Building a Diversity and Inclusion Road Map stumps many organisations

Many organisations struggle to design a Diversity and Inclusion Road Map. Follow these basic steps to set you in the right direction 

Diversity and Inclusion have become buzz words in today’s workplace but, despite the hype, progress is slow. Many look for a tool kit and road map to support their organisations in its move towards a gender balanced and inclusive business. Research from Josh Bersin at Deloitte suggests gender balanced and diverse organisations generate high level of returns in three main areas: talent, financial management and operations. Companies exhibiting higher levels of inclusivity are also better able to navigate ambiguity and be innovation leaders.

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Diversity and Inclusion definitions

These are words that mean different things for different people. Within 3Plus we have the following understanding:

Diversity: Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity personality type, language abilities, physical ability, educational level, socio-economic background, cross-cultural competency and perspective, learning differences.

Inclusion: The creation of a professional and working environment that creates opportunities for all to come to work as their authentic selves to realise their potential.

5 steps to designing a Diversity and Inclusion Road Map

Diversity and Inclusion road map

STEP 1: GROUND WORK: Establish the meaning of D & I for your organisation

Before a D & I initiative can be properly implemented, certain basic data needs to be properly anchored. Your organisation needs to:

  • Create a data-backed understanding of your organisation in relation to key groups (gender, age, physical capacity, language, nationality etc). Know your numbers.
  • Characterise the culture of your organisation via quantitative data (usually the dominant senior group: gender, educational level, physical attributes, personality type etc). Understand who succeeds in your current organisation, as well as why and how.
  • Decide how you will measure success.
  • Identify where you have churn or sticking points (the so-called marzipan layer).
  • Agree which demographics you wish to target for improvement (gender, language, age, physical capacity etc).

STEP 2: Increase visibility and Raise Awareness

  • Create a task force led by a senior and well-respected executive reporting directly to the CEO. It should not be a non-operational, side-line role.
  • Provide platforms and networks for minority groups to air their concerns and challenges.
  • Highlight and feature role models in under-represented groups.
  • Support mentoring programs as a first step.

STEP 3: Create a sustainable D & I Road Map

  • Set D & I goals and communicate them widely in the organisation as part of an internal employer branding message.
  • Evaluate all talent management processes – sourcing, attraction, recruiting, promoting as well as attrition and retention.
  • Identify pain points for bias.
  • Introduce unconscious bias training for all employees, including the CEO and Board.

STEP 4 Set consistent targets and ensure accountability

  • Develop a dashboard and score cards to measure success. Keep a watchful eye on middle managers, the resistant demographic. Organisations are only as good as the worst behaviour they are prepared to tolerate.
  • Set KPIs to promote inclusive leadership.
  • Create succession plans for under-represented groups based on skill-set and head-count projections.
  • Create a sponsorship program and competence training.
  • Incorporate D & I objectives in all business plans.
  • Modify all talent management processes to make them inclusive. This includes recruitment, candidate identification, interview processes and promotion criteria.

STEP 5: Build an inclusive culture

  • Make an inclusive culture part of your Employer Brand and promote it widely.
  • Audit all organisational activities for inclusiveness, bias and stereotyping e.g. marketing, events, meetings, incentives, travel expectation, documentation etc.
  • Create a bias-conscious culture where it is acceptable and normal to raise the question of bias in a constructive way.
  • Insist on inclusivity for all elements of your business. This can include conference participation and sponsorship, advertising and avoiding “manels”. The recent backlash against Unilever’s Dove advert, a company committed to diversity shows how easy it is for bias to slip through the net unchecked.
  • Lead by example. Walk the talk at a senior level and reward positive responses at Middle Management.
  • Measure and publicise your success.


If you want to implement your Diversity and Inclusion Road Map  Contact 3Plus international


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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