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  • Writer's pictureRobin Prospect

A framework for diversity, equity & inclusion at work

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

I spent some time writing a framework for organisations that really want to embed the values of equity, inclusion and diversity into their ways of working. The intention is to articulate why the work is important, and how it can be done in a way that bridges divides, rather than deepening them. I view inequality as systemic. People are not the problem, but everyone needs to be part of the solution.

I would love to hear your comments, critiques and suggestions. If you find the framework helpful, you are free to use any or all of it. This version of my framework includes improvements made by James Jenkins of Kaleidoscope Health & Care.

If this is useful as a starting point, I recommend as a next step digging deep into how the principles play out in your sector. As an example, I love this roadmap from On Our Radar: "Shifting the Power: a manifesto for journalism". I think this brilliantly shows a deep understanding of how issues of power and privilege show up in their industry, and achieves a balance between clarity of principles and zooming in on key practical implications.

Principles for a diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation

  1. An organisation is nothing without people. This includes the people who are part of the organisation, and any intended beneficiaries of the organisation’s work.

  2. Every person is worthy of respect and care, simply because of their personhood.

  3. Every person has the right to honour their own values. Shared values are important to us and they create our culture. Diversity has the potential to make what we do more creative, impactful and beautiful.

  4. We live and work in systems that support some values and suppress other values. The same systems have oppressed people based on characteristics including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

  5. We want to influence these systems so that people receive equal respect and care, regardless of differences in our characteristics or values.

  6. The people with the most truth about how systems are oppressing people and values are those who are negatively impacted by those systems. Therefore, in order to identify the impact and move towards equitable outcomes, those who are empowered by current systems need to collaborate with those who are not.

  7. Effective collaboration is difficult within inequitable systems and must be actively supported by those with the power to enable it.

  8. We all have a responsibility to create the organisation we want to work in.

Actions for a diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation

  1. Support people of all identities, differences and perspectives to express what matters to them to be their whole selves, to listen to each other and to resolve conflict effectively.

  2. Continually develop one another’s understanding of issues of power, privilege and systemic oppression. Be alert to and track signs that systems are prioritising certain values or identities over others, in ways that impact the diversity, equity and inclusivity of the organisation and our work. These may not be the latest issues to get attention in the media. For example, individuals have insights about their personal experience before this becomes visible at the system level.

  3. Ensure that people who are personally affected by these unfair systems determine our intentions and actions to tackle them. In doing so, focus on what is within our control and/or influence and avoid creating the roles of victim, persecutor and rescuer (the drama triangle), which do not promote equity. Where we have an absence of voices representing a group that is disadvantaged by a system or individuals do not wish to contribute, do our best to engage the expertise of those who can speak about the experience of that group.

  4. Be explicit about our stance on these unfair systems, our intentions and actions to influence them, and any limitations on what we can do ("DEI strategy").

If your purpose-driven organisation is looking for support with diversity, equity and inclusion strategy or implementation, please feel free to book a chat with me.

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