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New tool will help organisations advance DEI

Tuesday, Sep 5, 2023

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Using Theory of Change for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) mahi is relatively new but it’s a practical approach that can support organisations to craft and execute effective strategies and interventions.

Diversity Works New Zealand has developed a new online workshop, Advancing DEI Through Theory of Change. This workshop aims to provide guidance to leaders and DEI practitioners in using this tool as a framework for ongoing improvement.

Learning and Development Advisor Sarah Macdonald says a Theory of Change is a comprehensive and visual representation of how and why a desired change is expected to happen within a complex system. It outlines the relationships between various activities, inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts, helping organisations clarify their goals and strategies and understand the underlying assumptions behind them.

“In the context of DEI, a Theory of Change is a strategic framework that outlines the logical pathway of how an organisation envisions achieving its DEI goals. It can enhance your capacity to drive meaningful change within your organisation, fostering a more inclusive and equitable future.”

Using a Theory of Change model has several benefits, Sarah says.

  • Clarity and alignment: A Theory of Change provides a clear roadmap that outlines the sequence of activities, inputs, and outcomes needed to achieve the desired DEI goals. It helps stakeholders to align their efforts, making sure everyone is on the same page regarding the strategies and actions needed for change.

  • Identification of assumptions: This framework encourages stakeholders to explicitly articulate their assumptions about how change will occur. This process can highlight underlying biases, gaps in understanding, and potential pitfalls that might hinder progress.

  • Strategic planning: Developing a Theory of Change forces organisations to think critically about the strategies and interventions they will use to drive DEI-related systems change. This leads to more deliberate decision-making and the identification of the most effective and impactful interventions.

  • Measurement and evaluation: A well-constructed Theory of Change includes indicators and markers of progress at different stages of the change process. This facilitates effective measurement and evaluation of the impact of DEI efforts, enabling organisations to assess whether they are on track and make adjustments if needed.

  • Stakeholder engagement: It can be a useful tool for engaging diverse stakeholders in discussions about the change process, fostering transparency, shared understanding, and collective ownership of the initiatives.

  • Adaptation and learning: By regularly reviewing and updating the Theory of Change, organisations can incorporate new insights and adjust strategies based on emerging challenges and opportunities.

  • Communication and advocacy: A well-constructed Theory of Change can allow organisations to communicate their DEI goals, strategies, and expected outcomes to their people, external stakeholders such as clients and suppliers, and the wider public.

The first Advancing DEI Through Theory of Change workshop will be delivered online at the end of next month.

It’s part of Diversity Works New Zealand’s learning suite covering Systems Change Capabilities.

“These are skills that we see as vital as we build the muscle needed to shift the dial on DEI in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Sarah says.

The new workshop is aimed at human resources professionals, DEI practitioners, organisational leaders and managers, employee resource groups, diversity champions, consultants and trainers.

Book your place today

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