoming considerable obstacles to achieve stable and continuous growth.

Implementing a planned and self-assured approach to D&I and pursuing Inclusion with commitment is the most effective method for overcoming these obstacles.

Companies who are willing to take the initiative and undertake the essential measures to achieve real D&I success have tremendous performance potential.

Insights from a study of Diversity leaders and profound knowledge from research and experience on Diversity & Inclusion have contributed to the identification of effective measures and methods.

Effective D&I measures correlate to a two-phase, five-step strategy:

Phase 1: Systematic Business-led Approach to D&I

1. Guarantee representation of diverse talent.

2. Build up Leadership accountability and aptitude for D&I.

3. Facilitate fairness of opportunity.

Phase 2: Bold Steps to Strengthen Inclusion

4. Foster openness and confront discrimination.

5. Nurture belonging.

Let’s go a bit more into a few of the steps.

1. Representation of Diverse Talent

In addition to making a business case for D&I reform, leaders typically explain their own representation goals. Particularly for senior, line-management, technical, and board jobs, hiring a diverse workforce is a top priority. In addition to addressing Leadership selection, these strategies address hierarchical gaps within the company.

2. Leadership Accountability and Aptitude for D&I

Essential to the establishment of an Inclusive culture, diversity leaders place their senior business executives and managers at the center of their D&I initiatives. The organization’s inclusive leadership and accountability abilities are crucial for the placement of important executives. Both capabilities must reach middle management, where D&I is generally demoted due to the emergence of more pressing corporate objectives. Leaders in Diversity must surpass standard, mechanical bias training, and they do so.

3. Fairness of Opportunity via Impartiality & Openness

In order to create Inclusion, keeping and increasing Diverse talent is essential to consider equality and fairness of opportunity. Regarding Leadership attitudes, behaviors, and talents, diversity leaders guarantee Opportunity Equality and Fairness.

This is assured by the impartiality of the process for obtaining, selecting, and maintaining talent, especially in terms of professional progress and equal remuneration.

Interested in learning more about all the step for D&I Improvement and specific steps by types of D&I companies? You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Improvement here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Mark Bridges

I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management. https://flevy.com