Achieving a diverse workplace requires more than a business case; it requires us—both individually and collectively—to question our assumptions and the business practices and policies based on these assumptions. Complicating matters, the terminology itself is interpreted differently by different people and generations and has become political and emotionally charged. Research suggests that a majority of employees consider themselves allies, but don’t know how to be effective in that role—a role that is particularly critical in addressing more subtle but pervasive acts of microagression.
In your second rotation, you are reporting to the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer, who is also the lead consultant for the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion practice. You have been asked to develop a pilot diversity allies program to address these issues. The program will be tested “in house” and, if successful, offered as a service to clients. Specifically, your task is to define the desired group composition (diverse on what basis) and develop a half-day program that guides the group to develop a shared working definition of diversity, identify relevant program success metrics, identify potential challenges and associated training (i.e., conflict management), policies and support networks needed to implement a successful diversity allies program.