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Crucial actions for leaders who want to address systemic racism and other forms of discrimination

Different colour markers connected together in circles. The image is photographed from above so only the tops of the lids are visible. The table they're on is wood. It looks like two rainbow circles, one inside the other.

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Institutionalizing diversity, equity and inclusion within workplaces, community services, and policy and planning processes requires the committed dedication of resources. Today’s society is rapidly changing.

Given the multifaceted needs that arise as a result of this demographic complexity, it is important that various sectors respond accordingly and take deliberate action to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to succeed and thrive – at home, at work and everywhere in between.

This means consistently allocating appropriate resources to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Why it’s a good idea to dedicate resources to DEI work

  • It is a tangible articulation of a meaningful commitment to DEI; rather than actions being taken on a reactionary basis, this commitment to institutionalization generates more visibility to the change process
  • It acknowledges the structural/systemic barriers to equity and inclusion
  • It enhances the sustainability of programs, projects, initiatives; after all, embedding DEI into systems is a long-term process which yields long-term results
  • It is an efficient use of resources, skills and infrastructure; it allows for easier and more strategic decision making, priority setting, and resource expenditure
  • It catalyzes behavior change within organizations and within communities
  • It creates everyday accountability for decision-making, strategic planning and priority setting
  • It makes an otherwise complex and large-scale change process more manageable

Six actions leaders can take to start to address systemic racism and oppression

  1. Dedicate financial resources
    Invest in training opportunities, strategic planning around DEI, internal research/data collection, and the development of supportive organizational infrastructure; think about what can be allocated from your existing budget; if financial resources are limited, think about alternative funding sources.
  2. Invest in human capital
    Ensure there is some leadership infrastructure in place to move forward on issues; create a department and/or dedicate personnel to the work; form employee resource groups to create visibility around DEI issues.
  3. Set time aside
    Make DEI a strategic priority; dedicate time to having conversations about the issues, ensuring the work gets reported on and moves forward
  4. Commit to the change process
    In order for DEI to be embedded in a system, individuals must commit to the change agenda; other resources are more easily allocated when a firm commitment to action has been made.
  5. Collaborate with others
    The dedication of resources to DEI does not always require reinventing the wheel! It is important to tap into existing resources and build upon them.
  6. Dedicate resources to evidence-informed programming
    Think about what resources will ensure diverse, equitable, and inclusive programming that is also evidence-based; what data would be helpful; what infrastructure is necessary

It is important to ask: WHAT are some strategies for dedicating resources to DEI in different contexts?

Resources for building DEI come in many shapes and sizes and can be distributed in various ways. Irrespective of the kind of resource or method of allocation chosen, it is important to remember that in order to ensure that everyone can achieve their full potential, purposefully dedicating resources to the change process is crucial.

Do you need more help? Consider if one of our services could help you institutionalize diversity, equity and inclusion at your organization.