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The Inclusive Organization Framework©

For several decades, organizations have been actively striving for diverse, inclusive, high performance status. Yet consider these statistics, which represent even companies which have had D&I initiatives for many years:

  • Women hold less than 17% of corporate board seats – a figure that has not changed in nearly ten years1
  • The percentage of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 hovers at just 4%2
  • 62% of people who identify as LGBTQ do not feel safe being out at work3

Much has been written recently about the ineffectiveness of diversity efforts in organizations. From the Harvard Business Review to Fortune Magazine to the New York Times, there are articles describing the ineffectiveness of unconscious bias or D&I efforts or the failure of diversity initiatives to move the proverbial needle. These writings do not deny the importance of focusing on D&I and addressing its challenges. On the contrary; from all these articles emerge two clear, consistent observations: 1. success with D&I requires multiple initiatives, strategically aligned, and 2. successful D&I initiatives combine a focus on individuals with a reworking of core systems.

At IBIS, we can testify to the validity of these two observations. Our 30+ years of D&I consulting and training have given us a deep understanding of what it takes to make significant, lasting change, and led us to develop the Inclusive Organization Framework©. We use the Framework as a diagnostic tool to evaluate critical organizational systems:

Workforce – The 6 essential systems in the employee life-cycle: Recruitment & Hiring; Training; Performance Feedback; Career Development; Mentoring; and Succession Planning.

Workplace – The key elements that shape and reflect an organization’s internal culture: Leadership Accountability; Strategic Planning; Governance Structure; Organizational Climate; Measurements; and Employee Engagement.

Marketplace – The interface between the organization and its external context: Brand & Corporate Image; Consumers, Clients & Markets; Community Relations; and Supplier Diversity.

Once we have gathered data and conducted an analysis of all the systems listed above, we determine what level of maturity the organization has achieved on our D&I maturity continuum:

  • Level 1: Awareness – the organization’s focus is on regulatory compliance, with minimal interest or investment in D&I
  • Level 2: Integration – the focus is on individual awareness and behavioral changes to foster inclusion
  • Level 3: Sustainability – the focus is on transforming systems and processes to increase and support D&I
  • Level 4: Leading – the focus is holistic, with D&I interwoven with strategic plans and business goals, and visible in all aspects of the organization

With this knowledge, we can identify which systems our clients should focus on, and in what order, to achieve their desired objectives. From assessment and diagnosis to short-, medium-, and long-term goal setting, the Inclusive Organization Framework© is a diagnostic tool that helps us build an effective D&I strategy that meets our clients where they currently are and helps them get where they want to be.

1 According to Catalyst
2, June 6, 2016
3 According to a 2015 study conducted by OutNow