Building a sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy requires work across your organization. This means looking at all business decisions, processes, policies and practices through a DEI lens, says Brian Lamb, former Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase.
“Driving long-term change must include product development, service delivery, representation at higher levels, and a commitment to innovate and grow,” he says.
A mature, sustainable DEI strategy is more than a long-term strategy, Lamb says, and should include:
“Mature doesn’t in any way mean you are done improving and amplifying impact,” Lamb says. So it’s especially important to evaluate your work with a focus on three elements: data, transparency and accountability.
Data is the building block for your DEI strategy and critical to measuring your progress.
DEI strategies should feature:
Numbers can tell the story of your company’s current DEI initiatives and their progress, making them a good measure of your goals.
For example, JPMorgan Chase’s DEI strategy focuses on four areas:
“We can point to specific impact metrics for each focus area,” Lamb says. “For example, the loans we provide for minority- and women-owned businesses tie to business growth and entrepreneurship, and the affordable housing financing ties to community development.”
Data and key performance indicators (KPIs) can help your organization answer questions such as:
Qualitative data can be especially important when examining the equity and inclusion aspects of your strategy.
“We think it’s important to be data-driven, but it is equally helpful to understand how employees feel,” Lamb says. Look for feedback on questions about diverse team members’ experiences at your company, such as:
Answers to questions like these can help your organization see where it has a chance to increase employees’ sense of belonging. There are many ways to gauge how employees and clients alike feel about your business, including feedback from listening sessions with employee resource groups and community organizations.
You should provide key stakeholders with a line of sight into your work, as you would with any other area of your business, regularly reporting on your progress, commitments and performance with stakeholders.
Integrating your DEI strategy into natural business cycles can help you better align your strategy with the business, Lamb says. It also presents an opportunity to assess your work alongside your company’s other strategic priorities.
How you share DEI data and progress is up to you. JPMorgan Chase, for example, recently provided a public update on its five-year, $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity—one year into the effort—and plans to share updates annually. You can also share DEI data and progress via your shareholders letter and annual environmental, social and governance (ESG) reports or other communications.
"Businesses can’t define themselves as mature unless they’re able to demonstrate that they use data to inform their strategies and priorities, inspect their progress, and hold their leaders accountable."
Organizations should hold themselves accountable for achieving DEI objectives.
You may want to ask yourself questions about your organization’s structure and metrics, such as:
“Businesses can’t define themselves as mature unless they’re able to demonstrate that they use data to inform their strategies and priorities, inspect their progress, and hold their leaders accountable,” Lamb says.
If you want to implement a sustainable, comprehensive DEI program, you should treat it like any other part of the business. Work to set goals and tie them to action plans, timelines and metrics. Examine data to inform your trajectory and how you’re performing against expectations. Focus on transparency when examining your progress, commitments and performance—especially with your stakeholders: employees, clients and communities.
© 2021 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All rights reserved. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visit jpmorgan.com/cb-disclaimer for full disclosures and disclaimers related to this content.