Managing Change for Authentic Inclusion

by Anita Jack-Davies – April 2019

People do not like change! In the workplace, change can create a tremendous amount of anxiety. Yet, change is something that we must manage when working to make workplaces more inclusive. According to Kreitz (2007), best practices in the field of diversity management demonstrate that organizations are successful when:

  • Leaders are committed to the issue
  • Diversity is aligned to the organization’s strategic plan
  • Diversity is linked to performance (at all levels of the organization)
  • Diversity programs and initiatives are measured
  • Compensation and assessment of leaders is linked to the success of diversity initiatives
  • A plan is in place to identify, attract, and recruit a diverse talent pool
  • A plan is in place to promote qualified, diverse applicants
  • The organization is committed to educating and training staff and senior leaders in the area of diversity

Employee resistance to change is a barrier to achieving your inclusion goals. Leaders ought to consider how to implement effective change management strategies since, for many employees, the terms “equity”, “diversity” and “inclusion” (EDI) often mean that they must change personally. In addition to personal change, EDI signals change to teams, units, departments, divisions and the organization itself.

Change management refers to “a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams and organizations from a current state to a desired future state, to fulfill or implement a vision and strategy” (Ryerson University, 2011, p. 4). Change management involves empowering employees to actively embrace and accept change as a natural function of the day to day running of the organization. We believe that effectively managing change will provide the conditions for employees to expect the corporate changes that EDI will inevitably bring to the workplace. In what ways does your organization manage change?