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Taking Action on the “I” in DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By Calvin Burton, Development and Donor Relations Manager, cburton@communityhometrust.org.

 

Everyone wants to feel like they “belong” somewhere. Whether that’s at home, with friends, or at work, people want to feel included and heard, and they want to know their contributions matter in relation to the bigger picture. At Community Home Trust, we value inclusion and are committed to making others feel like they belong here, with us. Whether that’s our homeowners, tenants, or volunteers, YOU matter and your opinion is important to us. 

But how do we know if we’re doing a good job? Inclusivity or measuring another person’s sense of belonging at work is no short order! Not even for large, well-resourced companies. It involves lots of surveying, active listening, self-reflection, vigilance, and of course, process change. Not to mention, getting started on what to measure beyond quantitative data like race, age, etc. and its impacts on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs is still relatively new for most businesses and that includes nonprofits.  

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Conference presented by the Triangle Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Alliance in partnership with Bank of America. The two-day conference was jammed with inspirational speakers, focused group discussions, and actions plans to support local nonprofits’ DEI efforts. Most notably, day two of this stellar conference was all about — you guessed it — measuring DEI impact.  

That morning’s panel discussion highlighted the importance of collecting data (quantitative and qualitative), developing a strategy, and creating a roadmap to be able to evaluate your organization’s DEI success and its failures. What’s the old adage? “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” That is why it’s crucial to take the time to identify key performance indicators for inclusion at your organization. We all must. But it can be hard to know where to start.  

Here’s a few key takeaways from my time with Triangle DEI Alliance, Bank of America, and guests:  

  • Measure for Equality. Does everyone have the same opportunities with respect to promotions or pay? Are you building a culture of trust through transparency?  
  • Measure for Openness. How are mistakes handled by leaders at your organization? How are problems resolved? Are staff members able to provide anonymous and safe feedback? 
  • Measure for Belonging. Do your diverse staff members feel connected to the organization? Do they feel safe to show up and interact as their authentic selves? Does your organization have a strong sense of community where everyone feels welcome? 
  • Tell Your DEI Story. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Talk about your successes and challenges with staff, partners, and investors. No one expects you to be perfect at creating a sense of belongingness but they expect you to try. 

The presenters encouraged us take time to check in with our colleagues, employees, and other stakeholders. It’s not enough to just bring diverse people and ideas to the table. For folks to feel included, it’s important to constantly check in. LISTEN to people. Ask how they are feeling about the job or project and if they feel valued. Create your DEI success roadmap and be sure to check out the Triangle DEI Alliance for more resources. 

Follow our blog to see what the CHT Team learns from one another on our next DEI activity – the Virtual Privilege Walk!  

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HUGE thanks to all the sponsors that made this conference a reality. Thank you for helping make our community stronger through DEI! If you are interested in supporting CHT’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, please contact me at cburton@communityhometrust.org to learn more!