Ten ways to leverage DCA’s D&I Calendar for strategic impact

DCA’s D&I calendar is more than just a list of dates. Used strategically, it can significantly enhance your organisation’s D&I work. Here are ten ways you can leverage the D&I calendar for strategic impact in 2024.

1. Use them as opportunities, but move beyond D&I days for meaningful change

True progress demands more than tokenistic gestures. Move beyond the celebrations by driving forward key projects, D&I training and education. D&I days can then be used strategically as important opportunities to promote your deeper initiatives and strategies.  

Prioritise the days you choose to mark in line with your key focus areas. For example, you could align International Day of Persons with Disabilities to launch a new disability and inclusion action plan. RU OK day might serve as the perfect time to promote ongoing mental health supports and programs. Or, you could draw attention to your gender equality strategy on International Women’s Day.  

By using key D&I days to drive staff engagement with significant D&I initiatives you can demonstrate your organisation’s commitment in a tangible way, sharing your organisation’s progress and future action plans.

2. Integrate D&I into your ESG strategy

Incorporating the D&I calendar into your Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) work can enhance its effectiveness. By aligning D&I initiatives with your ESG goals you can create a holistic approach that underscores the social aspect of ESG work. Spotlight social issues, promote inclusive practices, and demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to social responsibility.  

3. Focus on employee education

Utilise D&I dates for learning opportunities. Share DCA’s events calendar and recordings of past events (available to all employees of member organisations).   

You could, for example, highlight DCA’s information on Racism@Work on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination or our resources on pronouns on International Pronouns Day. 

DCA’s popular Knowledge Programs are another way to increase the knowledge, skills, and awareness of employees around a range of diversity and inclusion topics.  

4. Amplify impact through Employee Resource Groups

Consider using D&I dates to energise the efforts of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Showcase your organisation’s diversity and inclusion work through the activities of these important groups. Encourage them to lead initiatives related to specific calendar events.

5. Recognise that the effort involved is work

Something we have heard often in our research is that there is an expectation that staff with lived experience will do the work to organise events such as NAIDOC Week on top of their existing workload. But this is work, and it needs to be acknowledged and recognised. 

6. Highlight your work with strategic communication

Communicating D&I work is essential. Integrate D&I messages into your communications and develop narratives that emphasise the importance of each date in relation to your D&I strategy.

7. Ensure leadership involvement and visibility

Promote visible leadership involvement during key D&I dates. Highlight leaders participating in events, sharing insights, and reaffirming your organisation’s commitment to an inclusive workplace.

8. Draw attention to systemic barriers

Diversity days can be used to draw attention to systemic issues and provide a forum to discuss how you are addressing these. We know there are invisible barriers locking people from diverse backgrounds out of leadership. If we want to address the systemic issues that prevent certain groups from accessing opportunities and advancing in their careers, we need to take a serious look at hiring practices, promotion policies, and pay equity to ensure that they are not perpetuating inequality. 

9. Seek feedback for continuous improvement

Think about establishing feedback mechanisms to assess the impact of D&I priorities. By gathering feedback you can continue to reinform, refine and enhance future iterations of your D&I strategy.

10. Promote your DCA membership internally throughout the year

If your organisation is a current DCA member, make sure your employees are aware they have free access to DCA’s many events and resources – covering 11 dimensions of D&I. All employees can access the DCA Events, D&I Calendar (downloadable to your Outlook) and Member hub resources.  

Remind them to create an individual log-in using their work email address. Visit the DCA website registration page, then follow the prompts to verify and create your password.

Not a DCA member? Visit our membership page or contact us at memberservices@dca.org.au to learn more.