5 Tried & True Tips to Increase Stakeholder Engagement with Your DE&I Strategy

The case for advancing workplace race equity is both compelling and urgent. But no matter how committed we are to the principles of DE&I, we can’t achieve our goals alone. Making the changes we want to see — in a sustainable manner — can only ever be a team effort.

One of the first tasks for anyone committed to improving racial equity in their organisation is to generate genuine buy-in from all of the major stakeholders. Stakeholders who have been sincerely convinced about the merits of improved diversity become powerful allies. Helping to smooth the path to progress.

But how can we best demonstrate the value of DE&I efforts? We need to increase stakeholder engagement by talking to them in their own language and according to their own priorities. That’s something we go into detail on in our latest report, ‘Racial Equity in the Workplace’ — and here are the headlines…

5 ways to get stakeholder engagement with your DE&I and racial equity strategy

There’s no shortage of arguments in favour of improving diversity and racial equity. However, busy stakeholders may not have the time to listen to them all. Here are our top 5 ways to create maximum stakeholder engagement as easily, and instantly, as possible.

1. Understand what makes stakeholders tick

Before pitching your case to a major stakeholder, it’s important to understand what’s going to matter to them most. This means thinking about the challenges they need to overcome and how they are likely to measure success.

This will be different for each stakeholder. Your CEO, for example, may find that they spend so much time seeking solutions for existing problems that they miss the opportunity to avoid future challenges.

To convince your CEO, highlight how making progress on your DE&I goals will help avert problems before they emerge on the horizon. Great Resignation slowing down productivity? Improving DE&I — and inclusivity, especially — can stop upward attrition trends in their tracks.

Your HR manager is another essential person to have on board to achieve your DE&I objectives. They know that they set the tone for how your organisation deals with issues of diversity, which can be a lot of pressure.

To convince your HR manager, emphasise how your DE&I goals create clarity and reduce the chances of them getting it ‘wrong’ when it comes to diversity.

2. Give stakeholders the DE&I data that will excite them the most

Once you understand what motivates each of your stakeholders, you can find the right kind of DE&I data to really get them engaged. Again, your aim is to find the most compelling evidence for each stakeholder. Once you have their attention, they’ll be more receptive to continuing the conversation and increasing stakeholder engagement.

Data to catch your CEO’s attention might include the fact that there has been a 48% increase in racial discrimination claims in employment tribunals in 2020. That’s something every business wants to avoid.

To take a more positive note, you could point out that companies with high levels of ethnic diversity (top quartile) outperformed those in the lowest quartile by 36%.

Your HR manager might respond better to evidence that DE&I efforts will make it easier to hire and retain top talent. Explaining that poor diversity and inclusion has led 42% of Black employees in the UK to leave a job makes this case convincingly.

3. Connect with stakeholders emotionally

Although we want our stakeholders to understand the business case behind your DE&I plans. It’s valuable to get their emotional buy-in as well as their intellectual agreement.

This is about making the ethical case for diversity and racial equity. When stakeholders believe that what they are doing is right, rather than just profitable, their efforts are redoubled.

Many stakeholders don’t understand the true extent of racial inequity within their organisation. This is often the biggest obstacle you face when trying to build an emotional commitment to racial equity and diversity.

Using dedicated focus groups allows employees to open up about their experiences of racism and racial inequity, and can provide the kind of personal, first-hand accounts that your stakeholders can connect with.

4. Give them a clear picture of how you’ll create change

It’s difficult for stakeholders to really commit to your DE&I goals if they can’t see a clear path to achieve them. Helping your stakeholders understand how you’re going to make progress allows them to commit to your efforts with confidence.

It can be beneficial to demonstrate how your efforts will be carefully targeted and cost-effective. A tailored training program, like the ones created by FLAIR, ensures that you are focusing your initiatives on targeted areas where they will have the most impact.

Having clear, measurable objectives lets your stakeholders know exactly what changes you are proposing, how you are hoping to achieve those changes, and how you can demonstrate that your efforts have been effective. This creates confidence.

5. Keep feeding stakeholders new data to show what’s changing within your organisation — and what impact your efforts are having

Stakeholder engagement isn’t something to be taken for granted. It can take significant effort to gain buy-in from all of your key stakeholders and, once you’ve succeeded, it’s essential that you devote time and energy to maintaining their enthusiasm.

Regular updates on the success of your DE&I efforts can go a long way to keeping your key stakeholders motivated. With both regular race equity surveys and a dynamic dashboard to help put your data into context, FLAIR can give you all the support you need to maintain your DE&I momentum.

Buy-in, from your stakeholders and across your organisation more generally, is key to the success of your DE&I strategies. To help, we’ve created a dedicated resource containing more of the most powerful strategies to develop and retain engagement with issues of racial equity across your organisation.

Download it for free today.

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