Not-for-profit organizations, like all businesses, are placing greater value on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). They recognize that employees’ unique experiences, backgrounds and perspectives are increasingly important in attracting and retaining a motivated workforce. Not-for-profits appreciate that a diverse team allows them to better respond to their constituents and fulfill their mission.
The most meaningful DEI practices are grounded in deliberate strategy and thoughtful planning. Everyday actions are most successful when they’re based on clear and relevant goals.
Start with SMART
Most organizational leaders are aware of the SMART process for setting goals. This standard says that for goals to be effective, they need to be:
Specific: Each goal should include details about who, what, why, and how it will be accomplished. By making goals specific, everyone knows exactly what is expected.
Measurable: Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Measurability is key. Make sure you can measure progress toward your goal, whether it’s a dollar figure, a percentage change, or a certain number of volunteers, donors, or event participants. Measurability also lets you set small goals that lead to attaining a large goal, which can help keep morale and enthusiasm high.
Attainable: There’s no sense in setting goals so lofty that they’re impossible to reach. When goals are difficult but attainable, your team will make real progress and continue to be motivated.
Relevant: Choose goals that matter to the success of the company and your employees and that inspire your colleagues. Goals that result in meaningful change will garner the support necessary to see them through to completion.
Time-bound: Schedules and deadlines create a sense of urgency and help motivate people to reach their goals. When you set a firm start date, target end date, and interim progress check-in dates, you create accountability.
Add the “IE”
SMART goals drive results. Adding the “I” and the “E” ensure that your goals also stimulate the changes that DEI initiatives are meant to encourage. This moves DEI from aspirational to actionable and becomes part of your mission.
Inclusive: The idea is to bring traditionally marginalized or excluded people and groups into processes, activities, and decision-making in ways that share power.
Equitable: Adding an element of fairness or justice can help address systemic issues of injustice, inequity, or oppression.
For those accustomed to the SMART paradigm, it takes some practice to incorporate the “I” and “E.” But here’s a way to think about it: Who should be involved in accomplishing this goal so that the outcome is influenced in a meaningful way?
For example, if you have a hiring goal, consider adding a diversity component to identify candidates of color or from diverse backgrounds. This might be accomplished by using new recruiting methods or partners or by including a deliberately diverse team to craft job descriptions or conduct interviews. You don’t want token participation; you want influence.
If you have a goal that involves community building, consider adding success criteria requiring that the effort results in representation. This includes race, age, gender, and so on. Inclusivity and equity are made tangible when these types of requirements are engineered into organizational goals.
Working DEI into goal setting and organizational strategy is a great approach. As the workforce and not-for-profit environment changes, so, too, should planning processes. Moving from SMART to SMARTIE is a smart way to begin.
The professionals at Dembo Jones are ready to help you create a planning process that works best for your organization. Contact us to learn more.