The first strategic plan I was responsible for writing took place several years ago while working for a Fortune 500 consumer and health care manufacturer. Our talent management functions operated in a separate and “siloed” manner. Our evolving business goals and desire for higher performance required a transition to integrated talent management. An integrated function is meant to help the business meet the human capital needs of the corporate strategy. As a result, an explicit talent strategy and workforce plan are key to ensuring that talent management activities are aligned with the business. Each talent function; recruitment, onboarding, development, retention, succession planning are aligned with each other, and operate as an integrated machine.
I first learned about strategic planning while earning my Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management at the New York Institute of Technology’s (NYIT). Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to strategic planning, the highly respected consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has found that the organizations that get the most benefit from their strategic-planning activities have four things in common:
- They explore strategy at distinct time horizons.
- They constantly reinvent and stimulate the strategic dialogue.
- They engage the broad organization.
- They invest in execution and monitoring.
I incorporated these BCG best practices into my Integrated Talent Management strategic plan, as well as McKinsey & Company’s How to Improve Strategic Planning recommendations.
The planning document was approved and activated by my senior executives and implemented over a two year period, with the desired results. An integrated strategic talent management operation aligned with the corporate goals. Since then, I’ve used the same approach to write; Leadership Development Strategic Plans, and of course, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plans.
WRITING YOUR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION STRATEGIC PLAN
FOUR (4) MAIN COMPONENTS
Strategic plans for equity, inclusion, and diversity should include the following four components:
A brief overview of the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity to fulfilling the mission of the organization, unit or department and a short description of the process to develop the strategic plan.
2. Unit/Divisional/Departmental Self-Assessment
A set of reflections on the organization’s current strengths, challenges, opportunities, and needs in relation to equity, inclusion, and diversity issues, lessons learned from past efforts that have influenced your strategic planning process, and the data collection tools and gaps that affect your ability to be most effective in these areas.
3. Goals, Strategies, and Metrics
A concrete set of aspirational goals and strategies, along with metrics or indicators for measuring progress over the next 3 to 5 years.
4. Implementation Plan
A work plan for the organization that describes the responsibilities and steps to be taken within a specific timeline to implement the strategies and achieve the goals laid out in the plan. Like any cross- functional change initiative the Planning Process requires a Planning Team, Assessment Data, Vision, Buy-in, Plan Adoption with Ongoing Organizational Communication and Support.
SIX (6) STRATEGIC PLAN PROCESSES
STEP ONE: Map Out Planning Process
- Form planning team
- Organize and launch planning process with Equity and Inclusion planning staff
STEP TWO: Gather Data and Conduct Assessment
- Gather and analyze departmental data
- Conduct Self-Assessment – identify strengths, gaps, and needs
STEP THREE: Develop Vision, Set Goals, Strategies and Metrics
- Articulate the aspirations of your organization on equity, inclusion, and diversity
- Develop concrete goals, strategies, and metrics for the next 3 to 5 years
STEP FOUR: Review Plan with Senior Management
- Share your plan with Senior Management and discuss key points of partnership and institutional support.
STEP FIVE: Adopt Plan and Communicate Vision to Stakeholders
- Share your plan and aspirational goals with all stakeholders and develop ongoing communications about its implementation and progress
STEP SIX: Implement Plan
- Launch internal work plan with benchmarks, deliverables, and organizational support
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION STRATEGIC PLAN EXAMPLES:
Here a few examples of effective D & I strategic plans for your consideration:
- Food and Drug Administration 2018-2021
- Austin Health 2015-2020
- Aurora Healthcare 2017-2018
MORE BEST PRACTICES INFORMATION
The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) provides a comprehensive list of recommendations and resources to craft your diversity & inclusion strategic plan.
Establishing a diversity & inclusion strategic plan and incorporating it into overall corporate culture has many benefits. When a strategic D&I plan is in place it provides a foundation for building equity and inclusion into all programs and services in a systematic and integrated way to become part of the organization’s culture, which includes:
- A way for the workforce, volunteers, partners and consumers to be ‘champions’ of diversity and inclusion because real, tangible goals and actions are outlined and monitored for progress to achieve results.
- A greater opportunity to tap into the strengths of the workforce. According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers and 57 percent of employees think their companies should be more diverse. This means that companies that implement a diversity and inclusion program are more likely to attract top talent.