Genuine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) sustainability depends on both individuals and systems. For an organization to achieve DEI maturity, individuals need to develop self-awareness and build their cross-cultural skills, and on a systems level, DEI needs to be fully integrated into all aspects of the organization from strategic planning to formal policies to informal procedures.

Inclusive Organization Framework©

The Inclusive Organization Framework, a cutting-edge diagnostic tool developed by IBIS, gives organizations a clear appraisal of how thoroughly they have embedded Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in their policies, procedures, and programs, and what changes are needed to ensure DEI success. Using over 400 best and emerging practices drawn from across all industries, the IOF helps organizations identify what they are doing well to increase DEI, what needs improving, and what additionally they need to do to build their competitive advantage.

The Framework, which is systemic, is organized into three traditional categories:

The Workforce
The 6 workforce systems, represented by the intersecting white arrows, represent the interconnected scaffolding that is critical to building and sustaining a diverse and inclusive organization: Recruitment & Hiring; Career Development; Mentoring; Performance Management; Training; and Succession Planning.

The Workplace
The organization’s internal environment is depicted by the wedges, which represent key elements that shape and reflect the organization’s culture: Metrics & Leadership Accountability; Strategic Planning; Governance; and Organizational Climate & Employee Engagement.

The Marketplace
The interface between the organization and its external context is shown by the outermost ring: Branding & Corporate Image; Consumers, Clients & Marketing; Community Relations; and Supplier Diversity.

Different levels of D&I maturity are represented through the concentric circles, with Level 0 –the most basic level – at the center. Radiating outward, each level expands and builds on the smaller circle(s) it encompasses.

Level 0: Inactive – No focus on DEI
Level 1: Aware – Focus on compliance
Level 2: Integrating – Focus on increasing diversity
Level 3: Sustaining – Focus on inclusion and equitable systems
Level 4: Leading – Focus is holistic; DEI is established throughout the organization


How it works

IBIS uses the IOF when approaching every project to ensure each DEI initiative will find sustainable success. This tool also informs how we assess an organization, utilizing the following solutions:

Option 1: Basic assessment: Self-administered online assessment tool with automated reporting and recommendations

Stakeholders from the 14 key organizational areas access IBIS’s online IOF questionnaire, which uses over 400 DEI best practices to assess their policies, programs, and practices.

Outcomes: The organization receives an automated report with primary recommendations. The report enables the organization to:

  • Identify strengths, gaps and best practices for desired level of DEI success
  • Establish baseline from which to measure and benchmark progress
  • Determine priorities, DEI strategic objectives, programs and initiatives
  • Ascertain aspects of employee lifecycle on which to focus
  • Make decisions on how to allocate resources

Option 2: Comprehensive IOF Audit: Consultative organizational DEI audit with comprehensive reporting and recommendations

In addition to the basic online assessment in Option 1, IBIS performs a thorough analysis of representative documents, policies, and programs; interviews senior leaders and key stakeholders; conducts focus groups across demographics; and administers an online employee DEI perception survey.

Outcomes: IBIS presents a comprehensive report with findings, tailored recommendations, suggested priorities, and metrics to measure progress. In addition to the Option 1 outcomes, Option 2 also enables organizations to:

  • Investigate disparities in employee experiences across demographic groups
  • Identify specific policies, programs and practices which may be inhibiting DEI in 14 key organizational areas
  • Develop and implement changes to align with industry best and emerging practices

While all phases of our engagement with IBIS so far have been exceptional, we have been especially impressed with the data gathering and analysis aspects. Through interviews, focus groups and a comprehensive survey, IBIS was able to gather a treasure-trove of information. We gained significant insights from the data. This has provided us with an extremely strong foundation from which we can confidently base our decisions to further our Diversity and Inclusion initiative.

John Lewis, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, United Nations Federal Credit Union