For well over thirty years, initiatives designed to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) have been a priority for organisations – but are the plethora of D&I initiatives actually creating the organisational change they aspire to?
In Australia, as well as overseas, the general consensus appears to be that D&I progress in organisations has been slow in pace and limited in scale.
One explanation for this is that many D&I initiatives are designed and executed with little regard to what the research tells us works when it comes to achieving organisational change.
To address this important oversight, DCA has joined forces with Google and Deloitte to offer an evidence-based model for designing and implementing D&I organisational change, which empirical research indicates will enable organisations to more effectively achieve D&I outcomes in the workplace.
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The suggested citation for this report is:
Diversity Council Australia (Russell, G., O’Leary, J. and Rozsnyoi, J.) Change At Work: Designing Diversity and Inclusion Differently to Achieve Organisational Change, Diversity Council Australia, 2019.
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So, what is going wrong? How can we do better?
ONLY 6% (less than one in ten) practitioners indicated they used a model of organisational change when designing and implementing D&I initiatives and were able to nominate this.
ONLY 14% often or always implement D&I change initiatives at the team level.
ONLY 17% often or always train staff to develop their change management capabilities.
ONLY 24% often or always investigate organisational readiness for change prior to implementing D&I change initiatives.
ONLY 30% often or always examine past successes and failures
to inform new D&I change initiatives.
ONLY 40% report that their organisation often or always sets
realistic D&I change-related goals.
ONLY 37% of practitioners report that their organisation often or
always monitors and evaluates the impact of its D&I change initiatives.
A Model for D&I Organisational Change
This evidence-based way of approaching D&I organisational change, differs to approaches typically taken by D&I practitioners and change agents. It is cyclic in nature and has four components:
FIRST SWITCH FOR CHANGE: DIAGNOSE THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED
The evidence base shows that conducting a rigorous diagnosis in which data are gathered from different sources (including employees) is critical.
SECOND SWITCH FOR CHANGE: DESIGN D&I CHANGE THAT WORKS
Organisational change that works needs to have realistic specific goals, incorporate evidence-based effective interventions and more.
THIRD SWITCH FOR CHANGE: ENGAGE AND ENABLE STAFF TO LEAD YOUR D&I CHANGE
The scientific evidence indicates that organisational change that works needs to communicate a compelling change vision repetitively and consistently, build staff capability in dealing with change and in D&I and more.
FOURTH SWITCH FOR CHANGE: EMBED AND EVALUATE TO MAKE YOUR D&I CHANGE STICK
Year-on-year change tends to be slow and requires a sustained effort over time. The evidence shows that for change to be sustained over time.