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← Our Work

Achieving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Outcomes at a National Sales Organization

How Brevity & Wit helped a mid-size company re-build trust with staff mature their DEI efforts.
Colorful arrows trending upward.

Client Type

Mid-size sales organization

Location

National (US)

Services Provided

  • Facilitation
  • Inclusive Change Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Stakeholder Engagement

Project Team

Lead Consultant

Senior Consultant

Principal Consultant

The Challenge

In 2021, a mid-size sales organization reached out to Brevity & Wit for guidance on how to scale their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. At the time, the organization had dozens of DEI initiatives in flight and a volunteer DEI Council of more than 30 employees. Intentions were good, but only a small group of passionate employees were driving the work forward. 

Leaders had over-promised change and following through on their commitments became a challenge. Staff were burnt out, trust was low, and skepticism around DEI was at an all-time high. Despite their best efforts, culture-change was not sticking at this fast-moving organization in a rapidly changing marketplace.

 

What We Did

We set a goal to help this organization build a strong foundation to scale and sustain their DEI work. Leaders wanted to improve staff engagement, recognition, retention, and trust. Knowing that organizational change work takes time, we agreed on a multi-phased path forward grounded in Brevity & Wit’s theory of change

Phase 1: Current State Assessment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching

Brevity & Wit kicked off this effort with a series of workshops to equip all people managers with the foundations of inclusive leadership and began 1:1 coaching with the executive team. As these leader development efforts rolled out, Brevity & Wit assessed the current state of DEI maturity. Data collection and analysis revealed key enablers, barriers, and opportunities to DEI progress.

Phase 2: Visioning

After sharing our findings and recommendations, Brevity & Wit led the organization through Principal Constant Radhika Dutt’s Radical Product Thinking process to help the organization align on the problem they were trying to solve and what success looks like. In partnership with the DEI Council, leaders co-created a clear, inspiring organization vision that centers core principles of DEI while still motivating staff to generate revenue. 

Phase 3: Strategic Planning  

After aligning leaders on where they were and wanted to go, the organization could identify what they were going to do next. Brevity & Wit helped leaders define organization-wide and department-specific DEI goals and tactics that matched the resources they had to invest. 

Phase 4: Continuous Improvement

After this initial 3-phase rollout, the organization opted to continue working with Brevity & Wit in a lighter capacity that held leadership accountable for moving DEI progress forward at a sustainable and results-oriented pace.

 

Since the launch of their DEI Action Plan, Brevity & Wit has met regularly with the executive team and people managers. These consistent checkpoints have held leaders accountable to follow through on their commitments and helped them navigate inevitable emerging DEI obstacles. This included advising leaders on the design and rollout of an equitable hybrid work policy, mediating conflict between teams, and strengthening internal communications.

Ongoing listening sessions with staff have been one of the most beneficial ongoing DEI interventions. Brevity & Wit is able to summarize and report staff sentiment and feedback to senior leaders without the complicated power dynamics that come with being an internal employee. This means that leaders receive an honest, unfiltered report of the current state from a neutral third-party, and can then take appropriate action. Staff also have a protective mechanism to feel heard. These sessions, combined with the continuous focus on and tracking of DEI goals, have contributed to an overall increase in trust in the organization.

A timeline graphic depicting process.

Our Impact

In less than three years, this organization has matured their DEI effort from a reactive ad-hoc response to an intentional, proactive business objective as assessed by the Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion Benchmarks. At the time of publication (May 2024) the organization continues to prioritize and make progress on their organization and department-specific DEI goals. Their DEI Council just recruited and onboarded a new set of members. 

DEI change is non-linear, but progress is felt by employees on a day-to-day basis. Staff report leaders are less defensive and more mindful of the impact their behavior has, especially when it comes to building and maintaining trust. Employee engagement surveys reveal how DEI outcomes like feelings of trust, fairness, and safety have improved – in some cases by more than 30%

Client Employee Engagement Survey Results, representing in a bar chart.
“From the creation of a DEI Council to goal setting, Brevity & Wit helped us bring a greater level of transparency and accountability to our organization in a manner that is in keeping with the work we do, and the culture we want to ensure. I highly recommend bringing Brevity & Wit into your work to ensure that your team builds an inclusive and productive organization that will thrive in the future.”

— Executive Team Member

“Having Paige be our constant guiding light is so helpful. She shows up for us in many meetings and that's built trust. I've found that I can reach out to her about situations or issues and she holds space for me and keeps things confidential if needed. I really value having her as our dedicated point person.”


“I've seen a HUGE difference in the tone that exec leadership is using around these conversations. I think people feel heard more than before and that's exciting to see.”


“Overall, I've seen great improvements in the DEI space since I've started. It's going to take some time, but if there is continual effort, instead of one-off/special programs and projects, it will come naturally.”

— Staff