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You Are Here: Navigating Your DEI Roadmap

Updated: Sep 8, 2022



  • Our DEI Integration framework can help you identify where organization is in your company's DEI growth path and what actions make sense for your current reality.

  • Shift from a reactive to a proactive mindset. By planning your organization’s DEI strategy and growth path, you can anticipate what challenges you can expect and create a strategy that is focused and tackles real structural changes.

  • Take an honest look at your organization through your various employees’ eyes and hold yourself accountable to their feedback. When you’re honest in understanding where your company is, you can reap greater progress from the action steps moving forward.


You’ve been attending DEI trainings, reading articles, and trying not only to figure out how to navigate the landscape of DEI but learn how to bring it to your workplace. It can feel overwhelming as every new conversation seems to pile on more new things. If this is where you’re at, rest assured you’re in the right place.

Now is the perfect time to gather your bearings and understand where your organization is on its DEI growth path. Our framework charts this journey into 4 stages of DEI integration: Building Awareness, Gaining Momentum, Structural Transformation, and Sustainable Growth. This model can help you focus efforts and shift your company from a reactive to a proactive approach where DEI is an integrated part of decision making for all employees at all levels.

Building Awareness

Organizations at this stage are building a general awareness for diversity, equity, and inclusion across the company. Interested employees are organizing initiatives and opportunities for others to learn more about how DEI currently impacts interpersonal relationships between employees, the individual experiences of employees, and the processes within the organization.

An organization’s goals at this stage should be centered around building engagement from all employees and establishing a common language around DEI. Both of these parts are critical in establishing an environment that is psychologically safe for employees, especially those of marginalized identities, to trust that they can speak up and be heard.

Actions to Take at This Stage

  • Gather input and feedback from everyone in the organization through surveys

  • Make DEI “real” for people by facilitating courageous conversations where people can share authentically

  • Conduct programming that uplifts, celebrates, and makes space for the perspectives of marginalized communities

  • Host trainings, panels, and events that teach people more about DEI and how it connects to work

  • Organize employees who are passionate about DEI and establish committees and/or employee resource groups

Gaining Momentum

As general openness and interest for DEI grows alongside increased programming and events, employees will look for clear direction and leadership to determine what actions to take next. It’s easy to get stuck at this stage because there is so much to do and everything feels important. With a strong foundation of successful DEI initiatives, you’ll want to begin focusing and aligning the programming that came out of the first stage and cement them as formal structures or programs.

At this stage, it’s important to build capacity for growth and structures that make it easier for employees to invest their time into DEI initiatives. Leadership plays a vital role at this stage to sponsor DEI initiatives, advocate for more resources, and demonstrate that DEI is important for the company. Focus on creating a cohesive vision and plan for how DEI fits into the company’s overall mission and values.

A group whose support is vital at this stage is mid-level leaders and managers; not only are they bridges between senior leadership and the larger employee base, they are critical to execution of your DEI plans. Providing them continued support, such as training, resources, and coaching, can help foster a more strategic mindset they can apply to their day-to-day.

Actions to Take at This Stage

  • Formalize DEI committees and/or employee resource groups

  • Establish structure for DEI programming and track success metrics

  • Facilitate an internal series of presentations to key stakeholders that create awareness for DEI initiatives and demonstrate the business case for DEI at the company

  • Establish a dedicated resource for leaders to turn to when they need help, have questions, want to learn more, feel overwhelmed, or just want to brainstorm ideas for their team

Structural Transformation

Structural transformation is all about system redesign and strategies that drive equity. At this stage, it is important to conduct a comprehensive evaluation across all functions of the business to understand which systemic barriers currently exist, and craft a plan to remove them so that all employees can thrive and support business growth. While it may be difficult or uncomfortable to proactively seek out the barriers holding employees back, removing these obstacles is crucial to actually improving the lives of marginalized communities and creating a work environment that centers inclusion. The only way to reimagine a new way of operating is to approach this stage with intention and prioritize inclusion by design.

Actions to Take at This Stage

  • Conduct a comprehensive DEI audit

  • Address the systemic oppression that impacts your employees, industry, and the communities you operate in

  • Establish DEI goals for each department

  • Continue gathering employee feedback through anonymous surveys, 1-on-1 check ins, and discussions

  • Redistribute power and resources

  • Expand access to information to foster transparency and allow for accountability (i.e. sharing pay data in a job posting or sharing DEI progress with employees)

Sustainable Growth

At this stage, there should be no separation between company goals and DEI goals. Inclusive behavior, humility, and an eagerness to learn are baked into company culture and practiced by employees on all levels. Processes are designed with equity in mind, consistently regulating for unintentional adverse impacts and negative biases in decision making. Transparency is standard practice, especially amongst leadership. It’s important to know that while many strive to reach this stage and have made great progress with DEI, very few organizations are actually here yet.

It’s important to remember that the “ideal state” is a moving target. What was acceptable 20-40 years ago is now outdated. And that is a good thing. It means we are evolving and adapting to meet the changes reflected in the society around us. Change is inevitable and the workforce is growing more diverse, not less. Sustainable growth in DEI requires organizations to keep a pulse on the world around them and embrace a journey of continuous growth.

Actions to Take at This Stage

  • Tackle systemic inequities and promote access and justice in the broader community outside of the company

  • Create space for other women or minority led businesses in the marketplace

  • Stay up to date with current events

  • Network with and learn from other companies about DEI, opening up your company for innovation

  • Continue learning and fostering a growth mindset

No matter where you find yourself in your DEI journey, we commend you on taking bold steps towards equity. Shifting from a reactive approach to a proactive approach will be critical to the successful integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Above all, be honest every time you assess where you and your organization are on this growth path. When you’re honest in understanding where your company is, you’re less likely to cause unintentional harm to those you’re trying to support. You’ll be able to progress with integrity and build longevity in your organization.

Which of these stages sounds like your organization's reality? Take this assessment to find out.

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