In my last blog, I outlined some steps you could take on your journey to better Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in your organisation (you can read that here). As promised, I wanted to share some experiences of being on Step 6 of the journey at Reading Voluntary Action (RVA). We have been discussing our priorities so that we can put actions in place to create real, effective, everlasting change.
An open, honest dialogue
Having open, honest dialogue can be challenging at the best of times but even more so when all our current conversations are virtually through a screen. These can be further affected depending on how long you have been at an organisation and how well you know the person’s intentions who is leading the work. Communicating intentions for future discussions in group meetings and sending clear, consistent messages (both verbally and in writing) can help with the current situation we are all faced with.
For our priorities, staff were assigned to a priority based on my knowledge of their current work, expertise, or an interest they had shown through previous individual discussions with them or through their feedback in their questionnaires (step 4). This can be more effective in smaller organisations when you have a personal link to each staff member, which may not always be the case for varying reasons. However, there are options for creating this in bigger organisations by asking staff what they want this to look like and how they want to proceed. Once you have established that open and honest space, this allows people to speak candidly about their views. This can range from things that have gone on before, things they are doing well and are going well and things that can be developed and improved. This is an opportunity to recognise all of those aspects and to engage in meaningful conversations.
Feedback is key because if people feel like they can share their ideas and thoughts and their voice will be heard, this can be really powerful in empowering everyone to self-reflect and think about how they can improve inclusivity in their own role. Be prepared to take on feedback and use this to move forward, as well as outline when this is not possible. Ideally, it may be possible in the future or when a new priority is being worked on, but not everything can be done the way we may all want it and this needs to be recognised. Creating actions for a priority and having active ways to move forward allows everyone to work towards purposeful outcomes. Ultimately, this is what we want when we are discussing and developing our actions because ‘if something is tangible, it is clear enough or definite enough to be easily seen, felt, or noticed’. (Reverso Dictionary). Therefore, tangible actions are going to create that change and truly reflect inclusive attitudes and practices in your organisation.
Agreeing outcomes and celebrating successes
It is vitally important to document this feedback and agree outcomes and milestones so that everyone has a clear picture of where the work is and where it is intended to go. Measures of success also need to be decided to measure successes against. These may be developed and be decided during the ongoing process or they may be decided at the start. Again, this can vary depending on which priorities you choose and how easily these can be measured. For example, it is easier to measure data in contrast to developing learning. It is important to focus on what works best for your organisation currently and this may adapt as time goes on, people become more confident and priorities change. Celebrating successes is really important as well. Small steps to success can be shared in the groups that are working on them before there are concrete changes and evidence to share with the whole organisation.
Get in touch
If you are currently on this step or any others along your journey and would like any support and guidance, please do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and look out for further blogs about the process. More information can also be found on our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion page.