Insights from the SHRMInclusion Conference San Diego

Thank you to my friends and colleagues for making the SHRMInclusion conference such a meaningful and engaging event. It was a fabulous opportunity to learn and share. From the Fireside Chat with Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks to our session Driving Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Impact, the key message is that DEI is a leadership and strategic priority. While there are many success stories, such as Hershey reaching pay equity in the U.S., we are still on our JEDI journeys. Thank you to Dr. Fiona Jamison, CEO of Spring International, and Erika White, Manager of DI&B, Amtrak for sharing the stage and for their insightful comments during our session 

Here are a few of my key takeaways:

1. Make DEI a Strategic Initiative

In my book, Driving Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, I discuss the JEDI Continuum, which is a DEI maturity model. The model provides a guide for leadership to identify where they are in their organizational JEDI transformation. Based on the maturity level an effective long-term strategy for transformation is developed.

2. Leadership must lead the way

Driving JEDI requires that leadership is fully engaged across the organization. It is on the Board and C-Suite agendas, and it is cascaded throughout the organizations. The lens must include both external and internal stakeholders.

3. Build a JEDI Culture

Gathering key stakeholders’ voices is crucial to understanding how your organization is viewed by employees, community, partners, and others. Drill deep to understand what is valued by your organization’s stakeholders. Focus on how those values impact decision making, resource allocation, opportunities, promotions, investments and all aspects of operations. Once these systems are identified, the process of transformation begins.

4. Transform People, Process, and Policies

Take the time to peel back the layers on your recruitment, people development, leadership pipeline and opportunities allocation processes.  Collaborate cross-functionally to investigate policies and processes and ensuring that they are equitable and inclusive. Once you understand where you are and how you want to change, leverage tools that are appropriate for your organization’s DEI maturity model to drive transformation.

5. Leverage Data and People Analytics

Gathering and understanding data is crucial to the process. HCM data often provides the first level of information around representation. During our panel discussion,  Fiona, Erika and I discussed how often HRIS data is inaccurate. Investing in data quality and technology to derive meaningful people analytics and  support decision making is a crucial step. While AI is a useful tool and can be very effective in de-biasing decision making, people leaders must follow best practices around selecting and using these tools to avoid baked in bias. NYC enacted legislation requiring employers to perform audits ensuring their AI tools are not resulting in discriminatory outcomes.

6. Form Partnerships and Engage Community

Authentically engaging with community partners is fundamental to the JEDI transformation process. Listening is a crucial step in this process to build meaningful and impactful relationships with community leaders. For those who have read my book, Driving Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, I feature IBM’s P-TECH schools public-private partnership as a case study on driving JEDI impact.

Each organization is on its own JEDI journey and focusing on your strategic priorities will guide your areas of focus and priority. We are in a time of disruption with the opportunity to change our organizations to reflect authentic equity and justice for all.