- Inclusive Change Management
- Leadership Development
- Organizational Strategy
- Stakeholder Engagement
The organization was growing rapidly and had acquired another company only months prior to engaging Brevity & Wit.
A comprehensive survey of employee perceptions, as well as a review of existing processes, and interviews with stakeholders across the organization revealed the following:
- Trust was in short supply, particularly between colleagues at the parent and acquired company as well as generally low trust among executives;
- Lack of transparency around processes resulted in many employees feeling that hiring and promotion decisions were not being made equitably; and
- Aside from personal relationships and annual surveys, no mechanism existed for staff to share their insights and feedback with leadership teams on topics such as organizational policy, internal communications, and improving the culture.
Additionally, a perception existed among staff that the organization’s commitment to DEI work was superficial, following a short-lived initiative that did not produce meaningful results. Leadership lacked awareness of DEI best practices and had limited comfort with the language and principles of this work.
What We Did
Brevity & Wit proposed three outcomes: engage staff to both identify and solve some of the existing issues, support leadership by building awareness of DEI best practices and by defining and owning their role in the ongoing DEI initiative, and create a strategy that could quickly be operationalized, as a way to show tangible progress and build momentum for this work. To execute, Brevity & Wit began the engagement with a team of specialists to conduct the assessment, before embedding one consultant with the client, through a monthly retainer that provided the client with flexibility and consistent access to the consultant.
To accomplish these goals, we employed a multi-pronged approach, based on Brevity & Wit’s theory of change, that included three components:
- Build trust with staff and managers across the organization, by providing a variety of opportunities for them to offer feedback on the current state of DEI and the company culture, as well as actionable ideas for how to improve in these areas. Activities included employee surveys, focus groups, and stakeholder interviews.
- Operationalize DEI by creating a strategy that emphasized support in creating and communicating processes, and also included the creation of an employee-led council, to help unify the two organizations in practice, and serve as a sounding board for executives on decisions impacting the employee base. Throughout the engagement, Brevity & Wit threw out the “one size fits all” approach and instead created solutions to address the unique needs of different teams. Examples of these solutions included a series of workshops to define accountability and communication, decision-making job aids, and identifying opportunities (and partners) to help one team increase the diversity of its talent pipeline.
- Set leaders up for success by meeting executives where they were and providing opportunities in both small group and individual settings to expand their knowledge of DEI. This occurred through coaching and planning conversations that provided leaders with the space to work through their questions, fears, and conflicts around DEI and their role in moving the work forward.
The creation of a DEI strategy allowed the organization to focus efforts on strengthening its culture. Significant headway has been made on the definition and communication of various processes, and a group of 18 employees who represent the diversity of the company meets regularly to address issues, provide feedback to leaders on various topics, and generate ideas for how to continue to collaborate effectively.
Within 12 months of engaging Brevity & Wit, measurable impacts included:
- Increased diversity, from the C-Suite to the talent pipeline
- The percentage of new hires who were women increased from 31% to 58%, from entry-level positions to executive roles.
- Improved employee perceptions of leadership and the organization as a whole:
- 85% of staff agreed with the statement that “My job performance is evaluated fairly,” compared to 70%, initially.
- 72% of staff agreed with the statement that “I can voice a contrary opinion,” compared to 65%, initially.
- 87% of staff agreed with the statement that “I can be my authentic self at work,” compared to 76%, initially.