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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: 04 Taking your strategy forwards

Appoint one senior person to lead the work and monitor progress over time. Keep communication open and review your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy regularly – be prepared to change adapt and evolve. 

Improving DE&I is a long-term commitment, initial enthusiasm can quickly turn to cynicism if the plan is not implemented and if the team are not updated regularly on the progress.

Ensure one senior leader is accountable for the strategy and visible for people to discuss their perspective, ideas or challenges.

Creating a culture of inclusion is critical and this starts with openness, honesty and availability.

Setting targets

Set short, mid and long-term targets and ensure these are realistic. Determine how your targets will be tracked. How will you monitor diversity over time? Regular anonymous employee surveys can be a useful tool for understanding how attitudes are changing. You may find it helpful to use an external provider to action these to bring expertise and an assurance of anonymity for the team.

Maintaining engagement

Consider creating a working group or steering committee, which includes a wide range of employees. A DE&I plan that is broadly owned and feels democratic is more likely to succeed than a top-down approach. Allow realistic time for initiatives to embed. Be aware however, that after the initial enthusiasm it can take concerted effort to keep people engaged and ensure that initiatives are maintained.

Take stock regularly and be prepared for setbacks. It can take time for issues to emerge and for people to feel comfortable voicing their concerns. Don’t worry if it occasionally feels you are moving backwards. Keeping an open mind and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will, over time, enhance the culture and creative output of your agency.

Training programmes

There are many actions you will take to drive DE&I within your business. Training will not be the only action, but it is likely to feature in most strategic plans. The specific training you choose will depend on your type of company and the strategy you choose. The types of training you may consider could include:

  • Unconscious bias.
  • Leadership training – how to be inclusive and fair.
  • Cultural sensitivity.
  • Understanding sexual orientation and gender identities.
  • Allyship.

Evolving your strategy

Regularly review your strategy; what works now may not feel right in the future. Understand what your people are saying, how clients are evolving and see if there are learnings from other businesses.

It is important to get started on DE&I, but equally important to acknowledge that our thinking develops, and the plan may need to evolve over time.

This guide was produced by the DBA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council – a group of experienced individuals drawn from across the DBA membership, working to strengthen DE&I in the design industry to create a diverse community whose instinct is to design for all. Through a commitment to DE&I and inclusive design, we can all contribute to a more welcoming, responsive and accommodating world.

Every business is different. These pages are a guide to key principles and best practice. They are designed to signpost you towards the types of resources that could help your business on its DE&I journey, but they are no substitute for working with an experienced, expert specialist who can fully understand your business and offer tailored advice.

These guides do not constitute legal advice and the DBA signposts to sources of other advice and information as a guide only.


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