3 Ways Your Assocation Can Help Your Industry Become a Leader in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Previous years have highlighted the importance of having a DEI strategy for all organizations, but 2021 is shaping into the year where discussing and strategizing need to convert into action plans. ASAE has done a great job at educating our industry on the importance of DEI and if you haven't already, I encourage you to review their 2019-2021 DEI Strategic Plan as a model for your association. Whether you’ve created one for your association or not, one thing you should focus on in 2021 is how you can educate your members and staff on DEI. Most organizations don’t know where to start and this is where your leadership comes into play as the beehive of knowledge for your industry.
1. Hire Experts
We can’t stress this enough. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is changing constantly and there is no way without having a DEI expert on staff to stay up to date on the latest and greatest. Don’t believe us? Just look at the name change itself. Until last year, we all called it Diversity and Inclusion but now, Equity is a mainstay in the name. However, most associations can’t afford a full time DEI staff member. So, we suggest hiring an educated DEI consultant to come in for a series of sessions where they can walk your members through setting up their own DEI strategies at their organizations. There are so many facets to DEI, you should plan to dedicate more than one session to this topic. Most of us think of race and gender when we think of DEI, but the truth is it’s much more than that. In this recent article on CNBC, they discuss how COVID-19 has affected older Americans finding employment. DEI is a complicated topic, and hiring an expert consultant for your education is a must.
2. Walk the Walk
While you are educating your members on DEI, educate your staff as well and ensure you have a solid plan in place. Encourage your entire staff to sit in on the DEI education you are providing for your members. Many times, we are so busy setting up the education and ensuring everything goes as planned, that we forget the education is good for us also. By ensuring you have a solid DEI plan in place and are actually utilizing it, will reinforce the importance of this topic to your members. Your members will notice your initiatives and efforts and can learn from those.
3. Utilize DEI Technology
I was listening to a DEI conversation on CNBC and one of the speakers stated, “Math Doesn’t Lie.” I can’t recall who the panelist was, but that statement made an impact on my thoughts on DEI. We can discuss strategies to make people feel included, but at the end of the day, we need to measure DEI to ensure we are making progress. The only way to do this, is to measure our DEI initiatives. The ASAE 2019-2021 DEI Strategic Plan that we discussed earlier, also places emphasis on this. One of their 4 key themes is: Formal Benchmarking and Informal Data Driven Dialog. The simplest way for your members and your association to get going is to create a set of metrics and begin measuring DEI using technology. This gives you a starting point and allows something for boards to review from a metric standpoint annually. And as we all know, when we have the numbers ready in case of legal action or new laws enacted by Congress, it puts us ahead of the game.
Dynamic Benchmarking has partnered with some of the brightest DEI experts in the business to create a DEI platform that your association can offer as a member benefit. With our experts, we have developed a bank of questions that allows us to quickly launch your DEI initiative. Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your members on the DEI journey.