At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), we’ve been working on DEI initiatives for several decades, but it has not been without obstacles and evolution. What keeps us going is our belief in its importance for the generations of children and families we serve, the business case for racial equity, and the dividends it pays for all of us—employers and workers. While the term “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” and the acronym “DEI” may be facing renewed criticism, it’s essential to remember what the work really means: opportunity, fairness, and respect. This is why we embarked on the journey from the outset.

None of us are on the DEI journey alone. In 2019, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation established the Expanding Equity program, building from our own internal transformation experience, to help support companies who wanted to design or advance their DEI strategies and journey. We have worked with more than 100 companies from more than 10 industries that all have unique circumstances and needs but share the same commitment to making their workplaces more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Of the participating companies in the Expanding Equity network that provided data and information, more than 90 percent have made measurable progress on their DEI strategies. And we know from recent surveys and conversations after the Supreme Court decision this past summer that these companies intend to stay the course because they know this work is good for business and good for workers.

It's in that spirit that WKKF created a Sustaining Momentum “how-to” guide to help more organizations leverage this moment to re-engage their leadership, update their strategies, and recommit to the DEI goals they set out to achieve.

The guide outlines five steps for sustaining your organization’s DEI momentum:

  1. Get up to speed: Prepare yourself for the journey ahead by building a working understanding of the potential impact of recent events such as legal rulings, new legislation, lawsuits, and pressure from stakeholders.
  2. Know who you’re running with: Get to know who is on the journey with you by understanding your core stakeholders (both internal and external) and how they truly feel about your DEI efforts.
  3. Go over your strategy: Build the best game plan by inventorying your organization’s portfolio of DEI efforts across two dimensions—positive impacts and negative reactions—to tighten your strategy and reinforce it with a risk mitigation plan when necessary.
  4. Stay on pace: Keep moving and reaching your mile markers by investing in communicating and socializing your path forward with key decision-makers.
  5. Pay attention to the road ahead: Anticipate what obstacles and opportunities might be coming by continuously keeping a pulse on changes in the DEI landscape (both internally and externally) that may alter your perspective and shift your approach.

Read the full article about DEI initiatives by Jonathan Njus at Stanford Social Innovation Review.